Ganders Travel : 12 Questions for Lucinda

Ganders Travel Managing Director, Lucinda, has spent many happy hours on safari and the beaches of the Indian Ocean. We asked her a series of questions to get to know her, and her passion for travel in Africa.

Where does your passion for Africa and safaris come from?

Nearly 20 years ago I volunteered for a charity and we decided to run a Kilimanjaro climb to raise funds. My future was changed as soon as I stepped off the plane at Kilimanjaro airport and I have never looked back. I successfully reached the top and had booked myself four nights in the Masai Mara, Kenya, afterwards as my carrot to help get me to the top.

I returned to London but only a couple of months later had found myself a job in Zambia. My initial ‘stint’ of six months quickly turned into four years working for two of the leading operators in the South Luangwa National Park.

In Africa, the people, the places and the variety are endlessly wonderful. Add to that the sandy shores of the Indian Ocean, either in combination or as a stand-alone destination. It is a part of the world I am passionate about and I love the part I play at Ganders Travel in helping others get the most out of their own holidays to this wonderful continent. 

Ganders Travel : Lucinda
Summiting Kilimanjaro with Ganders Travel

What is your favourite destination and why?

This is a question I am asked a lot and it is a hard one for me to answer as my ‘home’ in Africa is very much Zambia having lived there for four years and with friends still there. However, I always say it depends on what it is you want to experience? For example, if I want to go on a riding safari Zambia, would not be an option.

I think this is the key; my favourite is not necessarily the best for you as there is so much choice – time of year, activities wanted, any children and their ages, particular animals and budget are just some of the factors which come into planning the perfect holiday to Africa. Ganders Travel will spend time to get to know you to ensure we suggest the right destination for you.

Ganders Travel : Lucinda
A riding safari in Botswana with African Horseback Safaris

Do you have a top tip for anyone travelling to Africa?

Don’t overpack! You will be amazed by how little you actually need or use on safari. Light aircrafts have minimal weight allowances and laundry tends to be offered in all camps, as are shampoos etc. Do remember to pack warm clothes and layers – you will be surprised by how cold it can be in the mornings and evenings. The other thing to do is remember to relax and take everything at a slower pace.

Is Africa safe for my children?

Yes. All of the countries which Ganders Travel goes to are safe to travel to whether you are a family, couple or solo traveller. You will be looked after every step of the way from the moment you arrive.

Ganders Travel : Lucinda
Children on safari at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Is there a country you would particularly recommend for families with young children?

All countries will cater to families with young children, though a couple stand out as being particularly good. South Africa has great infrastructure, much of it is malaria free and there is plenty of family friendly accommodation. In addition there is a wide range of activities and experiences to keep young minds engaged and entertained.

Kenya is another brilliant option with many camps being on private land, and having brought there own children up in the bush, the owners know what works for young children, and perhaps more crucially, what doesn’t. Again there are guides who adore children, really good wildlife viewing, different and engaging activities, the coast, and family friendly accommodation.

Is there a country you would particularly recommend for families with teens?

Most of the countries in which we plan safari holidays offer great options for families travelling with older children, with activities such as walking safaris, boat trips and riding safaris. Which country is right will come down to, amongst other things, the individual family, their interests and wishes for their trip together, and the time of year they are planning to travel.

Ganders Travel : Lucinda
Family safari, Luangwa Safari House, Zambia

What still takes you by surprise?

Whilst maybe not a surprise, I never forget that initial feeling when you arrive at your first camp; the sounds, sights and smells of the bush make me feel like I am ‘home’. It is an irresistible combination and a hard feeling to describe on paper.

Do you have a standout memory from your safaris?

There are so many; my flying safari with the Schoeman brothers in Namibia, taking part in a rhino conservation safari and giving the rhino a penicillin injection in South Africa, seeing mountain gorillas fight, realising my dream of riding through the Okavango Delta in Botswana, being  ‘introduced’ to a baby chimpanzee by its mother in Tanzania, seeing a river crossing in Kenya with the wildebeest migration, and so much more.

However, if I had to choose one it would have to be the evenings in camp in Zambia when I would often have half an hour to myself. I would sit on the banks of the river under an ebony tree and just take it all in; the elephants crossing, the hippos ‘chatting’ to each other, the cry of the fish eagle, and crocodiles floating past.

Ganders Travel : Lucinda
View of the Luangwa River, Zambia

Is Africa a good destination for solo travellers?

Safari is an excellent option for solo travellers, and my first ever safari in the Masai Mara was by myself and with Ganders Travel I often travel by myself. You are looked after every step of the way, meeting like minded people and have the space to be on your own as well. Some properties do not charge single supplements and there are also a couple of excellent small group departures should you wish to travel with others.

Why does Africa work so well as a honeymoon destination?

For so many reasons! It is romantic – under the stars, sundowners, beautiful camps etc. It is also very easy to combine activities – such as safari and beach, for time to relax before and after your safari, as well. Many camps and lodges offer incredible honeymoon offers which you can take advantage of. The Indian Ocean is a dream destination; palm fringed white sandy beaches, warm waters, delicious food and endless luxury.

Ganders Travel : Lucinda
A romantic dinner at Singita Sabora, Tanzania

Where do you want to go to next?

I have travelled to all of the countries and destinations in which Ganders Travel operates. Malawi is going from strength to strength with increasingly good safari options and I would like to re-visit a number of these to see the changes for myself.

Most comical safari moment

On every safari you go – no matter how many you have done previously – there is always something new and different to see. A number of these are quite comical, such as a baboon falling off a branch into a muddy pond, or baby elephants learning how to use their trunks, or the adult male elephant who deliberately ‘tickled’ a hippo at the back of a pod sleeping on the sand so they all charged into the water. It shook its head and went back to the bank!

But perhaps the most amusing memory is the one which brought me back to the UK after four years in Zambia – after all how many people can say they have been hit on the wrist by a falling sausage fruit?!

Ganders Travel : Lucinda
Hippo under a Sausage Tree, Luangwa Valley, Zambia

If you are interested in a holiday to East or Southern Africa, or the Indian Ocean, Lucinda would be delighted to assist you in finding the right option for you, so do please contact us.