You could say Colin made his own luck – instead of going into the expected world of finance after completing his economics degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1977, he decided his first job would be as a safari guide in Botswana. In those days a cold beer came out of a wet long sock, tied to the side mirror of his Land Rover and cooled while hanging in the breeze. That was as good it as got. In 1983 Colin co-founded Wilderness Safaris with one of the best guides in southern Africa, Chris McIntyre. The two of them ploughed all their enthusiasm, energies and limited savings (and one second-hand Land Rover) into creating what became one of the most successful specialist safari companies in Africa.
Over the decades it grew to manage camps and lodges across 7 countries and employed more than 2,500 people. Many of these lodges gained their “bush cred” through partnerships with local communities: it was through those negotiations and relationships that Colin started to learn – by trial and error – what worked sustainably and what did not. Back then there were no blue-prints to follow or copy – creating safari partnerships with communities was breaking new ground. He sold his shares in Wilderness in 2005 and went on to co-found Great Plains Conservation a year later.
Colin is now completely independent and this freedom has allowed him to immerse himself in the Africa’s Finest project without any vested interests. The lessons learnt, the battle scars and campaign medals earned, from the many models tried and developed over the decades helped to lay the foundations and principals for responsible, sustainable tourism – what we have termed the Green Safari model. This, we believe, is the one of the fairest ways to partner with local communities and Governments in order to create viable, long-term partnerships that are a winning scenario for wildlife, wildernesses and people.