Phillip Wessels – Reserve Manager Head Guide

Phillip is regarded as one of the top guides in Southern Africa, if not the African continent. 

His knowledgeable and fascinating character has been shaped by over twenty years of guiding experience combined with numerous other interesting attributes. 

His parents and grandparents were originally from Zambia and had strong links with the wilderness, being professional hunters. 

Growing up on a farm surrounded by farm animals, his connection with animals and wildlife started at an early age. As a youngster, the family visited the Kruger National Park three or four times a month and this strengthened his love and understanding of wildlife and the wilderness. 

However, this rugby-playing young man had his sights set on joining the military. It was only a chance meeting with a perfect stranger on the road, who just happened to be a professional guide, that led him to apply and get hired as a Trainee Ranger. He then trained in a Waterberg Biosphere Reserve – and his career in the wilderness began in earnest. He had found his calling and his career took off. 

In his twenty years in the wildlife and wilderness sector, Phillip has achieved his professional status, through the Field Guide’s Association of South Africa (FGASA), as a registered Professional Field Guide, Specialised Knowledge & Skills (SKS) Accreditation in dangerous animals and birds, Tracker Level 4 Professional Tracker qualifications and proficiency as a Firearms Trainer. His lifelong dream is to become one of only nine scouts in South Africa to achieve the ultimate – Senior Tracker Status.  

He is also proficient in Wilderness First Aid, well versed in Hospitality and Big 5 Walking Safaris and intimately involved in Anti-Poaching Conservation. He attributes much of his success to both his professional tracker and guide mentors, Adriaan Louw, Colin Patrick, Schalk Pretorius and Mark Stavrakis. All are renowned in their industries as being at the pinnacle of their professions. 

Phillip has a deep-rooted, genuine and palpable love and understanding of the wilderness and its wildlife inhabitants, whether big or small. As an FGSA assessor and qualified to conduct training, Phillip also has a burning desire to share this passion and knowledge with communities living alongside the reserve. 

He is enthusiastic about sharing his vast knowledge with this new generation of nature ambassadors, who stand to gain an in-depth understanding of the environment and a passion for guiding. For many, the bug has bitten, and they are already on track to qualify as guides and rangers.  

Phillip believes that his position at mFulaWozi has given him the opportunity to change the lives of those in the communities, by helping them to hone their skills and explore and grow their love and respect for animals. Phillip’s advice to his trainees – our future guides, is that you must love not only the wilderness and wildlife, but it is essential that you enjoy working with people. He teaches people skills and the value of integrity, humility, trustworthiness, dependability and accountability for all personal actions and decisions in the wilderness. 

Phillip believes he is creating strong foundations by teaching these aspirant guides about our extraordinary natural heritage and inspiring them to play their part in protecting our wilderness. He is the perfect mentor for improving the future of our communities. 

He is ably supported in managing the reserve by his wife, Arin. Together they make a formidable team, a team that brings change and makes a difference. 

Visitors are privileged to be part of Phillip’s world when he turns their wilderness safari into a journey of a lifetime. 

There is no person more fitting to be in charge of the wilderness and its wildlife at mFulaWozi 

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