Rosanna’s passion for Africa and travel began when she spent six months teaching in a Masai school just outside Arusha in Tanzania. She learnt Swahili in order to communicate with her pupils and still tries to keep it up as best she can and even taught her daughter to count up to ten when she was just four. During her time in Tanzania she camped in Lake Manyara National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti – watching the sunrise over the Serengeti for the first time was a moment she will never forget. From there she went white-water rafting in Uganda, travelled into Kenya and up through Samburu in an overland truck and onto Lake Turkana in the north before finishing up on the coast in Diani. This would be her last African experience before returning to university in the UK but she knew there was more to come and like many others who experience Africa for the first time, she was hooked. Rosanna joined the Scottish office having spent a year working for another company specialising in bespoke African safari holidays.
After studying History of Art & Sociology at Newcastle, she worked for Sandstorm Kenya, a luggage company based in Nairobi. Her role would soon take her back to Kenya and she would often tag on some personal travel time at the end. This is when she first experienced the wonder that is Laikipia and a love affair with the Lewa Downs began – she even picked the best spot for her (now) husband to propose to her – he didn’t take the hint and instead got down on one knee on a snow-capped hill in the Scottish Borders. In 2018 she returned to Tanzania for the first time since teaching, heading south to the Selous Game Reserve where she went on her first boat safari before hopping over to the spice island of Zanzibar.
When Rosanna isn’t dreaming of Africa she is kept busy by her two young children who love to race around on their bikes or build sand castles on the beautiful East Lothian beaches. She can’t wait to take them on their first safari when they are a little older and watch their eyes widen as they see their first elephant in the bush. She also has a creative side and loves to paint and be crafty – when she has the time.
Favourite African experience
On an afternoon game drive in the Chitabe Concession of the Okavango Delta, we thought we’d spotted some movement in the undergrowth so went to explore – only to be surprised when, from a completely different area on the other side of the vehicle, a leopard popped out and casually strode past. We followed her until she hopped up into a tree and then sat for around an hour taking in her glory. We were lucky to be with a professional photographer who gave us a free lesson so I have some wonderful pictures to remind me of the experience.
I just love the way giraffes move gracefully through the open plains. They look like they are galloping in slow motion. They are so elegant and poised, plus who wouldn’t want a pair of their eyelashes.
Lewa Safari Camp will always be up there with my favourite places to stay. Partly because of its incredible location in the Lewa Conservancy but also because of the happy memories of staying there with my parents and brother on their first trip to Kenya.
Lake Manze in the Selous Game Reserve brought us back to the authentic safari experience of staying in a tented camp with no electricity and wifi so you really feel part of the bush. The wildlife was exceptional in and around the camp and with the help of our guide, who had binocular-vision, we tracked down some mischievous lion cubs. Boat safaris gave me a new-found curiosity for birdlife and I especially loved watching the bee-eaters. The food here was also exceptional and I enjoyed swapping safari tales with other guests in the evening.
Jack’s Camp in the Makgadikgadi Pans is just one of three in a million-acre private wildlife reserve. 1940s in atmosphere, the Bedouin-style tents are furnished with brightly coloured Persian rugs and drapes. I had so much fun quad biking on the pans, playing with meerkats and meeting the San Bushmen who were fascinating. I even saw an Aardvark (a stuffed one in the camp’s museum!)
Little Vumbura is in one of my favourite areas of the Okavango Delta. It is on a private island surrounded by water and you arrive by boat which is just so magical. The wildlife is incredible – we saw wild dog, cheetah and so many elephants. The helicopter rider over the extraordinary Delta was unforgettable.
African Countries visited
Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
Tropical Islands visited
On arranging holidays
I love getting to know my clients and working with them to create the perfect holiday. I am very lucky to travel regularly, seeing new camps and exploring areas I haven’t visited before, and it’s great to return to the office and be able to use my newfound knowledge to help plan the perfect trip for someone else. Being a mother, I am also fully aware of the anxieties that go along with travelling with children and I hope I can help allay these concerns so that everyone can relax and enjoy themselves. It is lovely working in an industry where our main focus is making people happy.