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Jake Cook

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With family first touching feet on African soil over a hundred years ago during the Witwatersrand Gold Rush (in present day Johannesburg), Jake has continued his family’s tradition of traversing this wonderful continent. Swapping pick axes for a decent pair of binoculars, he began by contributing to elephant and leopard conservation projects in Botswana’s Tuli Block and anti-poaching by horseback on a private reserve in South Africa’s Kruger region.

After a hiatus at university both in the UK and the USA, where Africa-specific political science took a major hold, he moved to the western shores of Lake Victoria in Tanzania to work for an award-winning education-focused NGO in tandem with the Tanzanian government.

With a desire to engage with the safari industry full time, he moved into the running of safari camps for some of southern Africa’s leading outfitters in Zambia, Malawi and Botswana before qualifying as a nature guide and leading horseback safaris in South Africa. Included in this period was a brilliant few months managing a surf and yoga lounge in Mozambique where frequent diving amongst whale sharks and giant mantas was an undoubted highlight!

Jake’s Personal Favourites:

I prefer nothing more than to be active and I’m most content when on ‘off-the-vehicle’ safaris. Must do’s include walking in Zambia’s South Luangwa valley in combination with canoeing the channels feeding the Lower Zambezi River; trekking lemurs in eastern Madagascar and/or hiking in the stunning Isalo National Park; birding amongst enchanting fever tree forests in South Africa’s north eastern Pafuri region; horse riding off-the-beaten track through Lesotho; identifying and photographing the vibrant reed frogs whilst floating on a mokoro (dugout canoe) in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

For pure predator action - venture into the Linyanti region (north eastern Botswana) following hyena and wild dog interactions as well as the hunting antics of the lion populations.

For rarities - seeing desert-adapted lion and elephants in the middle of the Namibian desert before taking a scenic flight over the Atlantic seaboard. Horse-riding, walking and camping on the Zanetti Plateau, home to the critically endangered Ethiopian Wolf. Tracking black rhino by foot in Kenya or Namibia is a must.

For ‘cultural options’ - spending a day or two with the semi-nomadic Hadzabe tribe in northern Tanzania and re-living history at the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer battlefields in South Africa with a leading expert.

A staple of any trip to Africa are the sunsets. By kayak (or any water vessel) on Lake Malawi is particularly spectacular, all accompanied by a cocktail composed of the country’s famous gin!


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