Meet the team

The Expert Team

We believe that to get the best from a trip to Africa, you need impartial advice from people who know Africa well, have actually been to the places where you are thinking of travelling and can advise you from first-hand experience – like our team!

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Richard Trillo


Richard Trillo - Kenya & Northern Tanzania specialist

Destination manager:
Kenya

Specialist countries:

KenyaTanzaniaZanzibar

My first trip to Africa was a hitchhiking adventure to Timbuktu, in 1977, with a student friend and $100 each. We reached the fabled city – having learned en route what a visa is, and what malaria feels like – and my connection with Africa was born.

In 1980, I set off again to hitchhike and cycle from London to Kenya, this time with my girlfriend - later my wife. Nearly a year later, freewheeling into the Rift Valley for the first time, I realised how strong my Africa connection had become.

Back in the UK, I spent two years doing a Master’s degree in ethnography, linguistics and Swahili at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University.

After working for the student travel company STA Travel, I took up an offer with the fledgling travel publisher, Rough Guides, to write the first practical guide to Kenya. Taking with me one of the earliest mountain bikes (this was 1985) I travelled the length and breadth of the country – from Turkana to Shimoni, from the Maasai Mara to Malindi and from Lamu to Lake Victoria. Rough Guides were already adding more comfortable and luxurious options to their backpacker hostels and tips on bus travel, and the Kenya book was no exception, including high-end safari camps and lodges and advice on internal flights as well as incorporating areas that can still only be explored on foot, by Land Rover – or on a sturdy mountain bike.

After the Rough Guide to Kenya was published in 1986, I joined the Rough Guides publishing team to edit guidebooks and then to look after marketing and PR. For many years I worked as Director of Communications, while continuing to write the Rough Guide to Kenya (the 11th edition was published in May 2016). I went on to travel all over Africa, researching and co-authoring many editions of Rough Guides to West Africa, The Gambia, First Time Africa, Madagascar and World Music.

After a stint as a freelance travel journalist, and aware of Expert Africa’s reputation among travellers, its commitment to responsible tourism and the fact that – at the time – it offered no trips to Kenya and happily explained why (“until members of our team have covered Kenya’s parks and coast inside out, we won’t be offering any Kenya safaris"), I saw a wide-open window of opportunity in 2012 and took a running jump right through it, joining Expert Africa to set up our Kenya programme.

As well as launching and running the Kenya programme, I have more recently done a number of trips to mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.

I live in remote suburbia with my wife, Teresa Driver, and our transient offspring. We go on safari as often as possible.

Do give me or one of my colleagues a call to discuss your plans - there's nothing we enjoy better than talking about our African travels and planning other people's!

Richard's most recent Africa trips

Sep-2018
12 nights
“I've travelled very widely across Africa from Mauritania to Madagascar, but I'd never previously visited Namibia. I love the desert (my first travel experience in Africa was a hitchhiking trip from London to Timbuktu in the late 1970s), so I was thrilled to have a chance to do this trip, driving through northern Namibia with my colleague Freddie. We flew via Johannesburg into Walvis Bay and then drove inland on spectacular gravel roads through the rolling landscapes of Northern Damaraland and on to Etosha National Park. As well as dramatic mesas and open vistas we had some spectacular wildlife encounters, including a leopard squaring off with a black rhino at a lodge waterhole.”
Jul-2018
14 nights
“This trip to Kenya was a little more ambitious than usual, as I was not only visiting some quite remote lodges in the north, but also doing the research to incorporate the Rift Valley into our coverage of Kenya. I made my first visit to Sarara and the new Sarara Treehouses, in the Mathews Range in northern Kenya, and managed to visit the outstanding Reteti elephant sanctuary – a local Samburu community initiative that is doing similar work to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage in Nairobi. I also visited a fabulous camp on the western side of the Mathews, Kitich Forest Camp, which we have long wanted to include in the Kenya programme. In the Rift Valley, I visited lakes Baringo, Bogoria, Nakuru, Elmenteita and Naivasha – tracking down those elusive flamingos – before moving on to the Maasai Mara and finally the coast.”
May-2017
15 nights
“This was a trip to parts of Laikipia and Samburu I hadn't been back to recently, as well as to some camps in the Mara that were either new – or new to me. I was travelling at a time when there were tensions in northwest Laikipia over grazing incursions into conservancies by Rift Valley herders and I was keen to assess the situation for myself. Happily, the rains had returned, the situation with the livestock herders had stabilised, and the wildlife was magnificent. Tracking black rhinos at Saruni Rhino was memorable and the whole trip a reminder of the richness of the Samburu and Mara ecosystems – and of Kenya's fantastic cultural dimension.”

Richard's guidebook work

Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia

Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia - 9th edition

Bradt Travel Guides

Major contributor

2017


I aimed to do a thorough overhaul of the sights and attractions of Stone Town in this new edition, as well as exploring several old sites in the rural hinterland of the town and writing up some worthwhile excursions.

Kenya

Kenya - 11th edition

Rough Guides

Author

2016


The 11th edition of the Rough Guide to Kenya incorporated many new discoveries from my own trips, as well as feedback from Expert Africa clients and Rough Guide readers.

Kenya

Kenya - 10th edition

Rough Guides

Author

2013


My 10th edition of the Rough Guide to Kenya was a major overhaul, with the guide now in full colour throughout. I added a great deal of new material from a series of trips before and after I joined Expert Africa.

Latest reviews from Richard's travellers

“Very impressed with Richard...the price was really excellent.”

Excellent

Kenya

13 Nov to 20 Nov 2018

“One of the most memorable experiences of my life. Kenya is magical.”

Excellent

Kenya

7 Nov to 26 Nov 2018

“A once in a lifetime trip...a truly spectacular time at Sasaab.”

Excellent

Kenya

4 Nov to 9 Nov 2018

“Overall experience: 6 star, 11/10 a holiday of a lifetime ”

Excellent

Kenya

28 Sep to 8 Oct 2018