Safaris from luxury to mobile camping, walking safaris, Kilimanjaro Climbs, cultural safaris, primate safaris, off the beaten path destinations
Various parts of the US, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Cuba, Japan, China, Australia, Switzerland, Italy, France, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, England, Netherlands, Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda
BA and Certificate of Swiss Accreditation in International Communications & Political Science, Franklin University Switzerland
Driver/Guide – Tau Safaris
Program Director: Africa & Middle East – Mountain Travel Sobek
Assistant General Manager – Aardvark Safaris
Professional Awards & Accomplishments: Top 25 – Travel Agent Magazine
Where I’ve Lived Abroad
Japan, US, Switzerland
Why I’m a Travel Consultant
There are many aspects to why I enjoy travel consulting. At the very basic level, travel, especially to Africa, is a memorable and often a life changing journey. I am privileged to be able to play a role in this amazing journey for my clients. I also feel that being on safari heightens one’s appreciation for the natural world, often leading to my clients becoming stewards for conservation. These wild places in Africa would not exist without tourism and our client’s serving as ambassadors for Travel Beyond, referring their friends and family, brings me much joy. Finally, I enjoy supporting various projects/camps/lodges in Africa that share my ethos towards sustainability, ensuring that these wild places exist for future generations.
Most Memorable Travel Experience
I have too many tales to pick just one. I don’t know if this is the most memorable, but I recall the night I fell in love with Africa. It was a warm spring evening when I was driven into the middle of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana – near the end of my first two week safari. In the middle of this massive ancient lake bed, the stars packed the sky from horizon to horizon. With utter silence, lack of light pollution and immense open space around me, I had a chance to lay and reflect on my first roller coaster of an African experience. This was the beginning to my turbulent affair with Africa.
Recommended Right Now
I always encourage my clients to book trips with diversity. Diversity in landscape, wildlife, activities etc. For me, I love being on walking safaris – experiencing beautiful open spaces sans engine noise and exhaust fumes. I get accused of being a purist now and again, but I don’t think there is a more beautiful experience than walking in the Africa bush. It may seem silly, but it’s rare to find a place near where I reside where I can choose my own path; determine my course of direction. When on a walking safari, you have the freedom to choose and explore. It nourishes my soul.
My Most Recent Trip
In April 2016, I traveled with four Travel Beyond tribe members on an extensive four-week familiarization trip to Botswana. It’s been invaluable for me to revisit many camps in Botswana that have evolved over the years and to visit some new camps that were not high on my radar. Our ability to compare camps side by side, build relationships on the ground and to determine the value of any given camp has been an enormous contribution to everyone’s professional growth. We had the privilege of learning from one another, discovered new ways of viewing product through the lens of others, and resulted as a tremendous team building exercise. Opportunities like this and the profound impact it has on our staff is one of the many reasons why Travel Beyond is such an amazing place to work!
Tassia Lodge (Kenya)
Located in the Lekurruki private conservancy (60,000 acres), this property has owned by the local Mokogoto Masai, but masterfully managed and hosted by Martin Wheeler and Antonia Hall. This place is truly epic and at the forefront of sustainable tourism. I’d go as far to say that this is my all-time favorite camp/lodge in Africa. The lodge design is so inspired, the participation/involvement of the local community is beautifully integrated, hosting/management/guiding is top notch and the whole property/area oozes charm and soul. Tassia is really all about the intangible – not particularly a game rich area (although game does exist), but more about the feelings it conjures and your shift in perspective. It can be combined easily into any Kenya itinerary.
Sarara Camp (Kenya)
Much like Tassia Lodge (both under the Northern Rangeland Trust – NRT), the camp is nestled in the Mathews Mountain Range in the Namunyak Conservancy (850,000 acres). Again, the camp is owned by the local Samburu tribe, but enthusiastically managed by Jeremy Bastard and his girlfriend Kate. Game viewing is good here with common leopard sightings, but the jewel of Sarara is in its cultural experience and hiking/walking safaris. This place is simply epic!
San Camp (Botswana)
On the fringes of an ancient lake bed the size of Switzerland, San Camp commands your attention with its lunar landscape of the Makgadikgadi. Wildlife experiences here are unique: think habituated meerkats, massive elephants and brown hyena. You also get your share of plains game here too, especially during the “green” season. For me though, the highlight is taking the ATVs in to the middle of the pans for a sundowner or an overnight (yes, sleep-out in the middle of the pans!). Utter silence, no light pollution, and stars packed from horizon to horizon, it is one of the most beautiful experiences.
Greystoke Mahale (Tanzania)
On the shores of sparkling Lake Tanganyika, this little camp on the beach boasts the best (in my opinion) primate safari experience in the whole of Africa. Chimps here are the main attraction and the arduous trek to find them is incredibly rewarding. As the closest genetic relative to the human, chimps are incredibly social, active and vocal, making my experience with the chimps the highlight of all my primate safaris. And once you’ve completed your trek, you can simply kick back on the beach, go for a swim, or a paddle. Fishing is also a fun activity, but my personal favorite is being taken out on a dhow on a full moon for a midnight dip in the lake!
Any mobile camping experience
I get accused of being a purist now and again, but I really enjoy the simplicity and purity of a mobile camp (they can still be very luxurious with proper beds/linens, showers, toilets etc.). Being on a mobile camp strips away all of the distractions, leaving you to really focus and enjoy the environment that surrounds you. The food is always wholesome and simply delicious – always cooked over a fire or in a steel box oven (think fresh baked breads, cakes etc.). I also love bucket showers where the water smells earthy/smoky. But above all, it’s about being in a remote camp in an animals’ kingdom where you really feel the enormity of the Africa wilderness.