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    

 

CELEBRATING DIAN FOSSEY 87TH BIRTHDAY TODAY

Today would have been Dian Fossey’s 87th birthday, and though she was killed before she could realize the full value of her important work, we think she would be proud – and maybe a little surprised – that her vision lives on.

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Mountain gorillas still exist today because of Dian’s courage and persistence. She NEVER wavered in her commitment to the gorillas – even in the face of significant challenges. But Dian’s legacy isn’t just the mountain gorillas…she proved that one person can truly change the world.

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Dian and her legacy has given us more time with the gorillas.

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THE DIAN FOSSEY GORILLA FUND INTERNATIONAL 

Ellen DeGeneres, a much loved American comedian, television host, actress, writer, producer, and LGBT activist, turned 60!  Her beautiful wife Portia gave her and Africa a very special gift. Watch and read this.

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We would like to celebrate Dian’s birthday today by showing you how you can make a difference and showing you how to get to see these wonderful endangered gorillas in Rwanda and DRC.

Click here to donate to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International or visit the Ellen’s passion and read how she is making a difference.

And when you are ready to book Gorilla Trekking with us, let us know as we are happy to assist you with this once in a life time adventure, a memory that will stay with you forever.

Here are some striking images taken by Nelis Wolmarans of the exceptional Gorillas.

 

THE KORI BUSTARD

The Kori Bustard is an omnivore and one of the heaviest birds on the African continent. In fact, some birds have been found to weigh almost 20 kilograms.

Due to their large size and confidence, you’re likely to spot kori bustards quite easily when driving in the game parks. This is a terrestrial bird that is characterised by its long neck and feet, and the black crest on top of its head. Each eye is highlighted by a white strip above it. The top, visible part of the body is brown, while the underside is a lighter cream colour. The shoulders are highlighted with a black and white checked pattern. Because they are so heavy, Kori Bustards opt for walking; flying only when it is absolutely necessary. Still, when they do fly, their true power is witnessed as they glide through the African skies almost effortlessly. Their walk is elegant and slow.

HABITAT

The Kori Bustard lives in open plains and grassy savannahs, preferably with some trees and shrubbery. However, in some cases, they may be found in more arid areas. Essentially, the Kori Bustard prefers a habitat that is open enough for them to gauge their surroundings at all times. This bird does not tend to migrate unless food and water is in scarce supply.

DISTRIBUTION

The Kori Bustard can be found in South Africa and its surrounding countries (Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana), as well as in East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania). The spectacular Etosha National Park (Namibia) and the Serengeti National Park (Tanzania) are both home to this species.

DIET

As an omnivore, the Kori Bustard feeds on berries, as well as little animals (including snakes and lizards), while juveniles feed mainly on protein-rich insects. Interestingly, the Kori Bustard drinks by sucking the water up, as opposed to using its bill to scoop it.

SOCIALISATION

The Kori Bustard tends to stay in one area for as long as food and water resources are plentiful, rather than migrating. These birds are happy to amble the savannahs on their own, but are also often seen in groups or pairs. When faced with danger, the Kori Bustard will try to leave on foot before resorting to flight. As a group, they walk slowly and in a loose line across the grasslands as they forage for food.

COMMUNICATION

To woo the female, the male Bustard will ruffle its feathers and inflate its neck, performing a dance to impress her. They can also inflate their bill, and make a loud noise, while she takes notice of his efforts.

LIFE EXPECTANCY

Although it has not been established in the wild, Kori Bustards have been observed to reach between 26 and 28 years in captivity.

PREDATORS

The Kori Bustard’s numbers are in gradual decline, but they are still readily found in the wild. Humans are their largest threat, as their habitat is endangered by urban development and pollution. They are also victims of hunting.

When you see a Kori Bustard for the first time you will be shocked at the size and amazing he/she is. They are so beautiful.

REFERENCES

Krugerpark; National Zoo and arkive.org.

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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HEAD OVER HILLS

Head over Hills is a unique 5 Star luxury retreat situated on the beautiful edge of the iconic Knysna heads. This luxury accommodation and world-class views are the perfect backdrop for a well-deserved celebration of a special occasion, honeymoon, or to simply take in the splendour of our naturally beautiful surroundings.

Set in one of the most sought-after locations, Head over Hills has a unique and tranquil setting with unsurpassed views of the famous Knysna Heads, cliff tops, vast Indian Ocean and entrance to the world famous Knysna lagoon. This is the ideal vantage point from which to enjoy spectacular sunsets, catch the dolphins surfing in the waves or watch the whales! And you are literally on the same level as the birds in the sky, as you stand on the balcony you watch the albatross, sea gulls and birds of prey glide along side you.

Head over Hills is a small and exclusive retreat with eight en-suite, open planned bedrooms and various communal facilities, ensuring the luxurious comfort of every guest. There is a wheel-chair friendly suite. Some of the on-site facilities include a heated rim-flow swimming pool, wooden sundeck, fully stocked bar and a walk-in wine cellar. The rates are inclusive of a gourmet breakfast served either in the dining room or on the deck. Our kitchen is open for lunch as well as dinner.

PERFECT VILLA OR FOR GROUPS OF GOLFERS

I would highly recommend Head over Hills booked in its entirety by a group or as an exclusive villa and in this scenario, children can also be accommodated.  Special dinners can be organised and Martin, our owner, would love to give you a taste of some of our delicious wines.  Wine and food pairings can be organised for groups. Golf groups should be here, its not only special as Martin is a ex pro golfer, its situated on the top of world and is a stunning place to dine together and chill after your golf, if there are non-golfers there are many things we can arrange in the area, or even a spa day at Head over Hills.  Head over Hills has clubs for hire so you don’t have to bring your clubs with you. Please note that it is advisable to book tee-off times before you arrive, especially during our summer months.

Whether it is a well-deserved getaway, a honeymoon or simply an opportunity to take in the splendour of our naturally beautiful location, this unique and tranquil setting is the perfect place to escape to. When you need a little time for yourself or a haven for you and your loved one then this is the place to come and be spoiled.

HIGHLIGHTING THE ELEPHANT SUITE

Luxurious is the only way to describe our main suite. Situated on the ground floor, this suite is designed to allow the maximum use of space. Open all the doors in summer to maintain a lovely flow from the room to the deck or light the fire in winter and snuggle up on the tasteful and most comfortable leather chairs.

The strategically placed privacy glass on the deck allows you to relax on the comfortable couch or one of the loungers, while you soak up the sun. Or just take in the beautiful view of the ocean and the Knysna heads. One of three luxury Hastens beds imported from Sweden take pride of place in the Elephant suite. You are almost guaranteed a great night’s sleep with this “all natural” bed and the sound of the ocean literally on the door step. The red SMEG fridge with complimentary cold drinks, beers and water, Nespresso coffee/tea machine, mini-hifi and hair dryer situated at the dressing table, all add to the character of this room.

The dressing table and mirror are large and will allow any discerning lady plenty of space to work with. The separate bathroom has an enormous shower, a spa bath and even a sauna. The heated towel rails make sure your towels are lovely and warm, especially on a cold winter’s night. The “smart” television has a full DSTV bouquet. All our rooms and suites have a safe, air conditioner and wireless internet.

WINE CELLAR

The one thing I was extremely impressed by, was the passion for wine at Head over Hills, and it’s all about fine wine. Martin and Therese, the owners of Head over Hills, have created a wine cellar where the guests can walk in and pick their very own special bottle to enjoy while watching the sunset or with one of our delicious a la carte dinners. Its very rustic, yet authentic and beautiful.  I loved spending time in the Wine Cellar, seeing Martin’s pure passion for his collection and being in this special space. I am pleased to say that they have a tasting room, I would recommend this and allow Martin to organise your own private tasting with our wines in our tasting room.

BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER

When you stay at Head over Hills, breakfast is included.  But the biggest bonus is that you don’t have to go out for lunch or dinner. You might not want to miss the stunning sunset or you just feel like a night in. In season we serve lunch and dinner daily. Our private chef composes a daily a-la-Carte menu where you can choose to have one, two or three courses. Highlight, is definitely eating lunch on the balcony and watching the waves, birds, Knysna heads and feeling like you are literally on top of the world.  Lunch was fresh and delicious.

Words cannot describe this gem, you literally have to experience Head over Hills for yourself. The views change, the sunsets are exquisite, the service is outstanding, the food is great.  The rooms are comfortable, bathroom luxurious and the attention to detail are special.

To book this gorgeous holiday contact us, we will assist you to get there and will organize all your activities in the area.

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