I will never forget my first experience of Africa. I was a pretty naive 20 year old and had decided to follow the advice of my great uncles who had emigrated to Zimbabwe in the 1940’s and go to see the Victoria Falls which they felt was something that should not be missed in life so off I went. That awesome experience was to come later. I first set foot in the African bush in South Africa and I can still see in my mind now (30 years later) my first glimpse of a giraffe as I drove into camp from the airstrip. It was a life changing moment as I could not believe that I was actually seeing for real and in the wild, such a magnificent creature.
What I love about being on safari is the pure connection with nature and wildlife. It is the smells of the bush, the space and the lack of people in the areas that we choose to send our clients. I always feel complete sense of calm and freedom when I arrive in the bush and go on my first game drive or walk. There is also the adrenaline rush when one comes across one of the cats – especially on foot!
Susie and I were inspired to set up cazenove + loyd because we wanted to share our love of Africa with the wider public and enable other people to share some of the experiences that we were lucky enough to have. It also gave us an excuse to talk about our favourite subject day-in day-out and go there ourselves regularly to source new product and experience the safaris our clients were to go on and still do almost 20 years later. Latin America and Asia and South East Asia, our other two divisions were formed by my other business partner Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell with the same ethos.
For a once in a lifetime safari I would highly recommend East Africa for its incredible diversity and range of wildlife and fantastic accommodation. It is a hard call as every country that we visit has fantastic selling points and subtle differences however for the sheer breadth and scale of an African landscape, nothing beats in my view the Rift Valley in Kenya or the sheer scale of the Serengeti Game reserve in Tanzania. There you have miles and miles of Africa, flat topped acacia trees which are synonymous with the African bush and either Mount Kenya or Kilimanjaro in the distance. There is a great diversity of lodges and camps to choose from and some inspirational guides with whom we work closely and who form the key to the success of the safari.