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    

 

TEN FACTS ABOUT HIPPOS

Watching a pod of Hippos interact in water, is fun, either they yawning, cuddling, sunbathing or just chilling in the water. They are full of personality when they not lazy and are even known as the most dangerous animal in Africa.  So keep your distance and enjoy watching them from far.

Hippos are large semi-aquatic mammals, with a large barrel-shaped body, short legs, a short tail and an enormous head! They have greyish to muddy-brown skin, which fades to a pale pink colour underneath.

They are considered the second largest land animal on Earth (first place goes to the elephant!). Males measure around 3.5m long and 1.5m tall, and can weigh up 3,200kg. That’s as much as three small cars!

To stay cool in the blistering African heat, hippos spend most of their day in rivers and lakes. Their eyes, nose and ears are located on the top of their head, which means they can see and breathe whilst submerged in the water. What’s more, these super-cool creatures sweat an oily red liquid which helps protect their skin from drying out – and acts as a sunblock, too! Cool, huh?

These magnificent mammals were once found throughout all sub-saharan Africa. Sadly, populations have declined due to habitat loss and hunting. Today, they are largely confined to protected areas in East African countries.

Hippos are most active at night, when they forage for food. They are herbivores, and eat mostly grass – and boy do they eat grass! In just one night, they can guzzle down up to 35kg of their favourite grub!

Despite their enormous size, hippos are great swimmers and can hold their breath for up to five minutes underwater. When completely submerged, their ears and nostrils fold shut to keep water out.

Hippos usually live in groups (or “herds”) of around ten to 20 individuals, led by one large dominant male. The other members are females, their young and a few young non-breeding males.

Dominant males are very protective over their group. To warn off rival males, they open their huge mouths and display their long, curved canines! They also make loud grunts and aggressive splashes in the water.

Female hippos, called cows, give birth every two years, usually to a single calf. Soon after birth, the mother and her baby join up with other cows and calves for protection against predators, such as crocodiles, lions and hyenas.

In the wild hippos live for around 40 years. In captivity, they tend to live longer and may reach up to 50 years old.

Contact us when you ready to go and experience these wonderful animals, they are great for photography and will leave you with a smile.

CARACALS

At Personal Collection we celebrate all animals.  We are a team that are crazy about Africa and what it offers, from the majestic landscapes to the most beautiful bird.  To its massive herds of Elephant and then of course to a little special cat called the Caracal.

Common Name: Caracal

  • Scientific Name: Felis Caracal caracal
  • Kingdom: Animal
  • Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivore
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Felinae (Caracal)
  • Species: Caracal
  • Afrikaans: Rooikat, Xhosa: Ngada

HABITAT:

Caracals live in the drier savannah and woodland regions of sub-Saharan Africa and prefer the more scrubby, arid habitats. They will also inhabit evergreen and montane forests but are not found in tropical rain forests.

Distribution: Central Africa, South Africa, west Africa, southwest Asia, Middle East.

DID YOU KNOW:

Caracal are very agile and can jump up to 3 metres in the air to catch guinea-fowl and pigeons.  The old saying “To put the cat amongst the pigeons” stems from an old middle east practice of putting a caracal in an arena with a flock of pigeons and taking bets how many the caracal can catch once it is released.

SIZE AND APPEARANCE:

Often referred to as the desert lynx, the Caracal does not actually posses the same physical attributes of members of the lynx family, such as the characteristic ruff of hair around the face. Instead, it has a short, dense coat, usually a uniform tawny-brown to brick-red, and black (melanistic) individuals have been recorded. As the name implies, the backs of the ears are black and topped with long black tufts about 1.75 inches long. This tuft is the characteristic that Caracals do share with the members of the lynx family. It is the largest member of Africa’s small cats and its most formidable. Males can weigh as much as 40 pounds and females as much as 35. They stand between 16-20 inches at the shoulder and are 35-39 inches long.

REPRODUCTION AND OFFSPRING: 

After a gestation of approximately 78-81 days, females produce a litter of 1-4 kittens, with 2 being the average. They begin to open their eyes on their first day of life, but it takes 6-10 days for them to completely open. They are weaned at 10 weeks and will remain with their mothers for up to a year. They attain sexual maturity between 12-16 months.

SOCIAL SYSTEM AND COMMUNICATION: 

Caracals are solitary animals and social interactions are limited to periods of mating, except for mothers with kittens.

HUNTING AND DIET:

Caracals prey on a variety of mammals, with the most common being rodents, hares, hyraxes and small antelope. Unlike the other small African cats, Caracals will not hesitate to kill prey larger then themselves, such as adult springbok or young Kudu. Caracals have also been reported on occasion (although this is an exception rather than a rule) to store their kills in trees, as do the leopards. These cats are mostly nocturnal but have been spotted in daylight in protected areas.

For those who adore the cat species this is a special cat to see, when you go on Safari you almost bound to come across this machine.  They are simply beautiful and personally one of my most favourite sightings.

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