Franco Morao was born in 1983 on a remote farm on the outskirts of the Namibian town of Gobabis. When he was two years old he entered a children’s home in Windhoek, where he stayed for most of his school-age life. When he completed secondary school in 2002, in a stroke of incredible timing, Wilderness Safaris' "Children In The Wilderness" program approached the SOS Children's Home, where he had been living, to bring some of the kids into the wilderness to experience their country's natural wonders. Among this group was a young, ambitious and eager Franco. His passion for Namibia's fauna and flora shone from his eyes as the bus filled with exuberant young people arrived in Sossusvlei National Park. Receiving some encouraging mentorship, Franco was enlisted as a tent leader. After seeing the safari guides at work, he knew this was what he wanted to do for a career.
In 2004, after an extensive initial training program, Franco was appointed as a trainee guide at the same lodge where his life-changing experience took place. After eight months spent working through all the departments at the lodge, he passed his assessment to become a full-fledged guide. He went on to pass his intermediate level certification in 2006 and achieved his advanced status while guiding on the private Ongava Game Reserve in 2010. Franco continued with national guiding courses and graduated with a Level 3 National Guiding Certificate in 2012 – the highest possible achievement in Namibia. He has worked at safari camps throughout the country and loves sharing his passion via small-group safaris.
Through his in-depth experience, Franco has gained extensive knowledge of Namibia, its ecosystems and its wildlife. He is still actively involved in the Children in the Wilderness program as a camp director, participating every year since 2002. He is passionate about his work, loves meeting and socializing with all kinds of people, and enjoys exercise and outdoor activities. He is currently learning Italian, Spanish and German to be able to better communicate with international guests. Franco has a special interest in birding, is a keen and aspiring photographer, and hopes to become a specialist guide in these areas.
Upcoming Adventures with Franco:
The Great Namibia Wildlife Safari
Epic Botswana & Namibia Safari
Praise from Natural Habitat travelers:
"Franco is an exceptional guide -- informed, inspiring, well-organized, responsive, and passionate about Namibia. NatHab is fortunate to have someone of his caliber. He made this trip the exciting and inspiring adventure it was."
"Franco was truly an exemplary expedition leader. He is so proud of his country and passionate about wildlife that it came across in everything he did. He was very attentive to the group's needs at every turn."
"Franco ranks among the best expedition leaders we've had with NH (and any other tour company). He is truly a great ambassador for Namibia and NH. He is passionate about the land, wildlife and people of his country and truly an expert in all three. He is always enthusiastic and continually works hard to ensure all travelers expectations, interests and needs are met. He works extremely well with all of the camp staff, drivers and trackers - they appeared genuinely glad to be working with him. He's a star!"
"Franco is an exceptional guide . He is very knowledgeable about natural history and is skilled at locating wildlife. Franco's sharp eye and his understanding of animal behavior enabled us to locate a group of cheetah sleeping under a tree. Franco was always working to make our time in Namibia full of fun and adventure. "
"Franco earned "10" in all categories and additionally a "10" for his kindness/understanding when a traveler became ill. He ensured that the sick traveler was safe/comfortable and then took the rest of us on the planned drive to the desert-adapted elephants! He knew where the animals were, spotted them with unbelievable skill and even found some animals that he rarely finds! Fantastic job!!"
"Franco is the soul of kindness. He really does go above and beyond - for instance, my daughter and I are lactose intolerant so he personally went to the kitchen of each camp we stayed at to ensure that we got our meals without dairy products! Many times his own meal was uneaten while he made enquiries in the kitchen on behalf of his travelers."
"Franco was extraordinarily knowledgeable and passionate about the ecosystem as a whole, transmitting and communicating his knowledge to our group, and ensuring we had extraordinary game drives with his vast experience in the different areas of Namibia that we traveled in. He is a gifted tracker and a natural teacher with an extraordinary amount of patience. I was also impressed by his attentiveness to each and every one of us in the group and his willingness to go above and beyond to ensure we had a unique and genuine wildlife experience."
"Franco was wonderful!! It became a challenge for us to try to ask him a question he did not know the answer to as he was so knowledgeable on so many different subjects. On top of that, he was such a nice young man and has a great story of achievement with his background. He is a Super Star!"
"This is my 3rd Nat Hab trip and I've had excellent guides but Franco was truly above and beyond. I felt he exceeded any expectations in all aspects listed above. He never appeared frustrated or short, he was wonderful with a member of the group who needed a bit extra help getting into and out of the vehicles, it's clear all the staff at each camp respected him. It's difficult to imagine there is a guide out there who is more professional, attentive, courteous and helpful, knowledgeable, communicative, and cognizant of safety than Franco."