MEET THE TEAM

Who We Are 

Janine Southwood – Head of Personal Collection

Janine Southwood, who has been in the industry for more than 20 years, heads up the Personal Collection team.  Janine and her team customise exclusive, creative travel itineraries, all imbued with distinctive traces of Southern Africa.

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“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work”, said Aristotle and that’s something we stick to here at Personal Collection. We love what we do, we’re doing what we love.    

‘Born in Africa, I am blessed to part of a continent like no other.  For so many arriving into Africa for the first time, you almost immediately feel like your soul belongs here, and during the course of your journey, she will steal your heart as you fall in love with her.  Our history is intriguing … from the mysterious rock churches of Lalibela, the ancient pyramids of Egypt, to the reshuffling of the earth’s plates to create Ngorongoro Crater, Great Rift Valley, the Okavango Delta, to name just a few.  All of this creates a natural oasis for wildlife and their migrations across terrains.

And then, of course, there are the colours and sounds of our many cultures, each with their own traditions that will leave you on the edge of your seat, eager for more of their captivating stories.  Combine this with breathtakingly beautiful landscapes that haven’t changed at all over centuries, and you will start to understand my love of Africa and why it is most definitely worth visiting, not just once, but over and over again.

Africa won’t let you forget her gentle sounds of tranquillity and serenity and her undeniable beauty. Africans won’t let you forget how friendly and accommodating we are. And our wildlife – there is simply nothing more beautiful than the sight of wild animals on the great plains roaming free where they should be.”

Tessa Robertson – Africa Specialist

Tessa has over 14 years of experience in inbound travel.  She is passionate about her job and pays special focus to the attention to detail in a tour, ensuring all the bells and whistles are taken care of.

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  “I was fortunate to grow up with parents who had a passion for travel which helped me realise what I wanted to do with my life.  I studied hotel management and then worked in 5-star hotels in Durban, Cape Town and London. It was during my three years in the United Kingdom that I travelled so much of the world and on return to South Africa, I knew I had to see more of my home country, and wow, what an incredible country we have! I had to share this with the rest of the world and so here I am, working with a small dynamic team of ladies, sharing our love of Africa with those fortunate enough to experience it.

“Once you hear the mighty roar of a lion or watch the sun set over the grasslands,  Africa will capture your heart forever. Africa is waiting for you!”

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Shannon Powell – Africa Specialist

Senior Tour Consultant, with over 15 years of travel experience, staring in a small retail chain in the UK. Shannon has a hunger for the industry. “It’s not just a job for me, it’s my life.”  

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Her son grew up in the Mara so Shannon is personally familiar with all of the deluxe secrets into making the magic moments of your personal itinerary including wedding planning on the Mighty Zambezi River. She thrives on the little special personal touches to make the WOW in someone’s day. Her career started with her being born into her family’s safari lodge in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe. She then followed the family footsteps and worked and lived in 5-star properties all through Africa. Travel is now her speciality and she excels as a Travel Counsellor. Her vivaciousness and caring dedication to her clients are invaluable assets to our Personal Collection Brand.

Shannon has designed individual tours and arranged escorted tours to Southern Africa for many clients from all over the US to Europe, Israel, Australia/New Zealand and Africa. She is also passionate about “giving back” and works closely with local orphans in and around Southern Africa.

Our team is passionate about Africa and each Africa Specialist has a deep love for what we do, thus making your trip even more meaningful or memorable. Join us to create your African legacy, with your footprint on conservation (be it wildlife, community or habitat) and spread the word about how wonderful Africa and its people are.
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 Images courtesy of Time + Tide Africa, experts in Zambia, preferred partners of Personal Collection.  

 

Next time in Africa,
The Personal Collection Team    

 

THE PERFECT FAMILY SAFARI IN THE CHOBE ENCLAVE

Even amongst the most discerning of travellers, the Linyanti Channel is fast becoming Botswana’s most sought-after wildlife haven. Nestled between the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park, Linyanti is a rich yet diverse ecosystem that is fed by a permanent river flow.

At the core of this wildlife haven is Linyanti Ebony, this intimate camp is made up of just four tents with spectacular vistas of the surrounding wilderness. A unique place where you can embrace the “digital detox” and slip into the rhythm of an authentic and game-filled safari experience.

The camp itself offers three twin-tents that sleep two and one more spacious unit excellent for families. The two-bedroom family tent has a self-contained lounge area looking out over the wetlands and an en suite bathroom with a shower and roll-top bath. For large groups or families travelling together, Linyanti Ebony can be booked exclusively with a minimum of 8 people and is open all year round.

Bask in peaceful silence as you drift through the crystal-clear waterways in a mokoro (from ages 16 years+ at the guides discretion) and watch the birds and aquatic life. Enjoy this unique rivers-cape up close, explore the bush on foot or go on an enthralling day or night game drive. For something a little extraordinary, set out to the skies on a helicopter safari and take in the awe-inspiring waterways below.

GAME DRIVES

Lead by one of our experienced guides, you’ll see magnificent wildlife indigenous to the area. Your guide will show you the hidden spots best for game viewing and give you an insider’s knowledge. With years of experience our African Bush Camps guides are known for being some of the best in the business.

WALKING SAFARIS

Awaken your senses and discover all that the bush has to offer on a walking safari. Accompanied by one of our experienced walking guides, explore the wild for one to two hours. For a full day walking safari, a private walking guide will need to be pre-booked with us. Children under 16 can experience nature walks around the camp led by our child-certified walking guides as part of the Cub Club. Since your safety is our first priority, walking safaris are usually conducted when the bush is not too thick.

SCENIC FLIGHT

A half-hour scenic helicopter is included when you stay 3 nights or more at Linyanti Ebony from April to November. Experience the pristine wilderness from a birds-eye view.

COMMUNITY & CONSERVATION PROJECTS

The African Bush Camps Foundation identifies needs, skills and resources within communities and forges meaningful partnerships amongst stakeholders, creating opportunities to empower the communities and their members to become self-sustaining and independent, whilst also promoting conservation and community spirit.

African Bush Camps Linyanti Ebony  is another top contender for a family safari in Botswana, contact us so we can arrange this holiday of a lifetime for you.

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WHY BOOK WITH US…

SOUTHERN AFRICA

Recapping from our introduction “Our safaris are authentic in every possible way, allowing you to experience the real Africa, with a clear focus on sustainable, responsible tourism, meaning that your Personal Collection journey can also make a positive, lasting difference to both people and planet.”

With this in mind, our teams dynamic flows with a wealth of destination knowledge, passion and experience, accumulated over many years of servicing inbound tourism, throughout Africa.

We can therefore easily navigate through our guests ‘Bucket List’ requirements to create and present ‘Authentic’ safaris that will leave a lasting impression.

Simply put, the Personal Collection ethos is to ‘sell what we know first-hand and sell from the heart’ – From visiting each destination, to checking out the comfort of the bed or experiencing everything first hand, the journey to each lodge, or indulging in the gastronomical cuisine to vetting our hosts service, these details are essential to make your experience a success.  And just to be sure, we have gone back again, to ensure that what we recommend is perfect for you.  We take great pride in pairing experiences that resonates with our guests’ interests, culminating in a ‘personally handcrafted’ lifetime journey through Africa.

We are passionate about Africa and each Africa Specialist has a deep love for what we do, thus making your trip even more distinctive meaningful and memorable.

We help create memories from special moments during your travels and bring you closer to nature in a responsible way, looking after you our client and our conservation.  Our zealous nature and passion is contagious and it’s because of this we are so successful in creating beautiful itineraries to match your exact needs.

We want only the best for Africa our place called home, sharing our devotion by using suppliers that feel the same way as we do.  These relationships are pivotal to the success of our ventures and to ensure that your holiday to Africa is one you will never forget and one you will share with everyone around your dinner tables for many years to come.

Join us to create your African legacy, with your footprint on conservation (be it wildlife, community or habitat) and spread the word about how wonderful Africa and its people are.

How do you know you can trust us with all of this planning?

Each year our experts are given the opportunity to visit various corners of Africa, to gain first-hand knowledge and a better understanding of what each destination has to offer – accommodation, transport, cuisine and experiences. The connections our Africa experts make are the keys to providing you with a memorable vacation. Our happy travellers over the years also give you something to go by.

But am I on my own when I travel?

Not at all. The very same person that planned your trip, booked your flights and arranged that special champagne breakfast, will be on call throughout your entire trip. Your African Specialist will be calling ahead before you arrive at every destination to ensure that each hotel, dietary request and excursions are reconfirmed – we will ensure that your trip is flawless.

You’ll also have a direct line to your Africa expert in case anything goes wrong.
Lost luggage?
Missed flight?
Punctured tyre?

We’ll be there for you no matter what.

in Africa, visit our website to find out more

GIBBS FARM Ngorongoro Crater, Karatu

Classic Portfolio has always had our attention as their properties are unique and exquisite. We would like to introduce you to Gibbs Farm, Ngorongoro Crater, Karatu.

A Sense of History and Community

“I am part of all that I have met.”
-Alfred Tennyson

Upon arrival, an intimate garden path beckons you to the authentic farmhouse, gently refurbished to offer a rustic, luxurious and welcoming sanctuary. One of the first guesthouses in northern Tanzania, Gibb’s Farm began as a coffee farm in the late 1920s. The sense of history is palpable as you stroll through the gardens or sit on your veranda overlooking the centuries-old Great Rift Valley and Ngorongoro Forest.

The main farmhouse and 17 cottages are cozy and enchanting, reflecting the heritage and architecture of another time and place. Original wood beams overhead, fireplaces and works by local artists throughout lend warmth and invite guests to pause and relax. Tokens of yesterday are found here and there—gifts from Zanzibar and the coast, books and needlepoint left behind by its maker.

There is a cadence to the rhythm of the farm—never fast, always nurturing. Neglected through the war years, the farm was bought in 1948 by James Gibb, a British war veteran. His wife Margaret started the farm’s wonderful vegetable and flower gardens, and she ran the farm until 2003. Today’s owners continue the rich legacy of Gibb’s Farm, refurbishing the house and farm to ensure a warm and welcoming luxury hotel experience for guests to enjoy for decades to come.

 

Integral to the contentment and peaceful energy of Gibb’s Farm is a deep and long-standing connection to the community. Generations of families have been a part of Gibb’s Farm, helping to create a truly authentic luxury hotel in Tanzania, based upon African traditions and hospitality.

As a friend, teacher and supporter of the community, Gibb’s Farm provides area residents with employment, training and education opportunities, and works to improve the surrounding infrastructure, maintaining roads and providing fresh well water. As a mentor, Gibb’s Farm founded Mazingira Bora Karatu, a local conservation organization, to promote environmental awareness, and the farm’s sustainable, renewable practices serve as a model for living harmoniously with nature.

A Sense of Nature

The natural beauty of Gibb’s Farm and the surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area is unrivalled. The abundance of plants, birds and wildlife offer the opportunity to experience nature first-hand, from the privacy of your verandah or while on a nature hike or safari.

Gibb’s Farm’s team of naturalists helps guide your discovery of the more than 200 species of birds, dozens of native plants and trees, and an incredibly diverse array of wildlife. All around the farm, the landscape is alive with indigenous plant, shrub and tree life such as the Flamingo flower, African tulip tree, Lion’s Tail, Zebra plant and Cape Chestnut tree.

The farm’s historic herb and flower gardens—established by founder Margaret Gibb in 1959—attract a growing list of birds spotted by guests and naturalists. Enjoy the call of the Tropical Boubou during afternoon tea or watch the many colourful and enchanting birds, like the African Pygmy-Kingfisher, Moustached Tinkerbird, Golden-winged Sunbird and African Cuckoo, frolic among the profusion of flowering trees and shrub. Within the farm, you may see a bush baby, baboon or the occasional Savannah elephant who wanders in to snack on cabbage from the garden. On safari to nearby Lake Manyara National Park or Ngorongoro Crater, the wildlife is abundant. Ngorongoro Crater boasts more than 30,000 animals, in and around the crater, including lion, hippo, hyena, wildebeest, zebra, African buffalo and more. You will soon see why Ngorongoro Crater is considered to be among the world’s great wonders!

In Lake Manyara National Park, you can see giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, ostrich, elephant, bushbuck, aardvarks and the occasional leopard, while the lake attracts over 380 species of birds, including flamingos, pelicans, storks, cormorants, Egyptian geese and spur-winged geese.

 

10 QUOTES THAT WILL GET YOU TO AFRICA

Take a look at our top favourite quotes from travellers, special humans who love and adore Africa and love to escape and explore as much as we have passion for.  Africa has touched so many people, whether its own people or travellers alike for decades.

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“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.”  John Hemingway 

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“Africa has her mysteries and even a wise man cannot understand them. But a wise man respects them.”  Miriam Makeba 

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“Africa – You can see a sunset and believe you have witnessed the Hand of God. You watch the slope lope of a lioness and forget to breathe. You marvel at the tripod of a giraffe bent to water. In Africa, there are iridescent blues on the wings of birds that you do not see anywhere else in nature. In Africa, in the midday heart, you can see blisters in the atmosphere. When you are in Africa, you feel primordial, rocked in the cradle of the world.”  Jodi Picoult

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“If there were one more thing I could do, it would be to go on safari once again.”  Karen Blixen 

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“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.”  Ernest Hemingway 

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“Everything in Africa bites but the safari bug is worst of all.” – Brian Jackman

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“Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer’s paradise, a hunter’s Valhalla, an escapist’s Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one. To a lot of people, as to myself, it is just ‘home’.” – Beryl Markham

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“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne – bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” – Karen Blixen

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“I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored”  David Attenborough

Two Baby Baboons playing with a small branch at the gate of  Ngorongoro Crater National Park in Tanzania

“The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla, the more you want to avoid people.” ― Dian Fossey

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As we know you are packing your bags already, contact us so we can get you here to witness this pure beauty!