Meet the People who Love Africa

It is because of these amazing people below that the #IHEARTAFRICAPROJECT was able to come to life and share my love and passion for the African continent on such a grand scale.


NIKKI LOCKWOOD

FOUNDER OF THE I HEART AFRICA PROJECT

“Africa is a place unlike any other. Once you step foot, the silent drum of the ancient land beats within you. It is a place that words cannot do justice to the feeling of being there. There is so much beauty and good here, that those stories are barely ever heard. I want to share my love of the continent, by sharing the stories of others, who also share my love of Africa.”


DR EVAN ANTIN

ANIMAL EXPERT, TV HOST (EVAN GOES WILD), EXOTIC & WILD ANIMAL VETERINARIAN

Dr Evan, from California, USA, is passionate about all animals and has dedicated his life to understanding and caring for them. He has travelled to Africa on numerous occasions to research and gain hands-on experience; and also to assist where he can, including with Rhino 911, Lowland Gorillas in Central Africa, Elephants, and many more of Africa’s wildlife. Catch him on the Animal Planet show ‘Evan Goes Wild’.

HEAR PODCAST INTERVIEW

EVAN GOES WILD

BUY EVAN’S BOOK ‘WORLD WILD VET’


STEPHANIE FUCHS


Wife of a Maasai warrior. Mother. Conservationist. Biologist. Philanthropist. Blogger. Entrepreneur. Lives in the Maasai Steppe, Tanzania.

LEARN MORE HERE​

HEAR PODCAST INTERVIEW


IVAN CARTER

CONSERVATIONIST, TV HOST (CARTER’S W.A.R.), WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER & PROFESSIONAL GUIDE

Originally from Zimbabwe, Ivan Carter has spent over thirty years guiding safaris all over Africa and making television shows about the true heartbeat of the continent. He has become well known in African wildlife circles for his dedication to all manner of conservation and conservation initiatives. Believing strongly that poaching and habitat destruction are the main cause of the reduction in wildlife across Africa, Carter is dedicated to finding the solutions.

HEAR PODCAST INTERVIEW – EPISODE SIX

HEAR PODCAST INTERVIEW – EPISODE EIGHT

IVAN CARTER

THE IVAN CARTER WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ALLIANCE

CARTER’S W.A.R. (WILD ANIMAL RESPONSE)


GERRY VAN DER WALT

EXPEDITION LEADER, PRIVATE GUIDE, & WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER​
CO-FOUNDER OF WILD EYE SOUTH AFRICA

With more than fifteen years of experience as a field guide and lodge manager, and with his energetic passion for people, travel, wildlife, photography, and nature, he brings his enthusiasm and knowledge of Africa to help you conceptualize your next trip.

HEAR PODCAST INTERVIEW

GERRY VAN DER WALT

WILD-EYE


DONALD SCHULTZ

FOUNDER OF SNAKE PHARM, ZULULAND, SOUTH AFRICA
HERPETOLOGIST, WILDLIFE EXPERT, FILMMAKER, AND ADRENALINE LOVER

Star of Animal Planet’s Animal Intervention; Wild Recon; and Venom in Vegas. You can also catch him on Animal Planet’s Shark Week documentaries. Now based in South Africa, Donald uses his expert skills and knowledge to help the development of anti-venom. He brings awareness and education to local communities and those around the world about snakes, conservation, and human-snake conflict. He is a lover of all wildlife and is passionate about sharing the beauty that is his homeland.

HEAR PODCAST INTERVIEW

DONALD SCHULTZ

SNAKE PHARM 


ALICE PERETIE

UK-based, French wildlife and conservation photographer and storyteller, who fell in love with Africa the first time she set foot on Namibian soil. She vowed she would return…as nothing gets her heart beating like an African sunrise, listening to the sounds of the bush as it awakens.
Alice uses her photography as an outlet to raise awareness and tell stories about the places that she visits, and through each photo sold, she donates part of the profit back to reputable conservation initiatives.
Africa is in her veins, and it circulates with a thriving passion.

“Africa has magic within her. It may sound helplessly romantic, but the clarity of mind and her healing abilities on me have been very thought-provoking. I’ve always been passionate, inspired, and in awe of the natural world, but African wildlife and landscapes fascinated me. This may sound cliché, but it’s always been like coming home to the arms of a welcoming mother when I travel there. Maybe for spiritual or prehistorical reasons or both, but it is a continent that at once summons emotions in people, even for those who have not been.
I was touched by the gentleness of the people I met with smiles that reached their eyes. A peaceful serenity regardless of any form of chaos that could reign. A simplicity that was both humbling, touching, and inspiring.

ALICE PERETIE


RYAN VAN DER LINDE

Passionate wildlife and nature photographer, Ryan describes Africa as a wild, diverse, and vibrant place to live.  Born and raised in Zimbabwe, some of his best memories growing up are those he spent camping and exploring the wild places of his homeland with his family. ​
READ MORE…


TARJA HEINO

Finnish-born Tarja first set foot on the African continent in 1984. Travelling to Sudan, she participated in Khartoum University lectures and was given the chance to practice at Bahri Hospital Dental Clinic. After graduating from university, she then went backpacking in West and East Africa from 1987 to 1988 – Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Burkina Fuso, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and Sudan. The situation in Africa was different back then, as the AIDS epidemic had spread over the continent, and with very few cases back in her homeland, Africa was considered a very dangerous place to travel.
In 1989, she travelled to Angola to work as a volunteer until 1990. She was just twenty-six years old at the time. Working as a health educator in the rural regions of Angola, she also took part in various livelihood, school, and conservation projects. After her time was up, she hitchhiked with some coworkers to Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Thirty-five years after her first trip to Sudan, she has returned twice, the last trip was in 2010. She travelled from Jordan to Egypt, then onto Sudan.
After many trips since then, her last trip to the African continent was in 2019, with her husband. They travelled to Morocco and Western Sahara.
Altogether she has been to twenty-three of the fifty-five African countries, and even though she travels to other parts of the world, she keeps returning to Africa.


ROBIN BRUYNS

ETHNO-ECOLOGIST. FILMMAKER. PHOTOGRAPHER. TRADITIONAL MEDICINE SUSTAINABILITY RESEARCHER. WILDLIFE CONFLICT MITIGATER. EDUCATOR. CONSERVATIONIST. PANGOLIN EXPERT.

Rob is an ethno-ecologist, and professional cultural and wildlife photographer – that is genuinely what he loves. Completing a Bachelor of Science degree in conservation and zoology from The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, he then went on to complete post-graduate study that took him out in the field to collect data. The topic of the use, sustainability, and illegal trafficking of African wildlife species for traditional medicine, and the bushmeat trade, never popped up on his radar until his honour’s year. He was immediately drawn to it because it considered both the ethnic and ecological sides of conservation, communities, and compromise. It resonated with him because of his collective experience in his travels across Africa, both as a child with his dad and as a university student.
He has since dedicated his career to researching, understanding, and aiding (when needed) the international bushmeat trade, and the trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products. He has worked in countries and communities where they had no idea that the animal that frequented their dinner plate was in fact a highly endangered species. He has been involved in the traditional use and illegal trade of pangolins since 2011, and recently, was stationed in Cameroon until 2020, where he was running the Tikki Hywood Cameroon Pangolin Rehab and Research Centre – the first of its kind in Central and West Africa.


PENNY ROBARTES


Penny is an expert Worldwide Photo Tour Leader for ORYX Photo Tours. She has photographed and led multiple photo tours throughout Africa, predominately to Southern and East Africa. Supplementary to this, she has spent a combined seventy days as Photographer in Residence at luxury safari camps in both Tanzania and Kenya. Her passionate, friendly, and relaxed manner enables her to connect with and inspire each of her guests as she assists them in capturing and exploring their own unique vision.
Penny has taken ORYX guests to Antarctica, India, various East and Southern African destinations, as well as remote destinations such as Kamchatka in Russia’s Far East.  She was a semi-finalist in the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards for 2017 & 2020.

ORYX PHOTO TOURS

PENNY ROBARTES


JOSH KANUCK and AMANDA SHEPLEE

HONEYMOONING IN AFRICA

These New Yorkers’ were married at the Bronx Zoo, and then followed their dream of spending their honeymoon in Africa. Since then they have returned to this beautiful continent, visiting Northern Africa.

READ MORE…


JED MILDON

BMX LEGEND. TEAM MEMBER OF NITRO CIRCUS. EXTREME SPORTSMAN.

Jed became a household name at the age of twenty-four, when he successfully landed the first-ever triple backflip on a BMX bike, on May 28, 2011, in Taupo, New Zealand.
Never did he think that his life would take the direction of being able to do something that he is passionate about as a career. It wasn’t long after he landed the triple backflip, that Nitro Circus was on tour, and came to town. They were in search of a New Zealand BMX rider, and Jed hit their radar. After that tour in 2013, Jed became part of the Nitro Circus family, and this Kiwi lad began travelling the world.
Nicknamed the ‘warrior’ by his Nitro family, he has done over three hundred shows all over the world, and almost every continent.
In 2015, after nine months of preparation and training, he set about to defy the odds once again. Jed landed the World First quadruple backflip on a BMX bike.

“I got to enter any competition I wanted. I travelled the world, doing shows, entertaining, and making people happy, and the ultimate was becoming part of my new family – Nitro Circus. It gave me the opportunity to live my ultimate dream at the time of riding bikes every day and becoming a professional.”

Travelling as part of Nitro Circus, he has ventured to Southern Africa three times. Nitro Circus had a television show for MTV that they were filming over there, and they did a show within the show called Nitro Geographic, which saw them teaming up with Jed’s long-time friend, Herpetologist, and animal expert, Donald Schultz, so they were able to experience Africa’s wildlife up close.

“Going to Africa was a life changer for me. It is a whole other world compared to our privileged lives. It’s somewhere we all need to experience. The world is full of beauty, but none like Africa.”

JED MILDON – NITRO CIRCUS


CATE BUTCHER

FOUNDER OF WANDERLUST WOMEN’S ADVENTURES. FOUNDER OF THE FREEDOM PROJECT. MOUNTAIN TREKKING AFFICINANDO. HUMANITARIAN.

Fondly known as ‘Mumma Chaga’ by those in Marangu village on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, for Australian woman Cate, the idea to climb to the top of Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro, came about on a whim. Cate, who is an experienced hiker and mountain climber, having previously trekked to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, but Kilimanjaro was to be her first taste of high-altitude mountains.
She is a well-seasoned traveller and has travelled the world, and has many memories of her experiences, like travelling through the middle of a civil war in Yugoslavia when she was in her early twenties.
Heading to Africa that first time, she wasn’t apprehensive or nervous, as her parents were avid African travellers – visiting at least once a year.
When Cate returned home from her first trek to Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro, she was mesmerised. Three months later, she returned to Tanzania where she began the journey to founding Wanderlust Women’s Adventures. Partnering with members of the local Chaga tribe, who lives on the foothills of Kilimanjaro, she went on to lead her first trek up the mountain for her first-ever International Women’s Day Trek – and has done it annually ever since.
Her goal was to empower women around the world, by giving them the option to come on a female-only trek. Mount Kilimanjaro is challenging mentally, physically, and spiritually, and standing at the top, by your own efforts – that feeling, that was what she wanted to share with women. Give them that empowerment that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. The women who go on her treks also have the opportunity to go into the local village, meet the women, and learn of the hardships they face – thus raising awareness.
Wanderlust also has a porter education support program where from each trek they choose one porter for educational sponsorship. It could be for university, English classes, school, or other further training in cooking, mechanics, guides courses, etc.
Part of her goal in starting Wanderlust was to give back to the local communities around the mountains. She then founded The Freedom Project which gives back and supports the families of her Chaga mountain crew. Supporting local women micro-businesses, supplying pigs and chickens for breeding, and by doing such, each time she returns, she has seen improvements in their lifestyles as they generate money to pay for food, education of children, and basic living needs.
Through the Freedom Project Cate has been able to connect with families and learn about the hardships they face in the community. She was humbled that she has been invited into their lives.
Cate has also engaged with Days for Girls – a Not-For-Profit Organisation that makes washable sanitary kits for women and girls in developing countries. As well as the distribution of kits, they provide reproductive and hygiene education. The kits are sustainable, washable, and last up to three to four years. She travelled to a Maasai village in the heart of Tanzania, arriving on the back of a motorbike with a Maasai warrior, to talk to the women and girls about menstrual health, and handed out menstrual kits.
Tanzania is her second home. She has cemented a special relationship with the country and its people, that she couldn’t ever see herself doing anything else.

“I will continue to empower women around the globe. Wanderlust has a life of its own now, and it holds all my life’s passions and purpose in one. As much as I love Africa, there will be more mountains for Wanderlust. When it first began, I had a dream one night and I saw three mountains all connected. These are the three mountains on my logo – the three peaks: Mount Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu, and the Himalayas.
Wanderlust is about climbing mountains and connecting cultures, people, and places, all while supporting local community projects. I’m committed to the projects I have started in Africa, and this keeps me coming back. Plus, there is always something new to do in Africa…it’s like nowhere else on earth.”

WANDERLUST WOMEN’S ADVENTURES

FREEDOM PROJECT

Check out this short video taken on Mount Kilimanjaro (Full moon summit) during Wanderlust’s International Women’s Day Trek on March 8, 2020.


MIKE SUTHERLAND​

PRIVATE SAFARI GUIDE. CO-FOUNDER ESCAPE SAFARI CO. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER.

Founder of Escape Safari Co. Specialist Safari Guide. Having travelled extensively around Africa, working at over 15 exclusive private lodges around South Africa, and with his experience as a travel specialist and wildlife photographer, Mike has an intricate knowledge of luxury safari experiences. This has shaped a deep respect for travel in Africa and has given him a holistic view of what the continent has to offer.

ESCAPE SAFARI CO


ROBERT (JERSEYBOB) and MONIKA VINCENT

AVID TRAVELERS & MUSICIANS

Monika, originally from South Africa, and Bob, originally from the United Kingdom, currently live in New Zealand, where they own a raw food deli. It is their love of music, along with strong family ties to South Africa and Namibia, that sees them return to the continent of Africa to enjoy the beauty and share their music. With an amazing sense of humour, hear as they talk of their love for Africa, and tell stories from their travels within the continent. There is a special magic, a vibe to these amazing people.

HEAR PODCAST INTERVIEW

JERSEYBOB

RAW BALANCE NZ


TYRA LANHAM-LOVE

TRAVELER & RESIDENT

South African local set out on a 58-day ultimate African overland experience to explore her homeland.

READ TYRA’S TRAVEL BLOG


JASON SAVAGE 

CONSERVATIONIST, PHOTOGRAPHER, AND STORYTELLER

“Bringing wildlife and fragile habitats into the everyday life, to try to educate and inspire others to get involved in conservation – this is my path and passion, and I couldn’t do anything else with my life.”

JASON SAVAGE PHOTOGRAPHY


MARILYN YOUNG

A TRUE AFRICAN TRAVEL AFICIONADO

Marilyn’s first taste of Africa was during her childhood. She was born in 1954 to Salvation Army missionaries who were stationed in South Africa. Growing up amongst the locals, away from the cities, during the height of Apartheid, she was immersed in local culture. Living amongst the then Venda people, and later with the Zulu, she recalls that her father was privileged to visit many of the native rituals as well as film them – still having in her possession an old film of a Domba Dance by the Venda’s.

“Although I left Africa at age twelve, Africa is home. On returning, everything feels so comfortable and familiar. It’s the smells and the vibes. The draw I have to Africa is an inexplicable feeling. It dives into my soul and deep into my emotions. Mama Africa.”

Marilyn, who has lived in Canada since she left at age twelve, has returned to the African continent many times since her departure. She has encountered many of the great tribes of Southern and East Africa, and marvelled at the magic that is the African landscapes and wildlife – the great migration in the Serengeti National Park; climbed ‘Big Daddy’ and ‘Dune 45’ sand dunes in the Sossusvlei region of Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia; slept under a Baobab tree in the middle of nowhere; walked the Sweni Trail in Kruger National Park in South Africa; camped beside Lake Natron – a soda lake with striking red waters and hundreds of thousands of flamingos, in Kenya; visited a rural ‘female only’ village that was founded in 1990, by fifteen women who were trying to escape the practices and thinking of the male-dominated society; plus many more experiences.
It is Marilyn’s dream to be able to travel for an unlimited amount of time; travel with her husband in a tented 4×4; and drive all over the African continent, witnessing the beautiful and diverse landscapes, wildlife, and tribes – before they disappear.

“If I ever had a regret it would be that I would not able to go back to Africa.”


NICOLETTE WALDECK

ZIMBABWEAN FREELANCE TOUR MANAGER AT ACCOMPANY TRAVEL

“Imagine spending your whole life never seeing an African Elephant, a Lion, cheetah, or leopard in the wild. When you see their true power and have one of them stare you directly in the eye, something in you changes, it humbles you. You then start to understand how important it is, that we humans, continue fighting for their survival, fighting to keep wild spaces for them and be the best guardians we can be.”


SHANE ROSS​

FOUNDER OF RAW WORLDWIDE & SHANE ROSS PHOTOGRAPHY

Ecologist; Environmentalist; Wildlife Photographer; African Adventure Safari Leader & Founder of Raw WorldWide.

Shane is truly at home in the wild places, with a tent, little red – his Suzuki Samurai. He is creatively passionate about what he does and wants to share the best parts of Africa with you.

HEAR PODCAST TALK WITH SHANE ABOUT THE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT TRAVELLING IN AFRICA

RAW WORLDWIDE

SHANE ROSS PHOTOGRAPHY


ABRAHAM LAUWO

PROUD MEMBER OF THE CHAGA TRIBE. EXPERIENCED AND LICENSED MOUNTAIN SAFETY AND SAFARI GUIDE. MOUNT KILIMANJARO GUIDE AND PORTER.

Abraham lives in the Chaga village of Marangu, which sits on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. The Chaga are very proud, and hardworking people. His family has a legacy associated with the mountain, for which his great-uncle Yohani Kinyala Lauwo was the first man to ever reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, and was famous for guiding German climber, Hans Henrich Josef Meyer, and Austrian climber, Ludwig Purtscheller, to the top of Kilimanjaro in 1889.
To this day, Yohani Kinyala Lauwo is a hero and inspiration to Abraham, and he wanted to follow in his great uncle’s footsteps.
He started out as a porter on the mountain at an early age, then after a few years of this, he gained his National Park licence in mountain safety and safari guide and started to freelance his services. One such company he partners with is Wanderlust Women’s Adventures run by Cate Butcher. Then started his own tour company Lauwo Adventures, for which he guides people from all around the world up the summit (Uhuru Peak) of Mount Kilimanjaro.
To Abraham, Kilimanjaro is a symbol of inner strength and freedom. Even when he retires, he will not stop making the trek up the mountain.

“Each time I reach the summit at the breaking of a new dawn, as the first rays of sunlight appear, I feel reborn. There is an energy so pure and true when I stand there, looking out over Africa from its highest peak.”


JONATHAN (JONTY) BOZAS

PRIVATE GUIDE AT WILD WONDERFUL WORLD. PRIVATE SAFARI GUIDE 15+ YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER. CO-FOUNDER OF PHOTOS FOR FOOD 2020. PROUD SOUTH AFRICAN, AND FAMILY MAN.

Over the last fifteen-plus years of his guiding career, Jonty has worked at some of the best game lodges in Southern Africa. His passion for nature and wildlife began at an early age, when his older brother worked on a small reserve near his hometown of Empangeni, in South Africa. There he saw his brother involved in the relocation of a herd of problematic elephants and was fortunate to spend much time exploring that reserve with his older brother.
Jonty has travelled to many locations all over Southern Africa, guiding, and working at lodges – including several stints in the famed regions of Mpumalanga, South Africa. Those big names, Singita Sabi Sands, andBeyond (various properties), and Mala Mala Game Reserve – a place steeped in legend.

“Africa, to me, is home, and a melting pot of cultures from around the world – which makes it one incredible place to live. It has a rich history full of adventure and turmoil, and a long struggle of our people against apartheid. To emerge out of that into the rainbow nation makes me immensely proud. I love Africa because it is so raw in certain places, which makes it feel free from a world that is progressing and developing at such a rapid rate. I love Africa because as a destination that millions of travellers visit repeatedly, I get to call it home, I get to live in this melting pot that sometimes makes mistakes and runs on its own Africa time, but it is a wonderful place, filled with mostly wonderful people.”


WILD WONDERFUL WORLD

PHOTOS FOR FOOD 2020

Video by MrsZero – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2LVFcbeynXOUfbFcYaeNjQ

SUE COCKELL

FOUNDER OF SUE WHERE? WHY? WHAT? TRAVEL BLOGGER.

Sue is a blogger who has been travelling the world for more than thirty years. She has visited over seventy countries across six continents. Her goal is to inspire women in their forties and fifties to have the confidence to travel the world solo & her blog provides all the resources needed to make it happen. Sue enthusiastically embraces all opportunities to try new experiences & loves to discover popular sites as well as local, off the beaten track recommendations. She draws on her 20-year experience in sales to showcase the best of any destination she visits.
In 1992 Sue first visited the African continent as a naive twenty-two-year-old. She knew nothing much of the continent and had prior to booking had no dreams of visiting it either. Flying into Mombasa in Kenya, she was headed on a nine-week overland safari, that would ultimately change her life.
Since her first epic adventure in Africa, Sue has returned three more times to complete adventures on her life list. At the beginning of 2016, slightly over a year after she tragically lost Terry – her husband of eighteen years, she decided to take control of her life and began writing her life list of all the places she wanted to go and the experiences she wanted to have. One of those four trips to Africa was a trip she and Terry took to South Africa. They drove the Garden Route and spent a little time on safari.
The third time was in 2017, she was contemplating her life list and wanted to do conservation volunteer work that involved animals. Namibia was a country that was on her list. She came across N/a’ankusê Foundation Wildlife Sanctuary, and off she went. It was another unforgettable experience, where she battled wildfires, hiked sand dunes, met some of the tribes of Namibia – San, Herero, and Himba, and had several animals make an impact on her – a baby cheetah, and a young baboon.
Her last trip to the continent was in 2019, to celebrate her fifth birthday. This time, she had Africa’s highest peak in her sights. Sue and her friend Brigit hiked the Lemosho Route in eight days from start to finish and successfully made it all the way up to the summit (Uhuru Peak).

“I looked up (from Stella Point) and the sun was coming up from behind the endless lands of Africa. It was amazing. Everything was glowing red, but the clouds were blowing through. At one moment you couldn’t see anything and then we had this clear view of glaciers and the orange glow over the rocks. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, probably because I had to work so hard to get there. Brigit and I said to each other, ‘Wow, look what we’ve done, what we’ve achieved, what we can see.’ That moment, seeing the clouds below us, the rays of orange and red as the sun was rising and the glaciers, it was a spectacular moment and the absolute highlight of the climb for me. There are plenty of people who never make it to the top for various reasons. It was such a privilege to be able to see what I did, and there is such a sense of achievement that came with it, that made it even more special.”


SUE WHERE? WHY? WHAT?


ANDREW DANCKWERTS

PRIVATE SAFARI GUIDE. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER. EXPEDITION LEADER. CONSERVATIONIST. STORYTELLER.

The wilds of Africa have always been a big part of Andrew Danckwerts life. Growing up in Choma – a small town in the southern province of Zambia. He has now been guiding for over ten years and has worked all over the African continent, from Kenya and the Masai Mara, the Kafue in Zambia, the Serengeti in Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, the Sabi Sands in South Africa – to name a couple. Along the way, he picked up a camera and decided to use his interest in art to create art of his own – he wanted to tell stories and share the beauty of the places he travelled and the people he met.
He has had some remarkable moments along his journey, including trekking into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda, where he came face to face with mountain gorillas. For his last safari of 2019, he headed to the Simien Mountains in the Ethiopian Highlands, which is home to iconic wildlife that are endemic to the region, such as the Walya ibex (one of the most endangered mammal species in the world), the Simien fox, and “The Bleeding Heart Baboon’ also known as the Gelada baboon. These baboons can only be found in occurrences above three thousand metres above sea level, on rocky outcrops, escarpments, or grazing on lush grasslands. He also visited tribes that do not have frequent travellers, like the Karo and Mursi tribes.


ANDREW DANCKWERTS


ELLE YANTSCH

UNDERGRADUATE IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & ANIMAL ECOLOGY. CONSERVATIONIST. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER.

In November 2019, Elle and five other students from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia headed off to South Africa for two weeks. In the hands of SANParks (South African National Parks), Elle and the group headed to Skukuza, where SANParks first established a staffed scientific research facility back in the 1950s. The N’waswitshaka Research Camp situated at Skukuza was to be her home for seven nights.
During her stay they went on many game drives and explored all the different routes throughout the southern end of Kruger; observed and examined the vegetation structure and composition, and wildlife and their habitats.
Along with field and first-hand experience, they attended meetings with SANParks co-ordinators; met with the anti-poaching manager; and had various other talks with the senior veterinary manager and animal relocators, biodiversity managers, and science and management officers.
From Skukuza, Elle’s group headed north, higher into Kruger, to Letaba. There, she attended various talks from the management of SANParks; met with trackers, learned how to track animals by their footprints, found and identified different scats, and learned about certain problem animals that affect the biodiversity of specific ecosystems throughout the KNP. During her time in South Africa, Elle got to see the other side of poaching, when they left KNP for a visit to The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. This centre began in 1991 and rescues, helps, and rehabilitates a variety of wildlife that have either been orphaned, injured, poisoned, or rescued from snares or poachers.

“The geology of Kruger, the soil and the open savanna that can change to lush bushland with granite boulders. The landscape, flora and fauna, and even wildlife vary from the northern to southern ends. It truly is a land of endless beauty. Everything you see is an eye-opener. It is hard to grasp the openness and the density of the bushveld. One day we came across two white rhinos making their way through the veld, and as we walked downwind from them, it was an unbelievable experience. To be out in the veld – in the wild and untamed lands of Africa, with the cool air on my face, camera in hand, walking in absolute silence observing these creatures, was an incredible honour. All I can say is that the smile on my face cannot be wiped away to this day, nor the feeling I had whilst walking in the wilds of Africa.”


DR JOEL ALVES

WILDLIFE VETERINARIAN. CONSERVATIONIST. CO-FOUNDER OF WILDSCAPES VETERINARY & CONSERVATION SERVICES.

Dr Joel Alves is a wildlife veterinarian and the co-founder of WildScapes Veterinary & Conservation Services. He works closely with a number of conservation NGOs and has a very keen interest in the greater aspects of conservation, beyond just the field of veterinary science. He has extensive experience in the immobilisation and translocation of African predators and is on the board of trustees for the Lion Management Forum of South Africa and also part of the African Lion Working Group.


STEPHANIE MARTHINUS

TRAVEL BLOGGER. VISITS THE SMALL TOWN IN THE WESTERN CAPE OF SOUTH AFRICA.

Stephanie has lived in Cape Town, South Africa her entire life. Her passion and enthusiasm for life and travel are combined with her love for her country, which is why she wanted to showcase how mesmerising and worth exploring South Africa is. Together with her husband, they are on a mission to visit all one-hundred-and ninety-three small towns in the Western Cape, and to date, they have visited eighty-nine.

“It was on our second small town trip when we realised that many residents in South Africa had no idea where these small towns were, or what there was to do there. So, we decided to embark on small-town adventures to highlight what these small towns were about and to support the small businesses within these towns. And with that, I started an online travel and lifestyle blog to showcase our travels.
Travelling in my own country changed my perspective on how I view South Africa. These small towns are romantic, and each one we have visited so far has a different atmosphere and has its own creative spin on things from cuisine to local artistry.”


STEPHANIE MARTHINUS


NICK WADE

PHOTOGRAPHER. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER.

Hailing from Wilmington, North Carolina, this father of two, and grandfather of six has travelled to Kenya three times. On his first trip in 2016, he accompanied members of his local church and headed north towards Nakuru in the Great Rift Valley. There, he went on a safari in one of Kenya’s premium national parks, and a true wildlife haven, Lake Nakuru National Park.
After a second successful trip with his church to Nakuru in 2017, he felt like he needed to see and experience more. In 2018, Nick flew back, solo this time, to Nairobi, Kenya. He had booked a ten-day stay at the Wild Eye Mara Camp, located in the Mara Triangle, in the Masai Mara National Reserve. Within two hours of arriving, Nick got to experience his first wildebeest Great Migration crossing.
Part of the appeal for staying at the Wild Eye Mara Camp was that their guides are all experts in wildlife photography and impart their knowledge to help guests. For Nick, who brought his first camera in his twenties, and ever since, has been serious about photography, it was an opportunity not to miss as he didn’t start photographing wildlife until before his first trip to Kenya.

“As far as wildlife, I have always been an animal lover, and have studied wildlife photographers I admired, but it wasn’t until I was out in the field with Wild Eye that I learned about movement, about what to look for when shooting a lion, for example, to make sure I got him walking; or an elephant when he is walking or using his trunk to eat.”


WADE FOTOGRAPHIC


MANUELLE PRUNIER

CO-FOUNDER & ADVISOR AT GOOD TO GREAT TOURISM.

Manuelle holds an MSc in International Development and a GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism. In her diversified career spanning over twenty years and three continents (Europe, Africa, North and Central America), she has worked with the European Union, governments, Indigenous organizations, NGOs, communities, and tour operators. 
She had always wanted to set foot in Africa but was warned it was too dangerous and thus put it off. Manuelle finally set foot in Tanzania and Zanzibar in the late 1990s. From there she went on a tented overland trip, where some of the highlights included Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro crater, Lake Natron with its flamingos, and visits to Maasai settlements. That trip was everything she had dreamt of, and it left her wanting more. So, when she returned to the continent a couple of years later, it was to undertake volunteer work in South Africa.
The placement she was offered was in a community-based tourism project where she served as a training and marketing advisor for an NGO that was developing a community-based horse and hiking trail. It consisted of micro-enterprises such as campsites, caterers, guides, canoe operators to cross the estuaries, and horse owners who were renting their horses. Going to the Wild Coast, where her fieldwork was, was an adventure involving 4×4 river crossings, getting stuck in the sand, and horse-riding for long hours to reach remote communities.
Manuelle later returned to Southern Africa, to Namibia, to work as a tour director for a British tour operator. Another unforgettable experience she had was Gabon in Central Africa, where she spent three years as the manager of a project for the development of ecotourism solutions in a region that consisted of protected areas and newly created national parks.
To date, she has been to Africa six times.


GOOD TO GREAT TOURISM


LAUREN RENNEY

SOUTH AFRICAN EX-PAT & TRAVEL CONSULTANT

“You have never experienced anything until you have gone to Africa. There is no such place like it in the world, and I’ve travelled the world, there is no such place like Africa, and if you don’t travel there, you are making a big mistake.”


LOVEJOY KISALI

CONSERVATIONIST

Born and raised in Kenya he was humbled to have such a magnificent array of wildlife not more than a stone’s throw away. Having graduated from Kenyatta University with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation, he has turned his expertise to work as a freelance conservationist in Kenya, to help educate local communities and people about conservation and wildlife matters.


ISABEL JUBY

HORSE SAFARI EXPERT. EXPERIENCED HORSE RIDER. TOUR LEADER. CEO & SAFARI SPECIALIST AT AFRICAN HORSE SAFARIS.


Having ridden all her life, Isabel brings horse expertise into the equation. Coming from the UK, she first got bitten by the Africa bug fifteen years ago on a family trip to Namibia. Since then she has travelled across much of Southern and East Africa, working with horse safari companies in both Botswana and Malawi, before she landed in Zimbabwe. There she spent two and a half years living in the bush with thirty horses at her disposal.
She is now based in Cape Town, South Africa, where she heads up the team at African Horse Safaris and is their horse safari guru. Isabel combined her love of horses, travel, and Africa, to pursue her dreams of making a career from her passions. She has also travelled extensively to destinations on offer and knows the rides inside out.


AFRICAN HORSE SAFARIS


WARREN PEARSON

PAN-AFRICAN SPECIALIST GUIDE​

Warren combines a wealth of experience with a deep passion for wanting to educate people on all that Africa has to offer. Warren is the ideal leader for wildlife and photographic safaris.

WARREN PEARSON


WILDA FONG

After seeing a video of Giraffe Manor, it was then she decided that she was well overdue to set foot on the African continent.

Watch the Episode of ‘Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby’ that inspired Wilda’s African trip to Giraffe Manor in Kenya.


MATTHEW (MATT) KEARNS

FOUNDER OF TRIBALTOURIST.

Originally from New Zealand, Matt first fell in love with Africa years ago, when he did my first trip there, on his way to London. His first stop was in Cape Town during the summer of 1993-1994. What was supposed to be a few weeks, ended up being three months. and wow, what a beautiful city. He was to stay a few weeks but ended up staying three months. Lady Luck was on his side as he travelled from Cape Town, South Africa, through Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Kenya – arriving in Nairobi. What a trip he had with many stories to tell and Mama Africa, her soul, and its people had stolen his heart forever.
Before he moved to South Africa, he was living in Dubai. With a background in design, he helped launch Emirate Airlines as a creative director. Living a corporate, fast-paced lifestyle, he frequented Zanzibar as an escape from the rat race and fell in love with the island.
In 2010, he and his South African wife moved from Dubai to Zanzibar, where Matt spent two years building villas. Then they made their final shift to Cape Town.
Tribal Tourist was founded in 2015, and within a year, it was voted in the top ten start-ups in Cape Town, and in 2019, became a National Geographic Traveller Africa Collection partner. It has gone from strength to strength with Matt at the helm, showing that there are more adventures to be had in Africa than just a safari.

“Africa has had an enormous impact on my life. It’s more about the people and diverse cultures you meet along the way. African people are so friendly. They have a culture of caring for each other. In some cases, they may not have much but they will always share what they can. They love a good laugh and look at life so differently from the Western world. Family is especially important, as is respect.”



TRIBAL TOURIST


MANDY MONK

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER & ARTIST. ANIMAL ECOLOGIST. CONSERVATIONIST.

Mandy has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Ecology specialising in Conservation & Restoration. Growing up in Noosa, Queensland, Australia, she has always been fascinated with nature and wildlife. In 2019, she took her first trip to the African continent. Headed for the world-renown Kruger National Park in South Africa, she and five other students from The University of the Sunshine Coast were about to have the most incredible two weeks of their lives. Under the care of SANParks (South African National Parks), during the first half of her trip she was based at the ‘capital’ of Kruger – Skukuza. During her time at Skukuza, they went out on daily game drives to count species and collate data on the ecosystem types that varied species were found in; also recorded geological structures and soil types. On walking exploration trips, the SANParks rangers taught them about finding and identifying spore and scat from varied species.
After one week at Skukuza, they headed north to Letaba, where they stayed for the second half of the trip.
That trip to South Africa aided her studies because the time she had in the field gave her an understanding of African biodiversity, conservation, and animal ecology.


“I have nothing but the utmost respect for the tough job the SANParks rangers do in keeping the wildlife and people safe. The rangers, vets, scientists, anti-poaching team, and all the other staff. They were amazing to learn from and opened my eyes as to how hard it is to run a national park on such a large scale that is home to some of the most unique and dangerous animals on the planet.
There is something really special about Africa that captured my heart and soul. From its unique megafauna, the intensity of life, the survival of its predators and prey, and the vastness of its landscape, it was unlike anywhere else in the world. And the beautiful, traditional cultures that have managed to remain almost unchanged throughout the centuries were incredible. Africa has a vibrance of wildlife and humanity that permeates the hearts of all those who visit, and stays with you long after you leave.”


STUART BUY

FIELD GUIDE & PHOTOGRAPHER

Field Guide at the beautiful Leopard Hills in the Sabi Sands, South Africa. Passionate about wildlife, photography, and his homeland.


ANNE DE GRAAF

TRAVEL & FOOD BLOGGER.

From the Netherlands, Anne loves to travel and eat good food. She started her blog to combine her two loves. She has travelled to sixty-seven countries around the world, and shared her travel experiences with the hopes of inspiring other travellers, and also providing practical advice. Everything she writes is based on her own experiences with places, activities, and restaurants. As a ‘foodie’ she writes about the best places to eat (healthy) in the destinations she has travelled.
With regards to Africa, she has been to Morocco, Madagascar, and South Africa. She visited South Africa in 2016, for two and a half weeks to attend a wedding and to explore. While there she explored much of Cape Town and its surroundings, including Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for eighteen years, the District Nine Museum which is home to the history of apartheid, many vineyards, the Garen Route, and then she flew east to Kruger National Park.

“My visits to the African continent are always a unique experience. It is a place that has been less spoiled by tourism, and the influence of the West is smaller there. Africa is an authentic continent in its history, cultures, languages, foods, people, ecosystems, landscapes, and way of life.”


ANNE TRAVEL FOODIE


NICK RAPER

TRAVELER & RESIDENT

This South African local set out on an adventure of discovery, in 2017, of both self and Africa. Tired of the daily humdrum, he up and quit his job, packed up his 4×4, and hit the road.


BRADY MOUNTFORD

FOUNDER OF BRADY’S WILDLIFE ADVENTURES.

Aussie lad, Brady Mountford has long felt the call to Africa. Born and raised in Bunbury, Western Australia, he is the proud owner of an African touring company called Brady’s Wildlife Adventures.


OKECHUKWU (OKE) IROEGBU

NIGERIAN POET AND WRITER.

Oke writes short stories and poems about Africa. He has had a lot of his works published in magazines and smaller journals, as well as two books published on Amazon. The telling of African folklore is one of his best achievements in the arts. He is from Ovim, Isuikwuato, in Nigeria. Isuikwuato is a lovely place with breathtaking hills, virgin forests, swift-flowing streams, exotic wildlife, and elegant people.


OKE IROEGBU

OKE’S BOOKS ON AMAZON


NICHOLAS WILKINS

A KIWI IN AFRICA​

Hailing from New Zealand, he and his brother flew to South Africa and began his 42-day, Cape Town to Nairobi organised tour.


PETER DE GRAAF

NEWSPAPER REPORTER. PHOTOGRAPHER. JOURNALIST.

Based in Kerikeri, in the far north of New Zealand, Peter first stepped foot in Africa in 2016. He visited Rwanda, where he attended a four-day traditional wedding ceremony for his cousin in Kigali. Also in 2016 he visited Ethiopia for three weeks – which wasn’t enough to even scratch the surface of this vast, varied, and confounding land. He did, however, manage to visit Axum, the religious epicentre of the Ethiopian orthodox church; the exotic, colourful eastern city of Harar; and the 12th-century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela — surely a wonder of the world. Peter had a once-in-a-lifetime encounter in Harar, where he met a man who had been feeding wild hyenas since the age of thirteen with his father. It was a family business, one that his forefathers had started in the 1940s for spiritual reasons. Every night he heads to the rubbish dump with a torch and a basket of meat and waits, first for tourists who pay a small fee to witness it, then for the hyenas, which he summons by whistling and calling their names.

“I felt the hyena plant its big padded paws on my shoulders and felt its claws press into my flesh. For a moment I wondered how I’d ended up in a rubbish dump in Ethiopia with 60kg of wild carnivore on my back; then I felt its hot breath and the coarse fur on its jaw brush my cheek as it seized the meat.
I went to bed happy that night but when I woke up the next morning a putrid smell filled my nostrils.”



PETER DE GRAAF


SANI YUSUF

FOUNDER OF HAIBRID. AUTHOR OF ICONIC BY EXAMPLE. PUBLISHED AUTHOR. PUBLIC SPEAKER. TRAVELLER. IT EDUCATOR & SOFTWARE ENGINEER. DEVELOPER ADVOCATE. GOOGLE DEVELOPER EXPERT.

Originally from Nigeria, Sani moved to the UK in 2010 to pursue a degree in computer science. He has a great interest in healthcare and educational advancement with mobile technology. He is the founder of Haibrid, a company focused on creating innovative mobile solutions with hybrid technologies, in London. Starting his career as a web developer, he moved on to native development of both desktop and mobile applications before developing a focus on hybrid mobile apps due to their philosophy of reusability and cross-platform operability. Sani is also the co-organiser of Ionic UK & has spoken about Ionic on four continents. A Google Developer Expert & published book author, he recently created the first Ionic 3.0 course online VIA Lynda.COM.
The apps he has developed or helped develop, have amassed over twenty-five million downloads. In the past, he has worked for brands like Anritsu and Microsoft, as well as startups like Sworkit & Huddlebuy. His work has been recognised and awarded by Microsoft, Samsung, and Aimia LTD.
He is currently working with MindLife UK – a digital health company developing a cutting-edge platform for digital mental health, which is collaborating with the University of Sheffield and NHS Trusts.
Sani has visited his homeland of Nigeria several times since moving to the UK. In 2016, he returned and shared his experiences of travelling around Nigeria. It is both candid and raw. He highlights the raw beauty that can be found in Nigeria.


SANI YUSUF


HAMISH YOUNGER

Hamish Younger has been an African devotee for the past fifteen or so years. Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, he has moved around during his life from living in Perth to London and Los Angeles. Now, he resides in Melbourne, Victoria. He has spent his career working in marketing and branding, across fashion and lifestyle brands. He has always loved travelling. Like many young Australians, post-university, he travelled around Europe for a couple of years, both working and travelling. Hamish has never been a fan of group travel and has tended to steer clear of organised travel itineraries.
He has been to Africa four times and visited the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Mozambique, and Rwanda – where he came face to face with mountain gorillas, and various locations in South Africa, including Kruger National Park, Port Elizabeth, and Kwandwe Game Reserve.

“Each time I am in Africa, it enables me to go back to basics, and appreciate the complexity and sheer genius of nature. It also helps me to recognise and understand the danger of man’s impact on nature and the environment.”


AMANDA (LEE) WESTPY

TRAVEL BLOGGER. US PEACE CORPS. EDUCATOR.

Amanda Wespty who goes by Lee has travelled to various countries across Africa. She joined the US Peace Corps, and in August 2017, completed a two-year service in Zambia where she taught English and computer studies to eighth and ninth graders, in a rural village outside of Kasama, in the northern province. During her time in service in Zambia, she visited Malawi and Botswana with other Peace Corps members, and after her service ended, she spent four months travelling on her own through Tanzania, Ghana, and South Africa.
She spent over two years in the Peace Corps in Zambia which allowed her to see many other neighbouring countries and become comfortable with African travel. She has journaled her travels to help others become inspired and feel safe travelling to these beautiful places.



LEE’S TRAVEL BLOG


AMAYA DE VLEESCHAWER

Amaya is a Creative Hybrid who is very passionate about experiential marketing and management. She has always enjoyed exploring different cultures and places and has travelled around the world – including visiting the African continent five times. Growing up in Germany, it was her parent’s love for adventurous holidays to places far from home, that led Amaya to Africa. Her first trip was at age seven. From Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya, and Zanzibar; Amaya’s memories were amazing. Some of her top places to visit in Africa include Kigali, Rwanda; Mozambique (in general); Akagera National Park in Rwanda; and the Okavango Delta in Botswana.


AMAYA DE VLEESCHAWER


BILL AND PAIGE SHAW

WANDERLUSTERS. TRAVEL BLOGGERS. PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Years ago, Bill and Paige were bitten by the wanderlust bug, and the result was a serious case of ‘we have to get out of here’ syndrome. They wanted to live it, breathe it, feel it, and give back, so they were on the move. Now, they have visited one-hundred-and-thirty countries and counting…
They are the perfect team. Paige is a photographer, and Bill carries all the camera gear.  They are joined at the hip, two peas in a pod.
Hailing from America, Bill and Paige headed to Kenya in August 2021 to undertake ‘The Great Walk of Africa’. This trip came about through Bill’s nephew Stephen, and his wife Kim. They were originally booked on The Great Walk in 2020, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic bringing the world to a standstill, they postponed it until 2021 and asked Bill and Paige if we wanted to join them, and of course, they said yes.
It wasn’t their first trip to the African continent as they had previously visited Morocco and Egypt in the north.
Active trekkers, they had previously done the five-hundred-mile Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage, from France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain; the three-hundred-and-ninety-mile Camino Portugues walk, from Lisbon, Portugal, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain; and the one-thousand-mile (approx.) The Via Francigena walk from the Swiss Alps to the city of Rome in Italy, but never one in Africa.
‘The Great Walk of Africa’ is a one-hundred-and-sixty-kilometre (one-hundred-mile) walking safari across landscapes of Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, in Kenya, that takes you into the heart of the true story of the ‘Man-Eaters of Tsavo’ – two mane-less male lions kill one-hundred-and-thirty-five railroad workers in 1898, and were eventually shot by Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson.
Before they set out on their walk, they visited the famed Karen Blixen Museum and stayed at Hemingways Hotel (named after American author Ernest Hemingway). Post-walk they visited Lamu Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2011; went to Stone Town in Zanzibar; then went on safari in Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

“‘The Great Walk of Africa’ was an adventure of a lifetime. To have had the opportunity to walk freely amongst wildlife that we, in America, only get to see surrounded by layers of fencing at a zoo, was invigorating. I mean, at times it felt like we were walking with dinosaurs. Our senses were completely heightened, and we had daily reminders of our mortality. To have seen the lions that were once hunted by an elite few as trophies, but now were vigorously protected, and accessible to everyone – what an evolution. We are truly very grateful to have had the opportunity to experience the magic of Tsavo; and to have learned of the true story of the ‘Man-Eaters of Tsavo’ while standing on the very dirt that they once walked, it was utterly like a dream.”


ZIGZAGGING WITH BILL AND PAIGE

PAIGE SHAW PHOTOGRAPHY


PETRONEL NIEUWOUDT

FOUNDER OF CARE FOR WILD RHINO SANCTUARY

The year 2014 changed the course of Petronel’s life. She had no idea as to the enormous responsibility that was soon to be asked of her. South Africa was fast becoming the centre of the poaching crisis. Rhinos were being murdered in National Parks, Provincial Parks and on private property. Poaching numbers were rising at an alarming rate and the effects were becoming increasingly more devastating as more and more orphans were left defenceless and alone with their fate. In the midst of the escalating crisis, South African National Parks decided that they needed to take action if they were going to prevent the extinction of the rhino species and Kruger National Park began to save orphaned and injured rhinos.
Petronel and her small team of staff and volunteers had no idea when they might expect a new orphan, nor did they anticipate the vast numbers in which they would arrive. Satara was the very first calf received from the Kruger National Park and after her admission, the orphans just kept on coming. 
As of 2020, Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary has rescued more than 80 rhinos. It was always Care for Wild’s mission to rewild and release the rhino orphans under their care with the vision of securing viable black and white rhino breeding populations and thus securing the future of the species. 

I wondered about her and I thought to myself, will she make it? Will she really be fine? Will she make this trip? In what condition will she be? Is she hurting, is she crying for her Mom? Will she accept me and at the end of the day, will she trust me to walk this journey with her… will I be able to save her in the end?


CARE FOR WILD RHINO SANCTUARY


JOHANNA TAYLOR

CARNIVORE ECOLOGIST AT KARINGANI GAME RESERVE

Jo grew up in America, in a small town in Maryland called Poolesville. She has always had a passion for wildlife and conservation, for as long as she can remember. From a young age, she discovered the word zoologist and promptly decided that was what she wanted to be when she grew up. She tried to cater her education towards the path to becoming an ecologist and took up every opportunity she could to volunteer and gain experience with animals. Jo joined the Global Ecology Studies Program at her local high school which focused on natural sciences and the environment. Later on, she attended West Virginia University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management with a minor in Conservation Ecology.
During university, she worked as an intern for National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative and fell even more in love with research and the work being done in the field, on the front line. After university, she worked with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department through Frostburg State University, doing home range assessment surveys for mesocarnivores. It was an incredible experience, but it wasn’t Africa.
Jo’s love of big cats sent her on the zoo career path, where she worked for four years as a big cat and lead ungulate zookeeper at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium in Pennsylvania, and would start her days hearing the resident lions roar.
Every guest speaker and visitor they had at the zoo from NGOs in Africa captivated her, and so, she jumped at the opportunity to move to Namibia to work for the Cheetah Conservation Fund as the assistant operations manager. One year later, she was offered an incredible opportunity to advance her career and moved to South Africa to work for Panthera as a research technician for Panthera’s Leopard Program, where she ran camera trap surveys focused on determining leopard densities and their distributions across South Africa.
Jo’s career as a large carnivore ecologist went a few cat sizes smaller when she started her master’s dissertation in conservation biology, looking at the influence of camera trap deployment on serval density estimates through the University of Cape Town and Panthera’s Small Cats Action Fund.
Since 2017, Jo has been involved in various conservation projects all over Southern Africa and has assisted in projects focused on cheetah, wild dog, and rhino conservation. In addition to volunteering as an Honorary Officer for North West Parks Board. In early 2020, she moved to her fourth African country, where she took up her current position at Karingani Game Reserve in Mozambique.


JO TAYLOR

AZAD ‘OZ’ EBRAHIMZADEH

UNITED STATES ARMY SPECIAL FORCES 18D MEDIC – GREEN BERET VETERAN. ANTI-POACHING TEAM. CO-FOUNDER OF VETPAW.

After twenty plus years in the United States Army Special Forces as a formidable Green beret, OZ turned his sights on Africa. Offered a chance to be part of a four-man specialist team to go to South Africa, to ground zero of the war against rhino poaching. There they filmed a mini-docuseries called ‘Battleground: Rhino Wars‘, and got boots on the ground, right in the epicentre of the crisis. They teamed up with the men and women on the anti-poaching teams who risk their lives daily in an effort to combat poaching and protect the rhino species from becoming extinct.
OZ’s specialist knowledge and skillset were utilised and imparted to the rangers and anti-poaching units, in order to out-smart the poachers and reduce the number of rhinos being killed senselessly for their horns. Often these rangers are out-manned and out-gunned by the poachers who are heavily armed with automatic weapons.
It was a devastating firsthand experience on the frontlines, that had a profound impact on OZ, who was raised by parents that loved wildlife and wildlife documentaries.
He put boots on the ground a few years later, when he was asked to be part of another specialist team to go to Tanzania, and get to the heart of the ivory trade. Working alongside government officials and departments, OZ discovered just how deep the smuggling ivory trade is threaded. This was also a filmed mini-docuseries called ‘Blood Ivory‘. Both series aired on Animal Planet.

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