Dereck and Beverly JoubertCo-founders and CEO (Dereck)
Dereck and Beverly Joubert are world-renowned filmmakers and conservationists who have worked in Africa's most remote and extraordinary wildlife strongholds for over 25 years. As five time Emmy-award winning filmmakers, their documentaries including Eye of the Leopard and Eternal Enemies have been watched by billions of people around the world. Further, their books and numerous magazine articles send news of Africa to international readers in over 150 countries. They are honoured to be appointed as National Geographic Society “Explorers in Residence”.
Their work and passions can be shared at: www.wildlifeconservationfilms.com
Dorian HoyManaging Director, Great Plains Conservation Botswana
Originally from the UK, Dorian spent most of his schooling days in South Africa. Tertiary studies took Dorian back to UK where he completed three years at Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester before heading to Australia to work for a year as a Jackaroo on the cattle stations. Mala Mala Game Reserve was next for a two-year stint as ranger and manager was his first foray into the hospitality environment. Over the next decade or so Dorian ran a horse safari outfit in South Africa's first World Heritage Site, Isimangaliso Wetland Park, then went to the UAE where he was involved with opening and guide training of an eco-tourism lodge outside Dubai. He subsequently spent several years working for Abu Dhabi's royal family doing wildlife management and project management in Abu Dhabi and Morocco. Dorian's desire was always to return to the real Africa and had no hesitation in taking up the position of Regional Managing Director of Great Plains, Botswana in 2008. With Dorian at the helm of the Botswana operations Great Plains has increased their Botswana portfolio to include the epic Selinda Canoe Trail in 2009, the purchase of Duba Plains Camp and concession in 2011 and Explorer’s Camp in 2012. During his tenure Great Plains has won numerous awards, the most recent being Best Lodge in Africa and recognition for Best Ecological Lodge. Zarafa was awarded membership to Relais & Chateaux in 2012. Dorian’s spare time is dedicated to his family, married to Ros they have two young boys, Sam and Thomas. The boys have an enviable upbringing between home life on the Thamalakane River and trips to the bush with Dad. Somewhere between work life and family life there is time to spend long uncomfortable hours in the saddle of his mountain bike.
David StogdaleManaging Director, Great Plains Conservation Kenya
Since moving to Kenya to manage a small hotel beside the Indian Ocean in 1972, David Stogdale has built a reputation as one of the principal drivers and advisors of East Africa's vibrant safari industry. During three decades at the helm of Block Hotels, Conservation Corporation and Heritage Hotels, David personally oversaw the management and development of more than 20 of the region’s finest five-star hotels and luxury safari properties. More recently, as an influential PR consultant and brand strategist, David has overseen the development of two major golf resorts, new coast andcity hotels, and in 2013, the fêted relaunch of Great Plains’ exquisite Mara Plains Camp. He is also in charge of operating and developing Great Plains’ celebrated Kenya portfolio, including Ol Donyo Lodge, Mara Toto.
As chairman of the Kenya Golf Marketing Alliance and director of the Kenya Tourist Board, David regularly represents Kenya at major travel events, where his personal charm, passionate crusading, and peerless contacts have made him something of a celebrity in safari circles.David is married to Nicola, a third-generation Kenyan, and the couple have three children – including eldest son, Sam, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, has carved a niche as one of Kenya’s finest safari guides.
Hilton WalkerDirector of Sales & Marketing (Great Plains group) and South Africa Sales & Marketing
Based in South Africa, Hilton started his career in tourism nearly 20 years ago as a member of the inbound sales team at Wilderness Safaris. His role there expanded to co-managing international sales, including numerous trips to key markets. In 2006, he stared his own inbound tour operation called Africa Beckons. In this role, he dealt directly with both traveler and trade and led the industry in using carbon credits to offset travel. After selling Africa Beckons in 2008, he acted as a consultant to other inbound tour operators before joining Great Plains Conservation in the role of Group Sales & Marketing Director.
Caitlin CarterNorth America Sales & Marketing Manager
Based in the USA, Caitlin Carter’s career in the safari industry started 15 years ago. She has had top leadership roles as Africa Program Director in a variety of top US outbound tour operators including Mountain Travel Sobek and Natural Habitat Adventures. She later moved to Botswana and completed her MSc from University of Natal (Pietermartizburg) focused on Community Tourism in NG 22/23 while also working in camp management. This academic background took her to the international NGO Conservation International where she consulted in ecotourism development in the emerging destinations of Madagascar and Cambodia. She then joined Great Plains Conservation as the North America Sales & Marketing Director, bringing with her diverse perspective and in-depth experience at all levels of safari tourism. Caitlin lives in a log house in the Seattle area, where she, her husband Phill, young daughter Saskia and fearless dog Zulu spend their time gardening, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing and wildlife-viewing from their back deck!
Alex WaltersUnited Kingdom and Europe Sales & Marketing Manager
Son of a cinematographer, grandson and nephew of journalists, brother to both a camera-woman-sister and a wannabe-Tarantino-brother, it could be said of Alex that “he’s got media in his blood”. So he chose a career in tourism. Alex’s first experience of Africa was in 1993 when he spent two months in Zimbabwe studying termite mounds for his BSc. Geography degree. He has travelled to Africa ever since, hooked by the smell of sandy and red-earth soils, the space, wildlife and diversity of the continent. Alex’s experience hails from both a tour operating perspective and a sales and marketing perspective. Fifteen years of working for various tour operators in both a sales and product development in the luxury sector equips him with unique insights of tour operators. So many times over these 15 years he had seen dreary, boring presentations from sales representatives, so when asked to market Great Plains Conservation in 2010 he vowed never to be that boring sales rep! He loves nothing better than meeting people at trade shows and face-to-face in offices. Short of living in Botswana he’s settled in the second flattest place he knows, the east of England, where he lives happily in his married contentment with two beautiful daughters.
Herbie RosenbergAustralia Sales & Marketing Manager
Herbie moved to Australia from South Africa three years ago, and is based in Melbourne and represents a prestigious selection of African products through his representation company, Africareps. The companies he markets and represents are: Great Plains Conservation, Londolozi Game Reserve, The Legacy Hotels Group, The Blue Train, Wilderness Safaris & Wilderness Air. Herbie has had over 30 years experience in the African travel industry, first as marketing director of Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park region of South Africa and thereafter as a director of Africapass, a South African inbound tour operation. He has travelled extensively around the world, but more importantly has personally visited many of the countries mentioned above as well as stayed at the majority of the over 100 game reserves, lodges, camps and hotels in his portfolio. He holds one of the long-standing Indaba records; he’s attended over 30! He is a doting grandfather, too.
Pete and Sharon UnwinSelinda and Duba Plains Concession Managers
Pete and Sharon hail from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was ten years ago when he and his (now) wife, Sharon moved north from South Africa to Botswana looking for adventure and great wilderness. They settled in well, spending a number of years with Wilderness Safaris before eventually joining Great Plains in 2008. Their experience in field operations is unrivaled. Based on Selinda Reserve, the duo found the perfect place – they relish the surprises and unique situations they face - sometimes they are caught in the kitchen clothed in pajamas while a honey badger causes complete chaos while other days they are repairing tents that an ornery elephant has bashed through. Then, after hard work each day, they canoe the Selinda Spillway as the sun sets (even if it is chasing unmanned boats – you can ask colleagues Dave & Alice Murray about that!). They believe there is nothing better for their souls, minds and bodies than when sitting on their verandah, enjoying a hard-earned cool drink while wild dogs dash by or an elephant grazes quietly or leopards drink from the birdbath. This is their paradise and also where they call home. It’s all in a day’s work and they wouldn’t trade it for anything!
Koketso “Koki” MookodiBotswana Community Liaison Officer
Born and raised in Gaborone into an outdoor loving family, Koki moved to the Okavango Delta, shortly after completing a year of national service within the Wildlife Department in Francistown. Her experience working with the men and women of the Department of Wildlife sparked a passion that shaped her future. When the time was right, Koki set off into the “wilderness” where she started her career as lodge manager in a number of safari camps in and around the Okavango Delta. During her time in lodge management, she realised that she had found more than her passion, but also a strong desire to give back to communities that surround the majestic wildlife areas in which she works and loves. After three years as a lodge manager, Koki spent the next four studying for a degree in Tourism Management. Upon the completion of her studies, she returned to the enchanting Okavango, where she added to her experience to the safari industry by working in an operations position for two years. Her passion for the region and its people was realised when she joined the Great Plains Team, as the Conservation Company’s Community Liaison Officer, working with the communities that lie close to those areas in with Great Plains conservation operates. Koki and the outreach team have been responsible for the introduction of National Geographic’s’ Big Cat Initiative and our very own “Caring about communities that care about Big Cats”. Koki is also a HIV Peer educator within the organisation. The future for Koki involves continuing on her crusade to empower those who lack the tools to do so themselves.
Connie MathangaBotswana Reservations Consultant
Connie’s experience in the travel tourism industry started nearly 10 years ago. After starting as the head receptionist at Chobe Marina Lodge, her capabilities were immediately obvious and she was sent to Disney World (USA) as an understudy. After a year there, she returned as Front Office Manager for Chobe Marina Lodge. There, she further honed her skills in everything from guest services to auditing. She joined Great Plains Conservation with this extensive experience and has been Reservations Manager since 2008. In this role, she manages all Botswana reservations, assists in marketing, attends Indaba and liaises directly with oversees guests. She is presently studying for her diploma in Business Management.
Lydia KamageloBotswana Reservations Consultant
Lydia originates from a village called Bobonong (Eastern part of Botswana- Tuli Block Area). Growing up among siblings in the tourism industry exposed Lydia to wonderful opportunities, and an inate love of the sector. Each school holiday she would visit her sister who was a waitress in Maun. She then told herself that when she finished her National Service (Tirelo Setshaba), she’d seek out a career in tourism. She then went to Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) to complete her Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management from Speciss College and returned to Maun to join Crocodile Camp Safaris as a Receptionist/Reservationist just over two years. Her career then took a huge leap when she joined Wilderness Safaris for 10 years, starting as receptionist, moving to Meet and Greet, Travel Shop Consultant (Sales and Marketing Department) which involved Reservations for all local booking (Botswana Market only) and attending Trade Shows/Exhibitions (locally). Finally, she spent nearly seven years in Guests Relation Consultant, which involved extensive work with head office. After these 12 years in the industry, she joins Great Plains Conservation to provide invaluable support to our reservations team.
Pierre Van Zyle and Antoinette OosthuizenDuba Plains Executive Chef & Camp Manager
After arriving in Duba in 2012, deep in the heart of the Okavango Delta, it is safe to say that these two have never had a dull moment. Each night, a lion’s roar lulls (??) them to sleep and it seems like every morning they are chasing a baboon or elephant from the kitchen (yes, they have had an elephant stick its trunk into the kitchen!) They’ve also had lions steal the lounge cushions and buffalo block our way to the office. They assure you this is no ordinary camp. Besides defending the homestead, they are both passionate about food and people. The most enjoyable bit about living and working at Duba Plains is meeting new guests and saying goodbye to them as friends. They look forward to spoiling you soon!
Keoagetse ``OT`` OtlwaetseDuba Plains Camp Manager
Having grown up in Mabeleapodi village in central Botswana, OT had never previously experienced what would be referred to as big wildlife (elephants, buffalos and lions). He grew up going to and working in the fields where a young boy’s initiation was to look after cattle and goats. As a herd boy he was expected to protect the prized herd from predators like wild dogs and hyenas. He was taught that all predators are a menace and they must never come near the kraal. Once he entered high school it was time to soon decide on a career. As luck would have it, he went to Chobe District to visit his schoolteacher sister. It was there that his perspective on wildlife was changed. She took him out into the bush, and since then his interest in wildlife grew dramatically. Later, he took a Travel and Tourism Management course in South Africa and secured his first job in the bush. Now, the common question he is asked by guests while enjoying the post dinner fire is: “what do you have under that head wrap?” You’ll have to visit Duba Plains to find out!
Lizzy BayaneSelinda Camp Manager
Hailing from the city, Lizzy started her work in hospitlatiy in hotels and casinos. She then changed from the urban life to the bush life in hopes of imparting the general knowledge of Botswana history, culture and values with an international clientele and hopes to make a difference in conservation by impacting people’s lives. She has been a watiress, chef, tracker and with this acquired the knowledge and experience as well as her maverick character, she earned her role in management. She has worked at some of norhtner Botsnwana’s most esteemed properties and takes great pride in knowing that her services and expertise added value to bolstering the reputation of her country. As manager of Selinda Camp, her mission is to earn Selinda Camp the designation of #1 destination in the world. She is confidnetn this is feasible, with love and commitment. Her determination earned her positoin in upper managemtn, one of the few local managers in Botswana, and she is proud to manage one of few, untouched and pristine places left in the world.
Lebelelang ``Maggie`` TshibaSelinda Camp Manager
Maggie grew up near Nxai Pan National Park, and says that she never wants to live in an area without animals. She is nearly part of the furniture at Selinda camp, where she has been since 2003. Her constant smile and passion for sharing her country’s history with guests makes her a crowd favorite. That, and her dancing….
Her favorite story is when the wild dogs chased an impala through camp. The impala was trying to hide under one of the lunch tables in the main area and Maggie was stuck on top of the table until the chase was over!
Banaki Charity MathumoSelinda Camp Manager
After 15 years in the safari industry, Banaki retains her fun and energetic ways. She chose to work in the bush because she is a lover of nature, and enjoys meeting people from all over the world and learning about new cultures. She considers herself an ambassador for her beloved country Botswana, and she also enjoys travelling.
Markus Levin and Marijan LetschertZarafa Camp Managers
Collectively known as M&M, the two are now accustomed to their bush names of ``Captain Markus & Mapula``. ``Some opportunities only come once, seize them!`` is what they thought when they heard about Zarafa Camp. Partly, because they love providing guests with the ultimate combination of an unforgettable outdoor experience and top-notch hospitality, but also because they would get away with wearing safari hats and growing a pony-tail (the later would be Markus). Their motto over day, which they share with the Zarafa Camp team, is “live your dream and share your passion``. A few of their favorite animals, which they feel should enjoy wider appreciation, are: Go-away birds (with that happy call, who needs Fish Eagles?), warthogs (only 'The Lion King' ever did them justice) and giraffes (because of their slow-motion like run).
Katherine MiltonZarafa Camp Executive Chef
Katherine comes from a city life where cars and noise were the norm, but now she lives and works in a place where it’s been replaced by the giggles of the francolin. What a blessing! Her dream was to feed the nations and that is what she does. She has been stirring pots for 12 years and there has never been a day that she hasn’t enjoyed. After arriving in Botswana in 2012, she’s loved every minute. The best thing about camp is the energy of all the guests - it’s infectious and makes it easy to share and create good, healthy meals for such a jolly audience. Her favourite thing in the camp is hearing the Honey badger’s footsteps around the kitchen, and watching its many attempts at entry.
Lucy FreemantleMara Toto Camp Manager
From the age of ten, Lucy has always known she wanted to be in Africa. It runs deep in her family. With a mother who once lived in Kenya and family who are farmers in Zimbabwe, she’s been hearing tales of Africa as long as she can remember. An academic background in agriculture from University of Edinburgh would have set her up just right with the plough, but it was a love of the culinary arts, which struck her career fancy. She’s worked as a freelance cook all over the UK, Europe and Australia including as chef for the American Consul General in Western Australia, head chef and event manager for the leading outside catering company in Edinburgh as well as cooking for many private families. She then left to manage a tented camp in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe and loved being on African soil. Eventually, though, she retuned to the UK for a five-year stint in London as a recruitment consultant placing and training high end domestic staff in the UK and all over the world. But Africa called her back, and she returned, heading to Kenya this time and joining us at Mara Toto Camp. Bringing her love of health, fitness and her talents in events and the culinary arts, she enjoys sharing her passions of natural foods and lifestyle and wellness with staff and guests alike. In her spare time, she is a fitness coach for Wildfitness in Watamu, Kenya, Spain and the Isle of Wight.
Ray and Alysssa Wyattol Donyo Lodge Managers
Ray grew up in a small fishing town on the South Coast of England. He knew at a very young age that he wanted to be a chef. By 15, Ray was already at Culinary and Hospitality school, and by 17 he’d begun working as a chef just outside of London. Using his career as an opportunity to travel he moved to Denmark and spent 6 years working his way to sous-chef at one of the top hotel restaurants in the country. Travel has always been a huge part of Ray’s life and the accomplishment of backpacking around the world twice left an inedible impression on him personally, and on his culinary practice. During one of his many trips, while working in Australia, Ray met his wife Alyssa. Soon enough, he found himself living in the US, Alyssa’s homeland, and stayed for 10 years. During this American stint, Ray worked as an executive chef, a hospitality and culinary instructor and even started a fine dining company with Alyssa.
While Ray’s successful career thrived in Alyssa’s hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota; Alyssa guided her career toward her number one passion of travel and tourism. Working as Business Development Manager for one of the largest provider of vacations in the US, she educated Travel Agents across the country on destinations all over the world. Come the spring of 2010, Ray and Alyssa’s feet were getting itchy, and feeling they had reached the height of their existing positions, they sought a new challenge. There was no better time to set off in a 1971 Volkswagen van with the license plate “DRM MKR”. And they have never looked back. In the beginning of 2011 Ray and Alyssa took on a five-month consulting position in Tanzania. This ignited their love of East Africa - its people, beauty and culture – and developed into a pursuit to make it their home. And so they landed at “home” with us at ol Donyo Lodge in the captivating Chyulu Hills of Kenya. Meanwhile, Diva (1971 Volkswagen) is enjoying a well-earned rest at home in England.
Annie Watererol Donyo Lodge Equestrian Manager
Although Annie grew up on the east coast of England, there was a distinctly Kenyan theme – horseback safaris into the local forest as a child were commonplace and a man wearing a kikoy and safari boots was totally normal! These Kenyan roots are down to her mother and father having been born and brought up in Kenya, only moving to the UK in their early twenties.
Before university Annie travelled extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand, working for her food and a bed by training horses and herding cattle! A keen interest in her environment and its amazing connections and fine details led to her studying Biology at Bristol. Having only ever visited Kenya for regular holidays to see her Grandparents, once Annie had finished her degree she thought it was high time that she experienced what she had grown up hearing about.
Horses have always been a huge part of Annie’s life, having evented throughout her teens and played Polocrosse at an International level up until 2012, so it seemed natural to step into horse safaris in Kenya. It is the perfect combination of two of her passions in life: horses and the amazing African flora, fauna and landscape. After months spent galloping around the Maasai Mara, Annie arrived in the Chyulu Hills and has completely fallen in love with the area, the people and the fantastic ol Donyo horses; very much making it her home.