Ona was born and raised in Maun, Botswana. His passion for the natural world was fostered at a young age when he had opportunities to visit Moremi Game Reserve as well as several trips to Lake Ngami. After finishing school, he joined the Botswana Predator Conservation Program as a field assistant. His regular interactions with animals under study
such as lion, hyena, leopard, cheetah and African wild dog fueled his growing interest in wildlife and conservation. Following the urge to work in an environment where he could engage with both people and wildlife, Ona pursued a guiding career beginning in 2007. He would spend almost two years at Kalahari Plains Camp before moving to Duma Tau Camp and eventually joining Natural Habitat Adventures.
Ona is a keen photographer and an aspiring wildlife photojournalist. His images and articles regularly appear in numerous travel magazines including Peolwane
, the Air Botswana in-flight magazine, Discover Botswana
, the annual publication of the Botswana Tourism Board, and Travel Ideas
magazine in South Africa. Through his photography, he is an ambassador for his country, with the pinnacle so far being an invited guest speaker at the Wild Shots Wildlife Photography Symposium in Cape Town in 2013. His passion for photography has also cultivated a major interest in animal behavior and behavioral ecology, which are integral focuses of his work as a guide.
enjoys leading walking safaris where the focus is on small, close-up macro life that one would completely miss while traveling in only in a vehicle. He is also a keen birder who participates in various birding forums around southern Africa. Another important dimension of Ona's multifaceted role as a guide is his mentorship of younger, up-and-coming guides, whom he seeks to inspire as he travels through various safari camps.
Praise from Natural Habitat travelers:
"Ona was beyond fabulous. He has an amazing ability to "read" animal behavior and he led us into unforgettable wild life experiences. We learned so much about the wild life. Every outing was an adventure that was beyond our expectations. We feel so fortunate to have had him as our guide. His sense of humor made every minute enjoyable. Thank you, Ona!"
"I cannot imagine a better Guide than Ona. His encyclopedic knowledge, high intelligence and great enthusiasm in communicating about the wildlife, flora, history, peoples, current affairs, etc of Botswana were simply amazing. Equally extraordinary were Ona's personal attention to the needs and particular interest of all of us as individuals and the obvious joy he took in finding interesting species or species interactions for us. His judgment, efficiency and care in handling everything that came up were truly admirable. I add that I had listed knee arthritis and my difficulty going up and down inclines. Ona was on top of that from the moment we said hello, and was always there to help when I needed a hand. I came to have huge respect, admiration and affection for Ona. He is a simply invaluable asses to NH, and would handle with excellence any role and responsibility placed on him."
"Ona is an exceptional Expedition leader and an incredible human being. Ona made this truly a trip of a lifetime. His passion and sense of adventure, his untiring efforts and enthusiastic personality made all the difference. He is extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife, nature, conservation, photography, Nat Hab, the impact of conservation tourism, the country of Botswana, the impact and role of government in managing these parks. He was always looking for opportunities to make every moment unique and special. His capacity to build bonds with every member of the trip was amazing. We have indeed made a friend for life. He was also considerate of each person's needs. One gentleman had knee problems and Ona was there to help and guide in an unobtrusive manner. He is a professional with incredible passion for the work that he does. Any time we travel with Nat Hab we would like to have Ona as our expedition leader. Our son was in tears on the last day and did not want to leave Ona. Both our kids want to go back to Africa and especially to Botswana- and this is mainly due to Ona."
"Ona is an excellent leader, teacher, coach and social facilitator. Guiding two families (three children ages 10-12 and 4 adults) required an ability to make adjustments in communications, activities, and instruction levels at every turn. A major challenge and he met every goal."
"I never expected the trop leader to be as fabulous as Ona! He was truly remarkable in every way. The trip would not have been the same without him, and I know all 7 of us felt the same way. I told him several times how very impressed I was by his expertise in all things, human and animal, taking care of us physically as well as making sure we were well emotionally, being sensitive to our various interests and needs. It was an amazing balancing act. We all loved him."
"Ona was awesome. He is so knowledgeable. There wasn't a question he couldn't answer from any of the travelers. I was very impressed with how well-rounded and experienced he is. His technical photography skills helped a number of travelers and he was very attentive to making sure he positioned the vehicle to get the best light and gave advice on what to photograph. He did everything to make the guests happy - even delivering coffee with the wake up call for one traveler. He even changed a tire in 7 minutes. I can't possibly say enough good things about Ona. On your scale of 1-10, I would give him a 15 if I could. Awesome Expedition Leader !!"
"Ona’s skill as a guide and photographer was the key factor in making our safari a wonderful experience. I will never forget how he could look at an animal track in the sand and identify not only what kind of animal made the track but which direction it was going and how long ago the track was made. His knowledge made it possible to find many rarely seen animals. Ona’s knowledge as a photographer ensured that we were always positioned for the best light to photograph an animal. His suggestions on composition helped to ensure we came home with great photo memories of our safari. His positive and can do attitude was infectious. Each day began with an enthusiastic wake-up call and “let’s do this” as we left for a game drive. He was always aware of the individual needs of each person in our group and worked hard to ensure each person had the best experience possible."
"Ona is very talented and dedicated to his profession. We were truly lucky to be traveling with him. His energy and knowledge never ceased to amaze our collective group. He was the "hub" that made the trip so very memorable. He serves with heart and soul. We appreciated his spirit and commitment to us."
"Ona is a wonderful ambassador for Nat Hab and Botswana. His sunny disposition and upbeat air really made the trip a memorable experience. He also very much impressed me with his knowledge of photography, the country and the wildlife. His tracking skills were incredible! It was great how he was able to read the tracks and anticipate where the animal was headed. It was also wonderful that he helped us understand what he was looking and listening for as we went along."
Upcoming Adventures with Ona:
Secluded Botswana Safari
Secluded Botswana Photo Safari