Ultimate Safaris2019-09-13T18:06:17-05:00


At a Glance

  • WHO’S WHO: Directors and co-founders Tristan Cowley and Martin Webb-Bowen

  • WHAT WE DO: A Namibian owner-managed conservation travel company
  • WHERE: Namibia
  • UNIQUE SELLING POINTS: Award-winning, knowledgeable, on-staff naturalist guiding team, ‘roughing it in style’ Journeys Under Canvas, connecting the dots between travel, conservation and sustainable development

Why Ultimate Safaris

Ultimate Safaris is a Namibian owner-managed Conservation Travel company dedicated to the protection, conservation and sustainability of some of the most pristine and delicate wilderness areas on earth. Our superlative team of specialists works to create artfully crafted itineraries and meticulously organized safaris. These are delivered with professionalism and enthusiasm to our international trade partners who are assured of personal attention…

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    • Specializing in tailor-made private guided FIT and small-group safaris
    • A full fleet of customized, state-of-the-art Land Cruisers
    • Award-winning, knowledgeable, on-staff naturalist guiding team
    • Offering authentic, ‘roughing it in style’ Journeys Under Canvas, going back to the origins of safari and ‘back to the wild‘
    • Focus on the link between travel, conservation and sustainable development, creating more meaningful and authentic cultural encounters

    Ultimate Safaris is a Namibian owner-managed Conservation Travel company dedicated to the protection, conservation and sustainability of some of the most pristine and delicate wilderness areas on earth. Our superlative team of specialists works to create artfully crafted itineraries and meticulously organized safaris. These are delivered with professionalism and enthusiasm to our international trade partners who are assured of personal attention and consideration of their every need.

    Ultimate specializes in tailor-made guided safaris with a focus on quality privately guided driving safaris and fly-in’s. We also run a number of small group safaris for various operators around the world, as well as offering our own wildly popular small-group scheduled departure. With our extensive experience, we have found that a combination of fly-in and privately guided safaris is ideal for the North American market – flying the southern part of the country (Sossusvlei) which is inordinately picturesque from above, and then meeting one of our naturalist guides at the coast to explore the northern parts of the country (Damaraland and Etosha) on a guided basis. The northern reaches of the country are where a quality guide makes all the difference. Working with only trade (we don’t take direct bookings) we ensure that our trade partners benefit from the relationships we have forged over almost two decades of pioneering safaris in Namibia.

    Visit Ultimate Safaris’ website

  • The Kusini Collection is proud to represent a group of like-minded businesses in Africa and Latin America, who believe in having a positive impact on our world. They collaborate with local communities and conservation organizations within their destinations with the belief that empowerment of people and place and being a voice for wildlife and natural areas will result in healthy ecosystems and communities. Here’s just a taste of what they are up to…

    Ultimate Safaris is privileged to be operating in some of the most pristine and delicate wilderness areas on earth. We are dedicated to the protection and conservation of these areas and to the improvement of the quality of life of the communities who are living in, or on the borders of, these unique areas. We believe that the future survival of the environment and the natural inhabitants of these regions lies in the hands of these communities, and that this makes them pivotal in the custodianship of their surroundings.


    • Ultimate’s Conservation Travel Foundation focuses on forming and strengthening links between responsible conservation travelers and Namibia’s cultural and natural heritage stakeholders, in an effort towards preservation. The link between travel, conservation and sustainable development enhances the experiences of guests by creating more meaningful and authentic cultural encounters through learning, sharing and giving something back.
    • The Foundation is a legally registered foundation where 100% of funds raised are invested in CTF-approved projects. We have set a benchmark for sincere, ethical and transparent socially responsible investment. The Foundation feels that the coalition of funds has a much larger impact on any project or area than smaller donations coming from a variety of different avenues. The Foundation focuses all of its funds to make a difference in the larger scale.

    Embarking on a safari with Ultimate Safaris means that our guests, jointly with Ultimate Safaris, give tangible assistance to the Namibian people and their environment in their efforts to achieve economic viability without doing harm to natural habitats and wildlife, so as to utilize both on a sustainable basis for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

  • TRISTAN COWLEY – Director and co-founder

    Tristan founded Tou Safaris in 2003, specializing in naturalist guided safaris in Namibia. In 2008 Tou Safaris merged with another like-minded safari company to form Ultimate Safaris, which has grown to be one of Namibia’s most renowned naturalist and specialist guiding safari companies. Ultimate Safaris has grown to a team of 70 staff, and Tristan spends most of his time running operations and marketing, which also involves extensive travel. He still finds time to exercise his extensive guiding experience with the occasional specialist or specific repeat groups. Tristan served as the chairman of TASA (Tour and Safari Association of Namibia), vice chairman of NATH (Namibian Academy for Tourism and Hospitality), on the executive council of FENATA (Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations) and the advisory council to the school of natural resource management at the University of Technology in Namibia.

    MARTIN WEBB BOWEN – Director and co-founder

    Martin came to Namibia from Kenya in 1993 to run the Namibian end of a British safari operation, which quickly developed into a Namibian safari company called SandyAcre Safaris. Initially focused on providing private guided safaris for UK visitors, SandyAcre soon spread into other markets such as the USA, Switzerland, France, Spain and Australia. SandyAcre also acted as a film services support company, and as a sub-contractor for the BBC. SandyAcre Safaris was incorporated into the newly formed Ultimate Safaris in 2008, and Martin now oversees the running of the new company in partnership with Tristan. At various times, they have filled most of the executive positions in private sector tourism associations, as well as acting as trustees for the non-profit Conservation Travel Foundation, which works to assist rural development and conservation initiatives in the areas where Ultimate is most active.

    BIRGIT BEKKER – Sales Director

    Birgit is a fourth generation Namibian and has worked in tourism for nearly two decades. She has traveled to more than 400 lodges, camps and hotel in the country, and is one of the most passionate Namibians in the industry. She has enjoyed many safaris to the Okavango Delta, gotten soaked by the Victoria Falls and regularly travels to South Africa for work and pleasure. She has also ventured to the UK, Berlin, Iceland and many of the big cities of the US; and while she enjoys big city vibes, she finds rejuvenation in Namibia. The ephemeral river systems, the purple pink colors of the Damaraland and especially the wild isolation of the Kunene region are the places she likes to recharge. She has served on the TASA board for the past three years and is fiercely committed to continuously promote Namibia as a safe, unique and pioneering tourism destination.

    COLLEEN BLEACH – North America Journeysmith

    From a young age Colleen had an interest in wildlife and travel, especially birding and discovering the little things. Add to this, she lives in a perfect country to develop her passion for photography (which is also why the NamibRand Nature Reserve is her favorite spot in Namibia – this magical place makes it impossible to take a soulless photo). Namibian born, she started her tourism career in South Africa with 3 years in retail travel and then worked for over 13 years at &Beyond, 5 of which were at a lodge in the Sabi Sands. She moved back to Namibia in 2012 and has been with Ultimate since February 2013, where she continues to indulge in her passion for the bush and work with people who share that interest. One of her favorite quotes: “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.”

    ANNA POVANHU – North America Journeysmith

    Born in Angola, Anna was raised in the former eastern part of Germany. When she flew for the first time in her life on the life-changing journey moving from Angola to Germany as a child, she was inspired by the air hostesses and wanted to be one when she grew up. And her dream came true in 2004 when she was recruited by Air Namibia. During her 5 years of flying with the airline she traveled to Germany, the UK, Angola, Ghana and South Africa. Anna then changed her career direction and became a travel consultant, determined to continue her passion for travel and taking the opportunity to explore her home. She has become a specialist in all Namibian safaris, including designing and planning self-drives, guided and fly in safaris for FIT’s and small groups.


    To get to know the Ultimate Safaris guiding team, visit their website.

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