We asked Andrea to tell us more about his experiences as a private guide.
When and why did you become a guide?
I got my first private pilot license in 1993 in Australia, then by 1996 I got my commercial pilot license in Australia and in the US, to be followed by the Namibian in 1999.
Your most memorable experience as a guide.
Hard to pick one! There are at least three: flying over the ice pack between Arctic Canada and Greenland and deciding to drop down low level for an arctic flying safaris, being able to spot and photograph a polar bear on the ice. Flying over the Suguta Valley in Kenya, playing with the flamingoes and then landing on the dry shores of Lake Logipi. Landing on a grass airstrip in the tiny island of Santa Ana in the Solomon Islands, where our luggage was loaded over the heads of villagers, and then walking 40′ in the forest to reach our village for that night.
Safari moment you were most thrilled to have helped a client experience.
Any scenic flight where I can pick the right music to match the scenery and clients’ personalities, and then seeing wet eyes when we land. Being able to arrange a stretcher and local crew to take a 94 years old lady all the way to see Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and back.
Top 3 favorite properties.
- Wolwedans and Serra Cafema in Namibia for the combination of setting, scenery and experience
- Luangwa House in Zambia for the great concept of having your personal house in the bush which matches perfectly the idea of traveling with your personal aircraft
- Desert Rose Lodge in Kenya for its remoteness and warmth (pictured above).
Top 3 favorite national parks.
- Namib Rand Nature Reserve
- South Luangwa in Zambia
- Serengeti in Tanzania.
Your favorite trip.
Two in Africa:
- Namibia + Botswana because they complete each other so perfectly.
- From Kilimanjaro to Addis Ababa passing via Serengeti, Uganda, Rift Valley in Kenya and Ethiopian Highlands, because of the variety of experiences it can offer in 10 days. It’s basically 4 tours in one! This is Africa.
Outside Africa from northern Australia, across to Papua New Guinea and then into Solomon Islands, and from the Bering Sea in Alaska to Ushuaia, in Argentina, but this is a very long expedition….
Somewhere you have always wanted to take guests but never have.
South East Asia and Pacific Ocean with a seaplane.
What’s on your bucket list?
A Grumman Mallard with turbines, an amazing amphibious seaplane to organize journeys around the world!
2 things you always tells your guests to bring when traveling.
A good camera and a positive attitude, both will enhance your experiences.
2 things you think guests should know about Africa (or your specialty country)?
- Don’t underestimate the concept of cold in Southern Africa, especially in the months of June and July below the equator, and especially when going on safaris very early in the morning with open vehicles.
- If you want to be in the bush, no matter how luxury it will be, the odd insect can get into your tent/chalet/room.
Camera or binocular recommendations?
For a camera, the body must have a good high frame per second speed, and excellent focus accuracy, the lenses must be sharp and of good quality. Otherwise enjoy watching with your eyes and bring home lots of incredible memories.
Do you have a specialty?
Flying of course but in general I really just try to focus on what the clients want, and try to deliver the ideal experience for them. I also really enjoy working with kids, they are fun!