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Cilas Mafoko

Cilas Mafoko is a gifted guide with a equal passion for the wonders of nature and the people he shares them with. Growing up in a small village in southeastern Botswana, he spent much of his childhood immersed in nature while herding cattle, sleeping around a fire and learning about the medicinal properties of plants. Early on, Cilas nurtured his dream of working in the wilderness. Appropriately placed in the tourism department during his time of national service, his subsequent position with a charitable organization promoting environmental education and conservation was a natural progression. He started guiding before earning formal guide certification, taking school kids on walks, hikes and camping excursions in that role. 

Cilas received his university education at Cambridge and went on to complete an environmental education course in South Africa before earning his professional guiding license in 2000. It was then that he began leading safaris in Botswana's famed Linyanti Reserve and the Okavango Delta—wilderness areas he has come to know intimately. Cilas now shares the deep knowledge he has acquired through in training and assessing other guides as well. 

Cilas’ gregarious disposition and great sense of humor are not lost on his guests, including children. He is a superb walking guide and tracker, and his presentations can keep anyone enthralled for hours. His love of plants and ethnobotany, birding, and dark night skies filled with stars make his life richer, as do spending time with his two sons, playing soccer with friends, and herding his livestock. His innate love for adventure has led him to travel outside Botswana as well, including to the U.S., but for Cilas, mabele and morogo (traditional Botswana fare) beat an American burger any day.

Given the chance, Cilas says he wouldn't mind being an African wild dog in his next life. It's the pack's social structure that inspires him: the loving care for the injured, the way every member babysits the puppies, and how they work as a team—all dogs get a share of the kill at the end of the day, even if they weren't part of the group that took it down. "No one takes a lion's share in the wild dog family," Cilas observes. 

Praise from Nat Hab travelers: 

N. Creal

"Cilas was FANTASTIC!!! Traveling alone, he helped me feel a part of the group, his knowledge of the area was beyond belief and he had the patience of a saint. He was the best guide I have ever had on any trip and I will never forget him."

M. Rusting-Morey

"Cilas is an outstanding guide. He is incredibly knowledgeable about animal life, birds, plants, local culture, astronomy—you name it! He strives to make every guest feel welcome and included and has an excellent memory for detail. My trip was definitely enhanced by Cilas' knowledge and attentiveness."

L. Daroczy
"Cilas was outstanding, and his knowledge of the country and animals was beyond anything that I was expecting. Also, he was fun to be with. With his skills in tracking and understanding of animals, we saw all of the wildlife that I was hoping to see (the 'Big 5' plus many more). I would recommend him to anyone that was thinking of traveling on a safari in Botswana with your company."

C. Robinson
"Cilas was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his work. He was always helpful to us and took very good care of us. I think his primary concerns were for our comfort and to provide as many opportunities as possible to see as much as we could. He also honored our requests to look for certain animals."

M. Roraff
"Cilas was perfect. He took care of every detail and knew so much about the animals and areas we visited, and he could find animals like he had them micro-chipped! He helped make this trip great."
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