Our Guides

THE FACE OF THOMPSONS AFRICA

Our NQF (National Qualifications Framework) and FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) qualified permanent Tour Guides are the very best calibre of staff.  Consistently being awarded as winners in various Guiding categories such as Western Cape Guide, Tourist Guiding Excellence and Best Tourist Guide of the Year, many of these passionate staff members hold university degrees in marketing, photography, tourism and education but have chosen to place their focus on realising the dreams of our guests.  Join them on one of our exciting Guided Journeys or Tailor-Made packages – you will be completely blown away by their knowledge, excitement and passion!  They speak English, German and Spanish, and our wider network of Tour Guides speak most other languages. 
 
All of our Safari Guides have completed additional courses enhancing their skills to ensure the best possible experience for guests.  These include the Kruger National Park Orientation Course, a botany course at Skukuza Nursery by a qualified botany expert and some have completed the VPDA Course (Viewing Potential Dangerous Animals).
 
As one of our Tour Guides said, ‘….tour guides are ambassadors of the country and have to ensure they put the country on the map. Guiding is no longer a hobby but a profession and guides have to be trained to do the job so that they render an excellent service for tourists…’.


GUIDES PROFILES


Gaston Bonifazi
I was born in Argentina and have lived in South Africa since 1980.  I am fluent in Spanish, English and Afrikaans and although not fluent, I am able to hold a conversation in Portuguese.  I have been in the tourism industry for 19 years starting in the Kruger National Park as a Zoologist/animal behaviourist before qualifying as a Western Cape and environment Tour Guide in 1998.  In 2008 I joined Thompsons Africa and today I specialise in History, Wildlife and the wine industry.

I love working with people from all walks of life and have a great admiration for senior people due to their incredible wisdom.  I am very easy going and relaxed but work to a strict schedule.  I have a great sense of humour and enjoy working with families, individual couples and anyone who is willing to experience the beauty of our beautiful country and its people.

People don’t always remember specifically what I told them but they always remember the way that I made them feel.

Canaan Jele
Born and raised in Kwazulu Natal, I am now permanently based in the city of Gold (Johannesburg).

I’m a senior Guide for Thompsons Africa and have been with the company for 18 years, specialising in History, Culture and Wildlife.  I’m so privileged to host the company’s VIP’s and English Speaking Escorted Group Series and strive to give them the best holiday experience during their time in South Africa – one they will never forget.

After completing high school in Newcastle, l completed short Tourism Management Courses to further expand my expertise as this is where my passion lies.  I’m currently studying towards my BCom. in Tourism Management with an aim of sharing my skills with up and coming Tourism Graduates in the near future.

 As this where my heart and passion is, I’m committed to striving to reach new frontiers and excelling to greater heights in my pursuit to render the best service to our International and Domestic valued guests.  I am passionate about flying both the Thompsons Africa and my country’s flags high!

Michael Raa
I graduated in Cape Town and have a Sales Management Diploma.  I have also completed a number of different courses in the tourism and hospitality industry.

I am a senior guide at Thompson’s Africa and have been with the company for approximately 12 years.  I am qualified to guide in a variety of different areas specialising in history, nature, wildlife and the wine industry and work in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape including the Garden Route. I thoroughly enjoy working with large groups but my speciality is working with small private tours.  

My heart is very close to the ocean and I have always enjoyed scuba diving and I am also a very keen fisherman.  I enjoy playing golf when I have the opportunity.

Ali Abdullah
I’m a locally born, raised and educated Capetonian.  I’m a relaxed and outgoing person that simply loves all of the nature and beauty that surrounds us in this beautiful country.

I completed school in the year of our democracy, and have revelled in the opportunities that have followed.  I completed a course in computer design and networking, but found my passion in tourism in 1999 when I started as a temporary driver for Thompsons Africa, mainly doing airport transfers.  A few months later I was offered a permanent position as a driver and then given the opportunity to do a course in cultural guiding in Cape Town.  I have completed many other courses over the last 14 years including wine, biodiversity and extra provinces in which to apply my trade.  I have been trained in Singapore, Disney world and the UK on how to successfully deal with guests from around the globe.  This has given me a great insight and understanding of our fascinating market.

I specialise in many parts of Cape Town and along the Garden route.  From individual couples or families, to large tailor made groups, all with great pride in our wonderful country.

In the last few years I have been involved in many large incentives which have given me the opportunity to work in many different and amazing locations around South Africa.  This seems to be where I feel I have pushed my abilities and knowledge to new heights and is a growing challenge in my career.

I will continue to dedicated myself to giving everyone that wonderful experience and enjoyment, and knowing that each guest will leave experiencing the beauty, warmth and culture of this amazing country.