Having been originally born in South Africa and moving back to the UK at the age of 4, travel was in my life from the very start. I can’t really remember a time when we weren’t travelling somewhere or meeting up with friends of the family from around the world. After studying French and Philosophy at University and spending a year in the south of France, I packed a ruck sack and spent the next year travelling extensively through South America, Australasia and South East Asia.
My work career started in 2001 with Trailfinders where I learnt about things like flight booking systems and general management systems for large travel companies…I must admit that it wasn’t the favourite part of my career as the focus was on quick turnover of clients and properties and itineraries sold from a brochure. Having left them in 2004 and developed properties for a year, I then went and worked for a specialist Africa and South America operator with the view to setting up my own company one day…and here we are!
To date I have spent time all over the world with a recent focus on South America and Africa…there are, of course, a few destinations that are still on the list but I am getting there!
Q&A with Nick:
Where was your last trip?
I have been pretty lucky in the last year or so with a trip in September last year to Ethiopia, then to Argentina and Antarctica in November and, finally, a trip in April to Botswana! A tough life! My wife, needless to say, hasn't spoken t me for a while now but, in fairness, with a new baby on the way (second) I am now hunkering down for the next 6 months before we head to Morrocco in September for some r&r!
Where is your next trip?
As explained above, I have had a pretty good run of things in the last year or so so am firmly 'at home' for the next few months and the rest of the year from a work perspective. The next trip for the family is with our new addition to Morrocco and the coast in September for 10 days of relaxation and, hopefully, sleep!
What is the one thing you have to take with you on every trip?
I guess I am a bit superstitious as I was given a simple wooden carving of a giraffe when I first went to Kenya and I take it on every trip I go on these days! I have also been travelling with a broad rimmed hat since i was 18 and started travelling. It has become a bit ragged but it is still there with me wherever i travel and is one of the most useful items of clothing i have i would say.
What’s your favourite camp/hotel?
I have always been a sucker for Beho Beho in the Selous and it is where I took my wife when we went on our honeymoon a few years ago…there is something about the place! I must admit, though, that there are thousands! Old Mondoro in Zambia, Vamizi in Mozambique, Tierra Patagonia in Chile, Las Balsas in Argentina…not really answering the question am I!?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten on your travels?
I have eaten all sorts of game meat in Kenya and South Africa, but I would say the strangest thing was in Vietnam drinking shots of the local bootleg whisky out of a bottle that had a cobra biting a viper in it. Apparently, the more deadly the snakes that are in the bottle the more prized the whisky…needless to say I don’t remember too much more of what was told me that night!
Has to be an elephant…no other animal creates the same sense of respect in Africa where everything waits to see what the elephants do and then they decide what to do! Such a sensitive and caring animal.
What is the best bit of travel advise you can give to first time safari-ers/ travellers?
Get involved with local people. Try and learn a few words of local dialect to be able to say hi to people and they will really make an effort to interact with you. “My favourite phrase” I hear you ask….“poa kichizi kama ndizi”….crazy cool like a banana…guaranteed a riotous laugh anywhere along the East African coastline!
What’s your sundowner choice?
The dark and stormy…especially during a storm!
Favourite activity to do on a trip?
I am a big fan of wandering into a town square and just sitting and watching as it is a great way to get a feel for a culture and a town. South America has loads of town squares!
Which destination is on the top of your bucket list?
Again, this could have around 50 answers. For work I think it would have to be somewhere like Democratic Republic of Congo as I have long read about its tumultuous history and would like to take a look for myself!
Latest blogs by Nick French:
Arranging a trip to the Antarctic can be a pretty daunting prospect with what seems like endless options, boats, timings, prices and activities. In all reality, it is nowhere near as tricky as you would think!
In this section we have tried to lay out the options for you as simply as possible...More...
A few weeks ago, we were approached by the Royal Geographical Society and asked if we could make a bit of noise about their (relatively) new project, the “Hidden Journeys”. In this series, they have put together a collection of various photos and information from geographical journeys across...More...
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