I started travelling when I was 18 – throwing a backpack on my back, waving ‘ta-ra’ to my poor parents, and trekking round the world, relishing the new experiences that each day brought. But it took a trip to Africa to truly develop a passion for a destination – getting right to the core of my heart. Luckily for me, I worked in domestic tourism back home, but after many years, I was dying to set up my own business. So, in 2007 my company was born – specializing in tailor-made and small group trips to Africa.
Whilst every visit to Africa reveals something new about each country, my favourite destination is Botswana. It’s a special place with an unusual government policy that restricts the number and size of safari camps. This has developed a high-cost, low-volume model which ensures that tourism gives back – Botswana is one of Africa’s only countries with a free health and education system for its residents.
It’s a privileged safari experience: sundowners overlooking the Okavango Delta, the only interruptions are hippos honking and, perhaps, a lion roaring in the distance; star-gazing from your tent’s private verandah; drifting through the Delta in a dugout canoe; the thrill of seeing a herd of elephants cross the Chobe River right in front of your boat!
Anyone can say they are passionate about a destination, but for me, what makes the difference when talking to a client about Botswana is the ability to explain the amazing phenomenon that is the Okavango Delta: how the rains which start in Angola gradually creep down into Botswana over several months, bringing the flood that then makes the grasses nutritious, feeds the Delta, and brings about the game movements into various parts of the Delta – with, of course, predators close behind. For birders, it’s about explaining the best time of year to catch the Carmine Bee Eaters, or the best camp to visit a well-stocked heronry at birding migration time. For adventure seekers, knowing about the best time of year for quad biking on the Makgadigadi Pans, or for sheer volume of game, where and when to see the zebra migration in the Pans, and the huge herds of elephant and buffalo in the Chobe National Park areas. Then, for a unique – and time limited – insight into the plight of the Kalahari Bushmen, and to witness first hand tribal survival skills, the likes of which are surely dying out on our planet – a visit to the Kalahari area is an absolute must.
For me, designing safaris to Botswana is a thrill: getting to the nitty gritty of a traveller’s expectations, explaining the differences between the seasons and areas, and then creating a unique itinerary that will leave them with a raw, lasting impression of survival – wildlife and human, and a sense of excitement that they have experienced something truly special, is what fulfils me.Based in: United Kingdom
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