Claassen - Diver - Potchefstroom, South Africa

Marcell Claassen

Potchefstroom, South Africa




PADI Divemaster with c.370 logged dives in 11 countries

Work History

PADI Divemaster #332598

Tofo Scuba

September 2013 - January 2014

- Involved in day-to-day planning of dive and boat schedules.
- Assist in a variety of equipment and building maintenance and repairs.
- Pre-dive equipment preparations including prepping of boats for dives.
- Lead certified divers on dives (all boat dives and surf launches).
- 2nd Staff member on dives (“sweeper”) responsible for ascent with first group low on air/low bottom time on air profile.
- Conduct PADI Scuba Review courses (refresher courses).
- Lead Ocean Safaris - snorkeling with whalesharks, dolphins, mantas etc.
- Liaison with existing clients re courses, equipment and dive excursions.
- Marketing products and liaising with prospective clients at various accommodation establishments in and around Tofo.

Waitron & Maitre’d

La Pentola Restaurant

August 2012 - April 2013

Fine dining restaurant: (Chef: Shane Sauvage)

- Waiter duties plus hosting when required.
- Assist in layout and allocations during high season and for functions.
- Liaising with guests/clients

Driver and Assisting training of crew

West Africa Expeditions

June 2011 - March 2012

Expedition vehicle Driver & Overland crew trainer

- Contracted to drive expedition/overland truck from Harare, Zimbabwe where it was purchased by the employer, to Bamako, Mali. This included responsibility for maintenance of the vehicle en-route.
- Planning with owners for transit of expedition/overland truck through West Africa in respect of;
- Budget and costing for journey
- Relevant visa and vehicles for each country through which transit is anticipated
- Logistics relating to vehicle fuel requirements, maintenance and spares.
- Employed by West Africa Expeditions & Toguna Adventure Tours and services sub-contracted to Gecko’s Adventures, Australia, for tours in West Africa through Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

Responsibilities included inter alia
- Driving and maintenance of expedition overland truck and on-board equipment during and between tours.
- Assisting in training West African crew for overland tours

Owner/Director & Project Manager

Elegant Africa Ltd

March 2005 - April 2011

- Responsible for day to day running of company in Rwanda including responsibility for budgets, compliance
- Planning and development of concepts for community involvement in company’s activities including presentation to potential stakeholders
- Attending industry marketing events on behalf of the company like World Travel - Market (London, UK) and British Birding Fair (Rutland, UK)

- Leading birding tours in Rwanda, Uganda and research at various birding locations for further tours in Rwanda, Uganda and NW Tanzania
- Submission of bird call recordings on the international website at
- Author and co-author articles and papers on birds and birding in Rwanda in inter alia the journal of the African Bird Club and the magazine Africa: Birds & Birding
- Maintain blog on birding in Rwanda
- Maintain blog on birding elsewhere abroad and other African countries
- Founding of the Rwanda Bird Atlas project and on-going coordination of sightings submitted for the database
- Hold the position of Rwanda Country Representative in the African Bird Club
- Advising and assisting RDB: Tourism & Conservation and OTF Group on Birding - Awareness Campaign strategies and planning
Research of and visiting areas to be identified as potential birding locations

Ikoro Tented Camp (project halted)
- Project management of the construction of Ikoro Tented Camp
- Sourcing of and liaison with potential suppliers and service providers, both local and abroad, for the development and operational phases of company projects
- Liaison and planning with tour and travel operators locally and abroad in respect of future commitments as clients

Driver/Tour Leader

Exodus Travels

From June 2003

- Employed by Safari Logistics (Saflog) and services sub-contracted to Exodus Travels, UK, with responsibility for tour logistics, budgets and safety of clients.
- Conducting tours with overland trucks through sub-Saharan Africa. In particular; Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
- Guide clients through game reserves, visit and support of community projects with the emphasis on Responsible Tourism.
- Responsible with driver for driving and maintenance of truck during and between tours.
- Managing and supervising appointed cooks on tours and the related supplies purchases.

Tour Leader & driver

Wagon Trails

January 2002 - May 2003

- Responsible for guiding of clients through South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
- Further responsibilities as single crew included preparation of meals, supervision of additional activities and driving and maintenance of tour vehicle.
- Appointed to accompany and guide the official Australian Cricket Team supporters during the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Special Interest Guide (freelance)

Zululand Ekslusif (RSA)/Forest Trails (UK)

September 2001 - December 2001

Zululand Eksklusif was a local company contracted by Forest Trails, UK to conduct the special interest tours.

- Guiding special interest tours in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Interests covered include birding, botany and butterflies.
- Responsible for sourcing of upmarket accommodation and preparation of high quality meals for clients.
- Tours were conducted in conjunction with ongoing research into bird species distribution in the areas covered by the tours.



(link to online photo portfolio

- Majority of photos used for birding tourism maps for Rwanda purchased from existing portfolio by “Africa on Paper” (
- Providing photos for Gecko’s Adventures marketing of their West Africa products.
- Commendation of three photos in international photography competition (World Photography Organisation; in top 100 out of c.25,000 entries [2009])
- Compilation of photo portfolios for clients per brief and on request, subsequent
design of e-brochures. (clients include lodges, restaurant/lounge establishments & activities)
• As tour guide compile a dvd photo compilation for clients documenting their trip.
• Furnishing most of the photographs for Wagon Trails marketing, including the 2003/2004 brochure, international advertisements and events like World Travel
Market, London.

Assistant Manager & Head Guide

Tembe Elephant Lodge, Tembe Elephant Park, Kwa-Zulu Natal (RSA)

January 2000 - August 2001

- Responsible for assistance in day to day running of Lodge and associated administration.
- Training of new guides employed by the lodge.
- Supervision of and assistance with students on voluntary service at Lodge and/or Reserve.
- Guiding of clients in the Reserve and surrounding areas of Maputaland.
- Logistics assistance for researchers, film crews (including BBC production of “Walking with Beasts”) and VIP personal assistants.
- Planning of events and catering for VIP’s, including the Tonga and Swazi Royal Families, at the Lodge and Reserve.
- Working with conservation authorities in Reserve management including duties such as posting and assistance of anti-poaching patrols, wildlife census, bird & frog atlassing and tourism PR.
- Liaison and negotiations with King, headmen etc to whom the land belongs, in issues ranging from conservation, employment, community projects and development to assistance and advice on the establishment of trans-frontier reserve, co-ordinated and led by the international conservation community.


Restaurants & Various Hospitality Establishments

January 1998 - December 1999

O’Hagans, Potchefstroom; Saddles, Potchefstroom; FCC, Potchefstroom; O’Hagans, Hermanus.

- Responsible for service, compiling menus, planning of functions.
- Supervision of staff in kitchens, bars and food service areas.
- Responsible for client liaison.

Disco/club - Tableview, Cape Town
- Assistant Manager & head bartender.

Consultant & Investigator

KPMG, Forensic Audit and Private Consulting

February 1997 - December 1997

- Forensic audit of companies under investigation by various authorities and law enforcement agencies.
- Consultation with companies in preparation for Customs & Excise audits and compliance reports.
- Business management consulting and fraud risk assessments.

Head of Special Investigations (Western & Eastern Cape)

Customs and Excise Department

September 1993 - January 1997

• Reporting to National Director of Special Investigations and
Commissioner of Customs & Excise.
• Part of five member National Response Team responding to urgent
issues across South Africa.
• Co-ordinating investigations in the Western and Eastern Cape
• Investigation of fraud in Customs & Excise related cases.
• Forensic audit of companies under scrutiny due to allegations of non-compliance and/or fraud.
• Liaison and co-operation with other law enforcement agencies in multi-agency investigations of fraud and money laundering cases
involving multi-statutory offences.
• Liaising with international Law Enforcement agencies on related
crime trends and exchange of information.
• Assisting State Prosecutors in compiling charge sheets and assistance in dealing with witnesses for the prosecution case.
• Furnishing evidence in courts of law on behalf of the State in
Customs & Excise matters.
• Presentations for training programmes of Customs & Excise

Bonded Warehouse and Rebate Facility Inspections

Customs & Excise

September 1991 - September 1993

• Responsibility for Bonded Warehouse inspections, audits and relevant compliance in the Western Cape region.
• Responsibility for Rebated Diesel audits and compliance in the
Western and Eastern Cape regions.
• Investigation of fraud in respect of Rebated Diesel claims.

Uniform Branch, Detective Branch (CID) & Commercial Crime Unit

South African Police Service

January 1986 - September 1990

Commercial Crime Unit, Pretoria
• Investigation of statutory offences related to foreign exchange,
Companies Act, Insolvency Act and fraud cases taken over by the
Unit for further investigation.

Detective Branch (CID), Johannesburg
• Investigation of various common law offences, Post Mortem
Inquests and specialising in fraud cases.
• Assistance of other units in multi-disciplinary operations.

Uniform Branch, Pretoria
Uniform Branch, Johannesburg
Uniform Branch, De Aar, Northern Cape

• Attendance of complaints from public and general law enforcement
• Duty in regions with high levels of violence and unrest.


Rwanda Tourist Maps

Majority of photos used for birding tourism maps for Rwanda purchased from existing portfolio by “Africa on Paper” (

Qualifications & Certifications

PADI Divemaster

Tofo Scuba, Mozambique

Emergency First Response – CPR/AED/First Aid

Tofo Scuba, Mozambique

Wilderness Medical Training – Far From Help Course

Royal Geographic Society, London, UK

Potchefstroom Gimnasium

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