BSC (HONS) DEGREE IN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT (From the Royal Agricultural College in England).
Over 30 years experience, guided my first horse safari across the Masai Mara in Kenya when I was 18 years old.
I have guided both riding and wildlife safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Rwanda, D.R. Congo, Central African Republic, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Iran and Argentina.
My father pioneered the concept of riding horses in big game country back in 1971.
WHY AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A SAFARI GUIDE?
I was born 'into' safari. From my earliest memories as a child I have been on safari with my father. Every holiday from boarding school was spent in the bush with the horses and on wildlife safaris.
Everything about the wilderness captivated me. The wildlife, the birdlife, the indigenous tribal people, the incredible variety of scenery, the vastness and freedom of being in raw pristine Africa. I loved it all so I was destined to be a horse safari guide.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD HORSE SAFARI GUIDE?
Passion. Knowledge. Never stop learning. Spending as much time as possible with the nomadic tribesman. Learning from their culture, their wisdom. All this is the easy part.
The greatest skill of all, comes from those who enjoy being with people, your guests, understanding and managing their expectations, sharing your passion of safari. On a riding safari, then you thrown in the mix of being on a horse in country full of game.
Reading a situation, understanding the instincts of wildlife, keeping your guests safe, but giving them the adventure they are seeking. Being a horse safari guide is never a job, it's in your blood.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT AS A GUIDE?
It never rains in February, I said! One afternoon the heavens opened whilst on a long days ride with the horses. Every stream and river flooded which we then had to swim across.
Even the hippo had left the water courses. We were soaked through. We finally made it to the new camp where not a single tent was in sight! All the trucks were stuck in the bush somewhere.
I was saved by a bottle of whiskey which we all shared, consumed and danced around the fire until late in the night the trucks finally arrived.
I love them all, each and every one of the plethora of wildlife that we encounter on safari.
Baboons for their tomfoolery, a tower of giraffe majestically moving across the vast open plains, the arrogance of the old bull buffalo, the elusive and seductive 'chui' (leopard), warthogs always ever so busy and off to a meeting somewhere with someone, hundreds and thousands of gnu marching across the Mara, lazy hippo and their endless siestas, the king of them all the mighty back maned lion and never ever forgetting elephant whom we all can watch and ponder for days on end.
Finally, the honey-badger … well he's everything in one and more!
MOST MEMORABLE SIGHTING?
On every horse safari there is always a spectacular wildlife experience. Of my most recent was seeing a 'cat-trick' (three big cats; lion, leopard and cheetah) all from the saddle in one morning, culmination with a lioness killing a warthog almost in camp.
MOST INTERESTING ANIMAL BEHAVIOR?
Having spent so much time in the saddle riding across the Masai Mara, fascinating wildlife behavior becomes part of the experience.
A cow elephant lifting her infant calf from certain death in a deep mud hole, a female jackal hounding a huge python whom was constricting the male partner, a hippo whom appeared to be keeping a crocodile at bay whilst hundred of wildebeest were crossing the Mara River, a bushbuck whom ran into camp and onto the horse picket line to evade the jaws of a pack of wild dog and finally the bravery of my horses whom have to face-off fast approaching lion and elephant.
FAVOURITE CAMPFIRE STORY?
Oh there are many, some best saved for the campfire.
Leaping behind an acacia tree from a charging buffalo, tickled by a hippo whilst swimming a river, man eating lions in the old days, a guest who sank into the thunder-box, chased up a tree by a scratchy elephant whilst having a picnic, knocked out of a dug-out canoe by a hippo, naked guests covered in safari ants and so it goes on...