Anna looks after the concierge side of things – working with properties to ensure clients are well looked after, enhancing itineraries wherever possible and generally making sure our holidays just offer that little bit extra.
Inspired by Kenyan school friends, and Elspeth Huxley’s tales of Kenyan pioneers in The Flame Trees of Thika, Anna’s first trip to Africa was to Lamu 20 years ago and she was immediately hooked. Several years, and numerous Lamu holidays later, she and her husband were persuaded to give up their television jobs in London and take their young family to Kenya to start a new career in safari lodge management. Much to the dismay of their families, employers, and clients, they quit and were on a plane heading for Ol Donyo Lodge six weeks later. Two years of camp management under the tutelage of Richard Bonham was a life changing experience and enough to develop a serious case of Mal d’Afrique, only tempered by frequent return visits and safari chat in the Aardvark Safaris’ office.
Anna is now the mother of three, a keen horsewoman, loves to ski, play terrible tennis and will upholster anything that stays still for long enough, but is happiest of all travelling as far off the grid and away from any form of technology as possible.
Next on the African hit/wish list is a canoe safari in Zambia, a stay at Jack’s Camp in Botswana, a Safaris Unlimited horse safari, a stay at Greystoke Mahale and a comprehensive tour of the &Beyond Mozambique lodges!
Favourite African experience
Sleeping out with my husband on the Kopjes at Ol Donyo during a lunar eclipse. Two bedrolls, a gun and a cool box.
Deep sea fishing and swimming with pods of wild dolphins with Louis Van Aardt off Kizingo, Lamu. I hooked a Marlin almost the size of our boat (honest) and then jumped into the water to swim with the wild dolphins. 1km out to sea watching 40 dorsal fins coming towards you is heart stopping. Very wild, very remote and totally exhilarating.
My all-time favourite animal is a horse and nothing can beat a safari on horseback. In terms of African animals it has to be a hyena. The Bonhams adopted a hyena cub – found next to its dead mother aged two days old. It was bottle fed and became domesticated. It would appear every evening having spent the day sleeping in the lava rock behind their house. When their teenage son followed it back to its lair he discovered it had stolen tens of cuddly toys from the house and built himself a little nest surrounded by cuddly friends. “Ena”, as he was known, was the most friendly and amazing animal and the relationships he had with the Bonham family members were fascinating to see. When he finally “left home” he would return occasionally bringing his mates with him.
African countries visited
Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, South Africa, Morocco.