I have been jetting off around the world for as long as I can remember. With a Kenyan father, a Scottish mother, Indian grandparents, Brazilian ancestors, and a Portuguese surname, I can proudly say I am a little mixture of everything. To add more flavour, my favourite cuisine is Thai, followed closely by Italian. My friends and family would describe Italy is the epitome of me – 80% coffee, 10% pasta and 10% wine.
I have spent my professional career bringing ideas to life through imaginative content creation. Whether I am designing a luxury travel magazine (Unforgettable Travel Magazine – go check it out), or a tailor-made safari itinerary, I will put my expertise, enthusiasm and passion into every element of it. I love working in travel. I have been lucky enough to have had such contrasting experiences – from the hottest evenings camping under the African sky watching shooting stars, to the coldest nights spent in an exquisite hotel made entirely of ice in Sweden. I love adventure and am excited for this next chapter ahead.
Q&A with Gemma our East Africa Specialist
What is your favourite travel memory?
A hot air balloon ride over the temples of Bagan in Myanmar. Our balloon took off as the sun was rising and gently glided over ancient temples – it was breath-taking. We even flew over a traditional Burmese wedding. They start the ceremony at sunrise so we heard the beautiful singing and saw the colourful crowds from the sky.
Your most annoying travelling habit?
I either take 100 pictures of the same thing, or take none at all. My camera roll irritates me so much but I never get round to sorting it.
What 5 things do you always travel with?
A pack of cards (rummy is my go-to), a sketchpad, my phone for music, flip flops and a neck pillow. I am one of those annoying people who will sleep anywhere my head rests.
What is on your bucket list?
South America! Rio Carnival would be so much fun. Or El Calafate in Chile. There is something incredibly raw and desolate about it.
You are stranded on a desert island with 2 famous people, who are they?
Ant Middleton for his productiveness and survival expertise. And David Attenborough, purely for his calming aura and exceptional storytelling.
My Favourite Destination
It’s a close call between Cambodia and Zambia, but Africa wins it for me. Zambia offers one of the wildest and most authentic safari experience in all of Africa. In the South Luangwa, pioneers like Norman Carr and Robin Pope made Zambia famous for “the walking safari”. So much adrenaline ran through me as I trekked through the open savannahs with the local guides – passing elephant families, giraffes, hippos and large buffalo herds.
The Lower Zambezi is another park in Zambia and one of my favourites as it is so diverse in what it offers. I spent my days kayaking on the Zambezi channels (petrified of the hippo and crocodile underneath), tiger fishing on the river and watching leopard hunt on night game drives. Zambia also homes the mighty Victoria Falls, locally nicknamed “the smoke that thunders”.
Throughout my travels there are some experiences and memories which stand out. I would like to share these recommendations with you for some travel inspiration..
There is an island off the shores of Tanzania’s mainland called Fanjove Island. It is a private island which homes six rustic beach bandas. Soft white sand beaches meet clear azure waters. One morning I went out with a local guide on a boat and we came across four pods of dolphin (around 50 per pod). With not a single other boat in sight, we had over 200 dolphin playing and swimming around the engine of our boat. I put on a snorkel and jumped in! The water was crystal clear and I had dolphin jump around me. I can’t describe how magical of an experience it was.
Favourite safari lodge
Jabali Ridge in Ruaha, southern Tanzania. Set on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Ikuka escarpment and a baobab forest, the lodge is striking in its design and offers the upmost luxury. During my stay here, I saw the resident leopard drinking from the swimming pool at night, woke up to the sound of hyena laughing in the distance, and became obsessed with the infusion of famous Jabali cocktails that were on offer. To this day, I would say that my guide at Jabai Ridge, named Moinga, was the best safari guides I have ever had.
I love Kyoto. Regarded as the cultural capital of Japan, it is home to atmospheric temples, colourful shrines and traditional geisha tea ceremonies. My favourite thing about the city is how friendly the people are… but also the food is exquisite and the landscape was beautiful. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest blew me away – make sure you include it in a trip to Kyoto. Standing in the midst of a vivid green sprawling bamboo grove is like no other.
My travels are brought to life by people and experiences. I love to meet the local people, visit rural communities and schools, and support interesting projects and programmes. This isn’t for everyone. But, if like me, you are always looking for a deeper connection or purpose on your travels, then please get in touch. I have taught English in Cambodia, volunteered for a turtle conservation in Zanzibar, and worked with female empowerment projects in Kenya. Tourism is the heart of these localised projects – be it sustainability, education, health or conservation – and you can be part of that movement.
My recommended trips
Entebbe, Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi National Park6 NightsFrom $5,157 PPA week-long Uganda itinerary taking you through Kibale, Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi.
Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, Zanzibar Island12 NightsFrom $9,736 PPAn itinerary that beautifully combines the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park. Here, you wi...
Nairobi, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Samburu National Reserve, Masai Mara National Park10 NightsFrom $7,247 PPThis itinerary is a combination of flying and driving, offering safari highlights in Kenya.
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