Julian's first trip to Africa as a schoolboy was rudely terminated when his mum refused to sign the permission form on the grounds that he was going to catch a heinous disease and die. Despite this less than promising beginning the call of Africa could not be denied, and he is now a frequent traveller to the continent.
Julian cut his travel-planning teeth in the offices of Let's Go Travel, publishers of the Let's Go travel guides, and is certified as a South African Fundi (expert). Photography is one of Julian's passions when on safari and he will go to great lengths in the name of the perfect shot, including being duct-taped into a doorless helicopter over the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The risks have paid off and he has won awards for his photography, with exhibitions in Europe and the United States including the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He also serves on the boards of a number of Africa-focused charities and was a founding board member of Teach With Africa. Julian has made it his personal mission to introduce as many camps as possible to his sundowner of choice: hot chocolate and Amarula, and remains resolutely free of heinous diseases.
Kate Bergh is co-owner of Cedarberg Africa and heads up the South African office after moving there in 1993. Bright as a button, Kate read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford and worked in Management Consultancy and International Marketing before taking an MBA at Insead, France. Kate has always been passionate about Africa; her most memorable travel experience is a toss up between standing on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and sleeping out on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana.
Tired of the constraints of 'big company' travel Ingram founded To Escape To in 2003 to work at the forefront of innovative travel to Africa. Following his passion for Africa he left London on a 2 month 'site inspection' across the continent finally arriving in Cape Town never to leave again. Engaged in Seychelles, married in Durban, honeymooned in Malawi and now raising a family in Cape Town Ingram really does live his love for Africa. A firm believer that there is more to a safari than a 4x4 Ingram is always on the lookout for new ways to experience the wildlife, scenery and people of Africa.
Be it trail running through the Lesotho Mountains, sailing between Mozambican Islands or hitching a lift on a camel in Kenya getting off the beaten track and leaving behind the tourist crowds is always the main objective. "There is no bigger luxury in the Africa than to watch a mother nurture her young in the wild or share the shade of a tree in the midday sun with a local in complete isolation from the modern world".
Born in Sweden to a Swedish father and English mother, Sussi Galley wasn’t introduced to Africa until 1989, when she visited Zimbabwe on a business trip. Her work obligations met, she embarked on a three night canoe safari on the mighty Zambezi River. And with it, the notion of returning to Scandinavia was swept away downstream, along with her heart. She discovered a new passion that is Africa.
After ten years of running Livingstone Safaris in her beloved Zimbabwe, she moved to Cape Town with her family in 2000. Her passion for travel now encompassed South Africa and so her expertise expanded. Beneath the shadow of Table Mountain, Sussi continues to do what she was born to do - planning bespoke trips of distinction to Africa. Sussi stays ahead of the curve by travelling extensively within Africa and abroad to ensure her finger remains on the pulse of our vibrant industry.
Caroline Grayburn began her safari career in Zambia and Malawi, followed by South Africa working with horse safaris. More recently she spent five years working in Botswana and then Kenya. She has a great love and understanding of Africa and since returning to the UK she has visited many other African countries, some a number of times, including Mali, Morocco, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Botswana.
Biography to follow...
At the age of 17, when going on a family holiday was seen to be totally 'uncool', Sarah was literally dragged to Africa. It was an experience that changed the direction of her life. On graduating from tourism college she winged her way back to Africa and spent 6 months traversing the continent. When the money ran out she returned to Australia to harass every adventure specialist travel agency until she was finally offered a position with The Classic Safari Company (then Hartley's Safaris & The Africa Travel Centre) in 1992. Twenty extraordinary years later Sarah is a co-director of The Classic Safari Company and has gallivanted across all seven continents. With a remarkable portfolio of adventures under her belt Sarah's passion is to create memorable and life changing experiences.
Sarah James spent many of her childhood holidays in South Africa, thanks to her mother's South African ancestry. Her passion for the continent was further fuelled while working for a year in northern Tanzania, followed by further years working in safari camps in both Zimbabwe and Botswana. She started working for Tim Best Travel in 2001, which then joined forces with Original Travel in 2009, with Sarah taking up the role of Head of Africa. In 2011, Sarah organised a particularly high profile honeymoon to the Seychelles. More recently, Sarah moved to Franschhoek where she continued to work for Original Travel. Her Africa and Indian Ocean travels have taken her to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Mauritius and Madagascar. In Decemebr of 2013 Sarah launched her own company - Sarah James Travel.
Having organized and accompanied a sort of 'fun rally' in 1984 in South Africa which was filmed for German TV, Gabi realised this was was where her future lay. Gabi swiftly moved to run the company's South African office and immersed herself in all the continent had to offer. Finally returning to her native country, Germany, Gabi founded Jacana Tours and has never looked back; 'to be honest: us tour operators are very spoilt, as we can enjoy the most beautiful places in the world and still call it work!'.
Born in India, Nicola was raised in Kenya and South Africa, spending most of her time on safari with her family where she developed a deep love and understanding of the bush. She then worked for a company in Botswana, managing camps in the Okavango Delta as well as in Namibia on the Caprivi Strip. She has a degree in nature conservation and has diplomas in viniculture and viticulture. Before departing South Africa, she took her pilots licence and she spends three months of each year in Africa, travelling with her own family and on her own, testing the finest places for family safaris and regions which are entirely off the beaten track where she can spend time bird watching and star gazing! Nicola also rides and rigorously tests out trusty steeds on riding safaris wherever possible!
Biography to follow...
After finishing his Masters' degree in business economics at Amsterdam University, Joost taught marketing before embarking on his first round-the-world trip that brought him to Asia and Australia. Returning home even a marketing job at KLM could not pin him down and after topping up his travel budgets again he set out to Africa more than 25 years ago, on a 13-month discovery of what was going to change his career and life. First visiting Egypt and the Sudan. For many people, these countries do not typify Africa, but they are the source of Joost's profound love for the continent. From here he entered 'safari-Africa' and was 'sold'. The people, the lively towns and markets, the sights and sounds and, most of all, the smells â€“ these are infused throughout his being.
And then, of course, there is the wildlife. His first experiences in the (Kenyan) bush were not the most memorable ones, due to the mass tourism he encountered on his first safaris. Luckily never old enough to change ways, Joost then discovered 'the other side of safari' further south in Zimbabwe. Expanding his daily travel budget by 1200%, Joost made the best investment of his life by booking a 4 day safari into Mana Pools NP where the old master Jeff Stutchbury ran Chikwenya Lodge. Combining canoeing on the Zambezi with discovering the rich bush life on foot sparked a much deeper interest in the bush. Unluckily foreigners could not become Professional Guides in Zim, so Joost resorted to a converted Landrover that became home and safari vehicle for the next 6 months and the bush never left him again.
Brought up the National Parks of Zambia, Giles has led safaris from the age of 18. He worked for 10 years in geological exploration, before returning to Zambia to run Norman Car Safaris and then setting up his own walking and mobile safari operation in the North Luangwa National Park. Giles marred and returned to the UK in 1996 to set up Scott Dunn World, a luxury specialist tour operator. Giles has travelled the length and breadth of Africa and much of Asia. He now continues to run the tailormade holidays at Scott Dunn and lives near Winchester with his wife and three children.
Born in Kenya, Sandy was initiated into tourism by her father who was in the industry. Travelling a great deal as a child, Sandy was inevitably bitten by the travel bug and was convinced that she could make a living out of it. Her first job in the industry was as a tour guide in Kenya and Tanzania, before moving on to running hotels and lodges in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and SA. After a spell living in Europe Sandy moved to South Africa, setting up Pulse Africa from her spare room in Johannesburg nearly 25 years ago.
Albee Yeend's intense love of Africa was ignited on her first trip: a 5 day canoeing expedition down the Lower Zambezi and an elephant-back safari through the flood plains in the Okavango Delta. Bitten by the Africa bug, Albee managed Jack's & San Camp in Botswana and Tongabezi & Sausage Tree Camp in Zambia before returning to manage the Africa department of Steppes Travel for thirteen years. This was followed by setting up the Africa department at Red Savannah for 4 1/2 years, before moving to The Explorations Company.
Albee spends approximately two months of every year in Africa and is recognised for her pioneering exploration of new safari destinations as part of her role managing the Africa and Indian Islands department for The Explorations Company. Albee brings her operational experience and broad experience of all types of safari lodges and camps to the judging team.