As my first blog post for the website, I would just like to give a little bit of insight into how the company came into being.
In 2007 I was asked in a job interview in Cape Town what my 5 year plan was. At that stage it was quite rare for me to have even a week long plan, especially after working as an African overland guide for the previous 2 years, when even the best made plans seldom turned out as scheduled. I was very used to taking things as they came, and adapting to the situation at hand.
However, the question was posed, and I had to answer it. Giving it some decent thought I answered what honestly came into my head at the time, "In 5 years time I would like to be living in Australia running my own business promoting Africa to Australian tourists."
At the time of that interview I had spent the previous 12 months in the first year of what turned out to be a 3 year long distance relationship with Courtnay, an Australian girl who had been on one of my Johannesburg - Cape Town tours. (Yes, that is against the rules, and not listed in the inclusions of any safaris we arrange.) The relationship didn't end after 3 years, but the long distance part of it did. We are now married, and living in Sydney.
Although our relationship was developing by that interview in 2007, there were not actually any decisions which had been made about my moving to Aus, however that was the answer I gave, and what felt like the right 5 year plan at the time.
Amazingly, I actually never really thought much about that interview again, until quite recently I was looking back on my career in the African safari industry, and suddenly realised that my 5 year plan answer was given 4 and a half years ago. It is really amazing how things work out.
For those 4 and a half years I have continued my learning journey through the industry, travelling to numerous African countries, working intensely as an East African specialist consultant, hitting the streets of Sydney as a sales rep for an African wholesaler here, and running the Australian office for another South African based online company.
Taking the experience from all of my roles, from the early days of driving a truck and Land Rover through most of Southern Africa, to staying in luxury camps throughout Kenya and Tanzania, to arranging trips all over Southern and East Africa for literally hundreds of travellers, and with the help of friends and family, I have now started the business that I dreamt of those many years ago.
I would like to use this forum to publicly thank a number of people for their help in getting African Ubuntu Safaris off the ground. My parents, Gerald and Louise have put in a huge amount of work in helping to get the content completed for numerous pages of this website. From accommodation descriptions to proof reading of the destination pages, and advice on many aspects, you guys have been a huge help, thank you so much.
Courtnay's folks, Margaret and Michael, thank you for your generosity and support over in Aus, and for helping get my first booking confirmed! You and your friends are going to be blown away by your first African holiday!
And of course, Courtnay. Without you having the adventurous spirit which led you onto a camping safari through South Africa, none of this would be happening. Plus your continuous support, putting up with my grumpiness after late nights behind the computer, while tirelessly helping with content and administration for the site. You are incredible.
To all of the operators in Africa who have been so accommodating and supportive from the very start; Asilia Africa, Wilderness Safaris, Rangers and Pollmans, African Bush Camps, Primate Safaris, Thompsons Tours, Under One Botswana Sky, Ventures into Africa, Great Plains Conservation, Governor's Camps, I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with you all, and hope to provide you with lots of Australian visitors to look after!
And to any travellers who have actually read this far, I would love to share my experience of Africa with you, and like Courtnay did, perhaps you will find your African holiday truly life changing!