Who We Are
African and Indian Explorations was established in 1989 and is dedicated to creating personal, individual safaris and holidays to Africa and India. We aim to make each safari ‘the journey of a lifetime’.
We spend large periods of time revisiting all the countries that we promote, and each place that we recommend for you has been thoroughly tested by us – the beds have been slept in, the rooms compared and the food sampled! We are the only safari company in England who is entirely owned and staffed by people who have spent their lives being brought up in Africa and India. What is the relevance, you might ask? We feel it is self evident. Our passion is in our blood. Our enthusiasm and love for Africa and India, its people and its wildlife continues as a thread through each safari we handcraft for all of our clients.
African Explorations Ltd was chosen by the Financial Times Newspaper to arrange several specialist group safaris for their readers, accompanied by Lucia van der Post. We were also chosen by Selfridges, London to arrange special safaris for their customers.
Meet the Experts
Nicola was born in Calcutta, India where she spent the first part of her life before moving to Kenya and South Africa. She spent much of her time in the bush on safari with her family. She completed her diploma in viniculture and viticulture in South Africa before moving to Botswana where she assisted in the running of camps in the Okavango Delta and Nicola also enjoys flying. She then moved to Namibia where she ran a camp and was involved in community projects on the Caprivi strip assisting the local communities as well as being part of an Aids awareness campaign. She moved to London and started an office for a Botswana safari company before starting her own company, African Explorations in 1989 in the Cotswolds. She spends three months of every year travelling and researching new properties and she is deeply involved in assisting a number of charities throughout Africa and India in which she passionate about. She is also very interested in birdlife, plantlife and most conservation issues! She is hoping to complete her degree in nature conservation – parenthood allowing!
Nicola’s personal favourites: Fly camping in Katavi National Park. Canoeing along the Zambezi in the Mana Pools with professional guide James Varden; chimp trekking and snorkelling in the Mahale Mountains; walking in the Selous; game viewing in the Busanga Plains; fishing in the Lower Zambezi, staying on my own island with completely open fronted cottages, so that one can see the sunrise at Sindabezi. The sunset at Xugana Lodge in the Okavango Delta. Horse riding on the Nyika plateau. Uganda for its chimpanzees and gorillas. Hot air ballooning over the dunes of the Namib desert. Kitich Camp in Northern Kenya for its wonderful personality, Giulio. Kiwayu in Kenya for the beach and the exquisite Italian food and the simple, extraordinarily tastefully decorated cottages, with no doors or windows. Bird Island in the Seychelles, where there is simply nothing to do, except to swim, fish and walk and read a book or make good conversation! Kurland and Ants Nest in South Africa for families. Catamaraning around Nosy Be in Madagascar. And in India; The backwaters, gliding on a kettuvalam houseboat. Himalayas – most notably the area around Darjeeling, Sikkim and Kalimpong. Madhya Pradesh, staying at a wonderful, intimate palace with the Maharajah and his wife, and visiting the local markets.Viewing tiger in Kanha National park, Madya Pradesh. Sitting in a private house on the Lake Vembanad in Kerala and walking to the top of the Cardamom Hills. Riding on horseback along the Bhramaputra River in Assam; camel trekking in the Thar desert in Rajasthan. Udaipur – the most beautiful city in Rajasthan, otherwise known as the Venice of India.
Hashim worked for Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in Nepal from 1978 to 1988 alternating with summers spent in the Western Himalayas – Kashmir and Ladakh – leading treks and organising trout fishing camps. In 1981 Hashim was appointed Chief Naturalist at Tiger Tops. From 1985 to 1988 he was appointed Director Operations for Tiger Tops India dividing his time between Bandhavgarh National Park in Central India and overseeing operations in Kashmir and Ladakh. In 1986 Hashim began a survey of the birds of Bandhavgarh; the results of which were published in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Hashim has contributed articles and notes to wildlife journals and magazines as well as writing a guide to Bandhavgarh, which remains the most widely read (and only) guide to the park. Hashim served as honorary Wildlife Warden of the park and was appointed to the Indian Board of Wildlife. He has a assisted various film-makers, being scientific advisor to some productions including BBC’s “Land of the Tiger” series. Currently, as well as working with Indian Explorations and other projects, Hashim is a director of a company that owns a pioneering property (Forsyth’s Lodge) in Satpura and Bagh Van in Pench. Meanwhile his work as a wildlife and history tour leader has taken him to virtually every corner of the subcontinent including Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Hashim’s personal favourites: 5 years spent in Chitwan at Tiger Tops. You are treated to the daily spectacle of the high Himalayas forming a magnificent backdrop to the lush, sub-tropical wilderness of the Nepali terai. The great joy of Chitwan was the ability to wander these forests on foot, learning the skill and art of tracking and the ways of the jungle from real experts in a away that is impossible from a jeep or elephant back. Crouching behind a sandbank listening to the mating calls of a pair of tigers from within the tall elephant grass across a small river with the high peaks of the Himalayas glistening in the Alpenglow at twilight. Bhutan for its scenery, pristine wilderness, cultural integrity and its determination to preserve the best of the past while integrating with the present in a manner that benefits the entire population.
Catherine (Kate) was born in Zimbabwe, and spent the first part of her life in Mushandike National Park before moving to the outskirts of Hwange. She left Zimbabwe and moved to Botswana, where her parents ran various lodges in the Okavango Delta, and Kate followed suit! She spent time working at various camps learning different aspects of the industry. She worked on various mobiles throughout Namibia, and in Sabi Sabi in the Kruger National Park. She helped to build a camp in the Okavango Delta and then spent time escorting specialist groups in the panhandle in Botswana, including anthropologist and zoologist Lyall Watson. She ran a houseboat on the panhandle, and then managed Chilwero and Selinda in the Chobe and Linyanti areas, leading walking safaris. Kate headed Botswana Tourism in London before joining African Explorations and spends much time researching properties for African Explorations. Kate is a tremendous birder and interested in plants.
Kates personal favourites: Driving through northern Damaraland, Namibia. Hearing the Indri Indri for the first time in Perinet, Madagascar. The colours of the Karoo South Africa in winter, and the sheer space. The sunset at Xugana Lodge, Okavango Delta. Camel trekking in Kenya. Snorkelling in the irridescent waters of Lake Malawi. Game viewing with anthropologist, Mike Rainey in the Amboseli. Snorkelling in the Maldives.
Leaving the City, Jonathan spent some years as a dairy farmer in Devon (which he loved, cattle are one of his great interests) before the UK’s agricultural crisis forced him to go to Africa to look at farming there. He helped build and ran several camps in Tanzania, in the Serengeti and Tarangire, as well as building a lodge overlooking the Indian Ocean. Jonathan developed a special interest in the tribal cultures of East Africa and a deep affection for the gentle people of Tanzania. Moving back to England, Jonathan ran a dressage yard whilst also working as a marketing consultant for various African businesses and often went back to Africa. He kept peripheral farming interests in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. Jonathan travels frequently to Africa but his interest in aboriginal cultures often takes him also to Canada where he is to be found canoeing, often solo and completely unsupported, in the deep bush. Here he is able to indulge another fundamental interest: bushcraft skills and disciplines.
Jonathan’s personal favourites in Africa: Watching a herd of 500+ elephant in Tarangire; sailing the Indian Ocean on “Midsummer”, climbing the rigging and sleeping in a hammock on the deck beneath the stars; Borana Ranch in Kenya, excellent riding at an ideal place for a family; riding with Tristan Voorspuy; canoeing on the lower Zambezi with James Varden; Elephant Watch Camp in Samburu for an eclectic mix of a real, down to earth experience with the local Samburu, some of the finest cuisine in Kenya and some brilliant “bush style”!; the incredible Selous; walking in the remote Katavi National Park; “wild” camping in Kaokoland, Namibia and beachcombing at Kiwayu in Kenya.
Pauline is Kate’s mum with a devilish sense of humour! She also happened to run some of the finest camps in the Okavango Delta which was her home for most of her life, as well as in Zimbabwe. She then moved to Maun where she was the operations manager and bookkeeper for a major Botswana safari company. She recently moved to England, where she is also our bookkeeper.
Katharine Tetley has a degree in African Politics before she went to law school and worked as a qualified corporate lawyer for nearly 3 years after training.
In her travels, she spent her gap year teaching in the Northern Pare mountains in Tanzania for Schools Partnership Worldwide – a charity which supplies teachers to East Africa. She also spent time travelling in Malawi and Zimbabwe and lived in Uganda where she did research for SPW. She then lived in Zambia where she managed two camps in the Busanga Plains and Lunga in the Kafue region, one of Zambia’s most spectacular areas. She spent 6 weeks travelling around Mozambique and she spent her honeymoon in Sri Lanka. Some of her holidays have been spent trekking up to camp 2 on Nanga Parbat, Pakistan, Annapurna and Everest Base Camp treks in Nepal, a Self drive camping holiday in Nambia, a self drive camping holiday in the Drakensburg Mountains in South Africa and Lesotho; Canoeing down the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea and travelling by train from Beijing into Tibet. She has also visited Mauritius, the Seychelles, Madagascar, Northern and Southern Tanzania.
Katharines favourites are: Sunrise and tree climbing lions on the Busanga Plains; Walking in the Usumbara mountains in Tanzania; Climbing Mount Meru, Tanzania; Visiting the old ruins on Ihla de Mozambique; Camping in the Namib desert; Walking in the Selous Game Reserve; Horseriding in Lesotho; The Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet – the photos don’t do it justice!
Mark first came into contact with the Middle East as a student seeking a language to study at Oxford University. Five years later he finished his studies with a degree and a Master’s in modern Arabic literature, and a passion for the region had been firmly instilled. During his course he lived in Tunisia, and ventured east whenever he could. His last job working for another tour operator took him back through the region on many occasions, where he set up Tunisia and Syria programmes. Mark loves the history of the region, but is every bit as interested in the culture and daily lives of the modern Middle East. A keen writer in his spare time, he has just completed a novel set in Petra.
Mark’s personal favourites: There are so many – crossing the causeway through the Chott El Jerid saltlake in southern Tunisia, swimming in the natural springs in the oasis of Siwa, seeing the Temples of Abu Simbel from the waters of Lake Nasser, chatting into the night beside the fire with the Bedouins on camping trips through the Jordan rift valley, watching the sun set over Palmyra.
Marilyn was born in South Africa before moving to Namibia. Geographically speaking, the two countries are so close to one another and so Marilyn and her family spent a lot of time traversing between the two countries. Marilyn then left Namibia for England, where she joined a safari company, travelling to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mauritius, Rodrigues and Mozambique. Marilyn then joined African and Indian Explorations and has travelled extensively on several occasions through Namibia and also Morocco and Sri Lanka! She then married Mark Patterson, who heads up our Middle East and North Africa section. Marilyn is a very keen cook and especially loves her baking! When not cooking, she loves spending time with her two adorable black Labradors!
Marilyn’s favourite places are – well, of course, Namibia – she is totally biased, but she has every right to be! The Kunene region in particular, tracking desert dwelling rhino and desert dwelling elephant in Kaokoland and Damaraland, and of course, the Namib Desert. Mozambique is also high on her list, especially the coast – the most beautiful place for a Robinson Crusoe experience on your own island, yet with luxurious villas and the most extraordinary beaches and diving is Vamizi and for history and atmosphere must be Ibo Island. The Mud House in Sri Lanka for its simplicity and beauty and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Travelling through the Atlas Mountains is hard to beat, too!