Jo Ainscough

Jo on horseback

Jo joined Aardvark’s Scottish office in September 2006, fresh from two ski seasons, and as a farmer’s daughter felt instantly at home with the chickens, ducks, sheep, dogs and horses that frequent Aardvark Scotland!  Animals and skiing aside, Jo’s passions include cooking, travelling, hiking and horse riding. She was a chalet manager in the Alps for two winter seasons, while the summers took her to the north of Scotland to cook for large house parties.  As a child, Jo was fully immersed in the Fife Hunt pony club, and has more recently worked with top eventers and racehorses.

She put her cooking skills to good use on a two month sabbatical in Uganda and Rwanda where she was tasked with improving the food and sourcing new ingredients in some of the top lodges. A highlight of her time here was tracking mountain gorillas on three occasions – Jo is therefore an excellent person to talk to about holidays here as she can give you her own honest and unbiased advice.

Now a senior sales consultant at Aardvark Safaris, Jo has been given the exciting challenge of managing a sales team.  Sociable, outgoing, fun and very well-travelled, we believe she is the perfect person for the job. Based in Edinburgh, Jo is more than delighted to come and meet guests with maps and brochures, to chat their holidays over in person.

Favourite African experience

Sleeping in a hide on the Boteti River in Botswana. There were elephant splashing around in the river and two prides of lion roaring to each other from opposite banks. I didn’t sleep a wink, but it was one of the most thrilling nights of my life!

Making it to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Having that sense of satisfaction, whilst seeing the sun rise up through the clouds below, has to be one of the most magical things I’ve ever experienced.

Favourite African animal

Giraffe – I have always wondered what it’s like to be tall……they’re the complete opposite of me; tall, graceful and quiet.

Three favourite camps

Madagascar_Tsarabanjina_NosyMitsio-beach

Tsarabanjina off the north west coast of Madagascar, for its truly remote location, sugary white sand, warm translucent water, and amazingly romantic and private bandas.

Skeleton Coast Safaris flying over Namibia dunes

Schoeman Skeleton Coast Safaris’ Kunene Camp in northern Namibia. It’s on the border with Angola and is totally unique, simple and beautiful.

Sand Rivers Selous Sleep out

Sand Rivers in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve for its exclusivity, wonderful river location and the sound of hippos from any part of the lodge.

African countries visited

Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia

Tropical Islands visited

Madagascar, Mauritius, Zanzibar

On arranging holidays

There’s nothing better than speaking to guests who have just returned from a fantastic holiday.  It gives me such a buzz. There’s plenty of room for error when planning these trips so it’s essential to get everything absolutely right and that’s where the first hand-knowledge and attention to detail comes in.  I travel regularly, and though it’s a wonderful perk, it’s also crucial to help plan the perfect holiday.  I take a lot of pride in trying to make all the trips I plan the best they can possibly be, no matter how long takes.  Making people happy is very satisfying.