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    

 

ELUSIVE LEOPARD

Having grown up in the Kruger Park, at every school holiday and long weekend, we packed up the car and off we went. Armed with our bird and mammal books we would mark off every species we saw as a family.

As I grew up, I started working in the Travel Industry and then got to stay at many wonderful private game lodges.  Leopards were my favourite spot, they are extremely well camouflaged at not as big as I thought. Generally, loners, it’s a gem switching off the game drive vehicle and watching this gorgeous cat, groom himself, sleep, play or storking its dinner.  Here are some delicious facts about our darling leopards.

  • Scientific name for a leopard is Panthera Pardus.
  • Leopards are in the cat family.
  • Leopards are mammals.
  • Leopards live mostly in Africa with some living in India, Malaysia and China.
  • Leopards are solitary animals meaning they like to live alone.
  • A male leopard is called a leopard.
  • A female leopard is called a leopardess.
  • A baby is called a cub.
  • Leopards can be 4.5 ft. – 6ft long with a tail that is 3.5-4.5 long.
  • Leopards are between 2-3 ft tall.
  • They weigh between 80-200 pounds.  Females are slightly smaller than males.
  • Leopards range in colour from a pale yellow to a deep gold.  Melanistic leopards are black and often referred to as black panthers.
  • Leopards have rosettes (rose-like markings) patterns on their fur.
  • Leopard’s colour and rosettes patterns go with their habitat.
  • Leopards with paler coats live in desert habitats.
  • Leopards with more rounder rosettes live in east Africa and leopards with squarer rosettes live in south Africa.
  • Leopards are great climbers and great swimmers.
  • They can leap up to 20ft.
  • Leopards are agile meaning they are able to move quickly and easily.  They are fast runners and can run 36 miles per hour.
  • Leopards like to spend a lot of time in trees.
  • Leopards are carnivores meaning they eat meat.
  • Leopards hunt whatever they can catch.  Some animals they eat are boars, impala, gazelles.  Sometimes they will eat fish, birds and rodents.
  • Leopards mostly stay away from people but have attacked humans and dogs.
  • Leopards are mostly nocturnal meaning they are more active at night.
  • During the day leopards are often seen resting in trees.
  • Leopards hunt for food at night.
  • Often times they will watch their prey from up in the trees where they can blend in with leaves. Then they will pounce down to surprise their prey.
  • After a leopard catches their prey they will sometimes carry it back up the tree to hide it in the leaves.  They do this to keep it away from scavengers in between feedings.
  • Female leopards give birth to usually 1-2 cubs.
  • Cubs are born a grey colour with very faint rosettes.
  • Cubs are born blind and start to see in 10 days.
  • Cubs live with their mothers for 2-4 years.
  • Mother leopards teach their cubs to swim, climb, hunt and how to protect themselves from predators.
  • Predators to leopards are adult chimpanzees and gorillas.
  • Leopards are a threatened species in Africa and endangered in other parts of the world.
  • Loss of habitat and hunting for their fur are big threats to the leopard.

The Lodges we sell and believe in are amazing, they track leopards and you will have a fantastic chance to see this gracious animal.  In some areas they are prolific, some they are shy, some lodges have leopards lying in the sun on your very own patio when you wake up.

The top 5 spots to see leopards are as follows:

  • Sabi Sands Kruger National Park
  • Moremi Game Reserve
  • South Luangwa National Park
  • Samburu and Masai Mara National Reserves
  • Kalahari Desert, Namibia and South Africa

Contact us when you are ready to see and experience these special and beautiful cats.

Compiled by Lauren Maker

 

YOUR FOOTPRINT, YOUR LEGACY

An exciting new travel trend… Connect with your destination of choice by literally getting your feet and hands dirty. Cook a local meal, build a local home. Use your profession or skills to aid less privileged communities or actively help endangered and priority wildlife conservation missions. We offer many different types of conservation experiences.

Here is just an example.

About the programme

HESC offers the opportunity to experience, first hand, the work of the centre. This intensive 21-day programme is divided into 3 main sections: Participation; Conservation; and Sightseeing. The programme is for the adventurous spirit looking for a unique African adventure; for the passionate animal lover; and for the conservationist.

The programme is based at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, which is home to cheetah, wild dogs, white rhino, lion, African wild cats, Ground hornbills, Sable antelope, to name only a few.

Participation

WCE participants will be involved in the everyday care of the many animal species at the centre. This includes cleaning, feeding and, where required, assisting with or observing any veterinary activities that may occur during their stay.

The knowledge gained about the animals and the work of HESC through this kind of participation is both specific and personal. Participants may also get the opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day operations at ‘Rescued Rhinos @ HESC’, a sanctuary for orphaned rhinos and rhinos which have been victims of poaching.

Conservation 

This section of the programme involves informal lectures on all aspects of conservation and includes specialist input on all animals, grasses, trees and basic biodiversity.

The programme enables participants to put theory into practice, either through direct observation in the wild or at other centres that specialise in other areas of research or conservation.

Sightseeing

WCE participants will also have the opportunity to visit places of interest and attractions in the area, including the renowned Kruger National Park.

Duration of the programme

  • Three weeks – A basic conservation course, consisting of a theoretical component, followed by active participation in practical exercises.
  • One-week programmes are available on request.
  • There are shorter programs available on request

Aims of the programme

  • To equip participants with the aptitude of conserving the wildlife of Southern Africa; to build awareness of conservation on a broader global scale; and to facilitate the experience of the beauty and rich diversity of South Africa.
  • Accommodation & Facilities
  • Accommodation in twin thatched huts (max 2 people) in Nungu Camp – situated within the Kapama Private Game Reserve (Big 5). Separate facilities are available for male and female participants. Accommodation is basic, yet clean and comfortable.
  • Accommodation is fitted with adequate power points and ceiling fans.
  • Wifi is available on request.
  • Breakfast and lunch will mostly be prepared by participants, with a few traditional South African meals prepared by the coordinators too. On Saturdays and Sundays, participants are given the chance to prepare their own local dishes – a valuable team building experience.
  • There is a kitchen with fridges in the camp, as well as a boma and barbeque facilities. Basic food and drink will be provided, but all luxury items will be for the participants’ own expense.
  • Pioneer hand-wash laundry facilities are available in the camp.
  • Sunday’s are off days and are spent at leisure.

The area

The closest town is Hoedspruit, which is approximately 23 km from the reserve. Regular trips to town can be organised for supplies, banking or internet facilities.

Adventure activities are available in the area. Should volunteers decide to participate in such activities, such as quad biking, paintball war-games, river rafting in the Sabie river or a visit to Jessica the Hippo or Moholoholo rehabilitation centre, they can be arranged with the project leader at participants’ own expense.

Contact us Personal Collection by Ta, if you want to get your hand dirty and be a apart of Your footprint, your legacy.. Making a change, planting a tree, making your difference to conservation, wildlife and our future.

Save our rhinos