I completed a Geography degree at the University of Exeter and a Masters in Environment and Development from King’s College London, but perhaps most importantly I have a lifelong love of travel, wildlife and the outdoors. In between time at a sustainability charity and marketing international education programmes, I carried out biological fieldwork in Costa Rica, backpacked from London to Istanbul (taking the scenic route via the Balkans and Eastern Europe), explored The Caucasus’ and helped set up a social enterprise for young conservationists.
Prior to university I spent time in northern Namibia volunteering at a rural school, which sparked an interest in the continent and all it has to offer. A few years later I was back, but this time with four wheels (and a couple of spares) to undertake a rather bumpy Land Rover expedition across Botswana and the Okavango delta. It was this journey that really ignited my passion for the Southern African bush, and I soon began plotting my next African adventure.
Luckily, the wait wouldn’t be too long; after a year or so back at work in central London, I made the decision to pack everything up and return to Africa. My husband and I purchased a 4x4 and spent a wonderful 6 months overlanding 32,000km from South Africa to Tanzania and back again, covering nine countries and visiting as many national parks en-route as possible.
All good things must come to an end, and although I was sad to leave the bush behind, I was ecstatic to start working for Expert Africa - I still get to talk about safaris all day! I am on the East Africa team here, and after spending the last two years mainly focussing on Tanzania, I am now also spending time exploring all that Kenya and Rwanda has to offer.
Jessica's most recent Africa trips
This was a really fantastic trip to Rwanda, I spent two weeks fully exploring all corners of what this incredibly beautiful country has to offer; from the tropical forests of Nyungwe, the shores of Lake Kivu, the plains of Akagera National Park, and of course Volcanoes National Park, home to the mountain gorillas. While the gorillas were the star of the show, there were many highlights on this trip. I loved watching the chimpanzees dance around in the trees, seeing the sun rise over Mt Bisoke, canoeing (in the rain!) on the Mukungwa River, hiking to the Isumo waterfall, spotting Akagera's re-introduced rhino, to browsing market stalls and watching an Intore dance.... Many people will fly into Rwanda for only just a few days to see the gorillas, but there really is so much on offer from wildlife, landscapes and culture, that it is without a doubt a destination in itself.
Another trip back to Tanzania - this time to Zanzibar and the Selous - a perfect beach and bush combination. First off however, was a visit to Pangani on Tanzania's mainland. Well off the beaten track, this stunning area of coast, offers a really relaxed beach experience! Then it was onto Zanzibar where I enjoyed getting lost in Stone Town's cobbled streets and soaking up the wonderful Zanzibari culture. I then visited a number of beach properties on the north and east coast, which made for a busy but interesting week. From here I then headed to Selous Game Reserve where we spent time enjoying a variety of activities - walking, boating and lots of birding. A dip in the Hot Springs near the end of the trip was a real highlight!
After focussing on Tanzania I was excited to finally visit neighbour Kenya. The trip exceeded my (high) expectations – it was excellent! After a short stay in Nairobi we spent a week in the Laikipia region. The highlight for me was certainly the variety of activities on offer. We went horse riding, walking, swimming, fishing and fly camping. The wildlife here is also good and I was excited to see my first gerenuk and grevy’s zebra. We then headed over to the Mara Conservancies for more conventional safari. We had some wonderful wildlife sightings including a family of lions with eight cubs, which we watched for a while playfully scrambling over each other.
Jessica's previous Africa research
|Country||Arrived||Length of stay||Areas visited|
|Tanzania||October 2018||7 nights||Ruaha National Park|
|Tanzania||October 2018||14 nights||Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti Migration Area|
|Tanzania||February 2018||13 nights||Arusha, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti Migration Area|