I first travelled to Africa in 2009, initially to Zambia with my family, before joining a school rugby tour in South Africa. On this trip I enjoyed many uniquely African experiences including whitewater rafting on the Zambezi below the Victoria Falls, having lunch on Livingstone Island, climbing Table Mountain and visiting Robben Island.
On this trip I was bitten by the travel bug and, whilst I have travelled to many destinations since Africa remains special. The combination of wilderness, adventure and wildlife ensures that I keep returning. In 2011 I visited Kenya on another family safari to Laikipia and the Masai Mara. I enjoyed my time in the Mara so much that two weeks later I was back on a plane to work at Cottar’s 1920’s Safari Camp for a month.
Whilst at university studying physics I became involved in an independent project to raise money and build a school in the Chikolongo region of Malawi. I was lucky enough to visit the school in 2012 and continue to be involved in the project. After graduation, I spent six months in the French Alps on a Ski season followed by an extensive two-month self-drive trip around southern Africa in a beaten-up old Land Rover.
Following these travels, I spent a year working on special effects in the film industry before the itch for Africa persuaded me to move to the travel industry and Expert Africa in 2015. Since joining I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our Namibia programme and I continue to travel extensively - both with work and independently.
Tom's most recent Africa trips
Having worked on the 5th edition of the Bradt Botswana Safari Guide it was wonderful to get back out to Botswana and explore the Delta in more detail. Despite visiting at the height of a severe drought we were incredibly lucky on the trip with lots of cats, plenty of wild dog and several firsts. Personal highlights included a scenic helicopter flight transfer between camps, aardwolf & spotted hyena cubs and thunderstorms as the rains arrived.
Given the opportunity I often take personal holidays to Africa and when the chance to visit some of the most remote areas of Namibia presented itself my partner and I jumped at the chance. Highlights of this trip included quadibiking in the martian landscapes around Serra Cafema, waking up in the surreal eerie fog of the Skeleton Coast at Shipwreck Lodge and spending the day wit the Save the Rhino Trust tacking black rhino in Damaraland from Desert Rhino Camp.
Returning to Zimbabwe was a real treat, especially on a fly in safari. Mana pools is one of the original safari destinations which is quickly being 'rediscovered' by the safari industry as the political situation in Zimbabwe continues to improve. It was a real privilege to enjoy this unique park before it becomes really busy. Approaching wildlife on foot and canoeing down the mighty Zambezi were real highlights and contrasted wonderfully with water based activities on Lake Kariba to end the trip.
Tom's previous Africa research
|Country||Arrived||Length of stay||Areas visited|
|Namibia||September 2018||9 nights||Windhoek, Central Highlands, Etosha National Park|
|Namibia||April 2018||14 nights||Southern Namibia, Fish River Canyon, Luderitz, Windhoek|
|Zimbabwe||November 2017||14 nights||Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park|
|Botswana||September 2017||9 nights||Maun, Okavango Delta Safari Reserves|
|Botswana||May 2017||7 nights||Maun, Kalahari's Salt Pans, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, North-west Kalahari & Panhandle|
|Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe||November 2016||28 nights||Windhoek, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Okonjima Nature Reserve, Caprivi Strip, North-west Kalahari & Panhandle, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls|
|Namibia||May 2016||13 nights||Windhoek, Swakopmund & Walvis Bay, Namib-Naukluft National Park, NamibRand Nature Reserve|
For this book I spent a couple of weeks researching the Southern Kalahari and Fish River Canyon, Lüderitz and the Southwest and sections of The Central Corridor chapters. I really enjoyed returning to these often remote and picturesque areas.
For this book I spent four weeks in country on two different trips to help research and update the planning and preparation, Maun, Okavango Delta - Private reserves, Okavango Panhandle, Kalahari's Salt Pans and Central Kalahari chapters.