Ben Self Drive 2

Ben

Africa Specialist

MEET BEN

I've been involved with holidays to Africa for pretty much all my life... either taking them – whilst growing up in Sudan and Kenya – or making them, as a specialist tour operator for the past 20 years and counting.

Fifteen of those years were spent setting up and running Imagine Travel, a leading UK based tour operator. So far the things I’ve had most success at in my work life are; talking about Africa (I still love organising trips for people), forming strong relationships with local suppliers, and building successful teams by always keeping the focus on our customers.

I'm happy talking about anywhere from Cape Town to Khartoum, and now that I've got 3 children, I'm fast becoming a family holidays expert too.

My Expertise -

  • Boring but important stuff like ATOL protection, our price promise and booking conditions.
  • Kenya. I’ve spent more time here than any other Africa country.
  • Mozambique. I’ve planned trips for the BBC, sailed its coast, bounced on its dirt roads and honeymooned its luxurious beach hideaways.
  • Self drive 4x4 safaris. (Having driven all over Africa, making every mistake under the sun.)
  • Tanzania. I’ve spent great times in the Serengeti, the Selous, and its beautiful coast. But Western Tanzania (and Katavi in particular) still elude me.
  • Family holidays. I have 3 young boys and an adventurous wife Charlie, and as a family we’ve the experienced full travel spectrum… from five star luxury, to DIY camping and most in between.

REVIEWS OF HOLIDAYS I'VE CREATED

Ben at Far and Wild was extremely helpful in suggesting places of interest to visit in Ethiopia, after talking to me on there phone about my interests and work. His enthusiasm for Ethiopia was infectious and I'm glad I was persuaded to check it out!

- Ayvin, Ethiopia tour

Phenomenal team with a personal, creative and responsive touch that made a proudly ‘non travel-agent’ traveler finally see the light. Far and Wild have convinced a time-poor agency-cynic that independent, off-beat travel does not need to be sacrificed to gain the convenience and insight this team can offer. They also sorted out a flap we had mid-trip on some logistics brilliantly. Super thoughtful on family needs. Love, love, love this team.

- Jill, Mauritius family holiday

Our Safari holiday to Kenya was a trip of a life time. I didn’t really know where to start. I contacted a number of companies, but there was something about Ben at Far and Wild that made me go with them. He had an excellent knowledge of the country and seemed to understand exactly what we wanted.

- Sarah, Kenya Safari

WHERE I'VE BEEN RECENTLY

I've had a great year exploring more of Africa, whilst still getting the chance to visit my old favourites in Kenya. I visited Kenya to check on my plastic boat building project (find out more below), but also visit some of our fantastic partners.

Other countries visited recently include -

  • Rwanda - Managed to get up close and personal with gorillas. Amazing!
  • Malawi - Had a wonderful family holiday here exploring somewhere new for me. We also took some friends and we all loved it.
  • Ethiopia - My first visit to this wonderful country. The history is mind blowing. The views in the Simien Mountains rival anything I've seen before. Find out more about my trip here.

I LOVE STAYING AT...

El Karama - Laikipia, Kenya - Perfect for me and my family. Not your typical safari holiday! Wonderful owners, and great experiences. What more could you want.

Simien Lodge - Ethiopia - High up in the mountains. Views all around. Great place to relax and take it in.

Almanara Villas - Kenya - In my opinion there is no better beach in the world than Diani beach in Kenya. Almanara is perfectly located. Friendly staff, great food. Just a fantastic place to be.

MY TOP TRAVEL TIPS

MY FUTURE ADVENTURES

  • Katavi in western Tanzania
  • Lake Turkana. I’ve been here before, but I’d dearly love to return.
  • Ethiopia – the whole country, and especially the Omo Delta.. a hidden corner of Africa.
  • Zambia. And Lake Malawi.
  • Mozambiques Quirimbas Archipelago – no matter how many times I’ve been there, it’ll always be on my ‘where I’m going list’.
  • Laikipia in Kenya. My ‘go to’ place in Africa.

MY INTERESTS

Plastic. Right now I’m interested in plastic… how we can move from treating it as being a single-use substance, to thinking of it as being endlessly recyclable. (And I’m having a go by trying to build a boat out of recycled plastic… www.theflipflopi.com) - Find out more about it here – and I have written about the issue in the Feb 2018 edition of BA Highlife Magazine. Read the article.

Africa. No getting away from it (literally!)… this is THE continent for me!

Wilderness. Wilderness is my kind of luxury (And increasingly I think the world is coming to the same realisation… that luxury is best defined as ‘where people are not’.) Camping with the bare essentials and not much else around is, for me, cooool!

Ethiopia, Madagascar, Uganda and Rwanda. Off the beaten track, interesting Africa. I’m looking forward to venturing deeper into these destinations over the coming years.

Riccardo Semler. Watch this space as we try to emulate some of his ideas at Far and Wild.

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