Ntando has been a Jenman Guide since 2010 and is one of the very best. But don’t just take our word for it, read this high praise a recent guest had for him:
“What made our trip exceptional was our guide, Ntando Hlabangani. Ntando was an excellent guide, He was very well informed about wildlife, local issues, geology, botany wildlife parks and day to day living in Africa all of which he shared with us. He also prepared some of the best meals we had on the trip. Ntando was friendly, always smiling, had a great sense of humour, was very professional and made sure our needs were met. Ntando’s excellent guided tour through Victoria Falls was filled with history and a look at the past, present and future of the Falls was one of the highlights.”
We chatted to Ntando to give you a chance to get to know him better…
Where are you from?
I’m a Zimbabwean, living in Victoria Falls town.
How long have you been a guide?
As a rural boy you are born a guide, I started leading our goats, donkeys, and cattle to green pastures from a young age and it was more fun during the years of drought where your experience of finding areas with good grass and water was put to test. At some point in my current career, I feel like I’m still shepherding although now it’s a different atmosphere altogether. I seriously started guiding in 2000 although before that I was already in the tourism industry, so I could safely say I have more than 17 years of program directing and safari guiding.
Why did you decide to be a guide?
What really influenced me to join guiding I think was my rural background, I used to spend many good hours a day in a natural environment, and I was always finding myself by the riverside watching animals or birds or out in the wilderness taking a walk. After joining the Boys Scout movement and spending some weekends on camping trips my dream of choosing a career that will keep me doing what I enjoyed was obvious.
What’s your favourite part about the job?
The most important part of my job is interacting, note I don’t say interrupting, I mean teaching and at the same time learning from the clients you are travelling with.
Do you have a funny or interesting story that happened while you were working?
So many things have happened on our safaris that I could talk the whole day without a break. Some instances make us laugh loudly and uncontrollably, others teach us how to appreciate, while others shower us with that adrenaline. There is this particular trip where I ignored the saying “GO NO WAY WITH NORWEGIANS”, some of my clients were from Norway, and we were attacked by this stray hippopotamus when we were doing a Makoro outing on the Okavango Delta, all canoes except for one were thrown upside down by this hippopotamus, such a thing was never recorded before, I mean 5 canoes attacked and no one was injured, most of the hippopotamus attacks result in deaths. Before that hippopotamus attack, we had a puncture in Moremi in front of the pride of lions on the same tour, that was a lot of scary moments within a short time.
What’s your favourite animal?
The zebra is my favourite animal, it always comes to the party, it doesn’t disappoint and no matter which side it gives you to photograph, the photo always come right and fits all backgrounds.