In my former days as a travel consultant, when I was focused on a trip’s logistics, recommending a private guide for clients was based on the guide’s role as a coordinator. Having someone with the client, to liaise with pick up transfers, hotels and airlines, ensures the smooth running of their itinerary. In addition to that, on a multi-camp itinerary, a guide adds consistency, relaying what you’ve enjoyed, what you’re yet to see as you move through the trip. Plus, for small groups, having someone take the lead ensures that all members of the party get to put their mobiles away, and be fully present.
Now, with my writing / creative, hat on, the first words that sprang to mind were the energy and passion that private guides bring to an itinerary. I’ve always marvelled at the passion that guides have for their field, having found their calling, enthusiasm radiates out of them, and in sharing it freely, they inspire others to do the same.This is especially true of Antonia Stogdale, who is currently working out of the Laikipia, Northern Kenya.
A young British-born guide with Kenyan ancestry, Antonia is a wonderful example of someone who has followed her heart. By exploring and developing her many passions; cooking, crafting, nature, horse-riding, and traditional uses of plants, she was led back to her Kenyan roots, where she now lives with her similarly talented safari entrepreneur husband, Sam. A dynamic couple, they’d be the ideal guiding duo for those who like to be active on a safari itinerary. Horseriding, tick, yoga, tick, creativity, tick, bush walks, tick – and a lot of fun around the campfire! In Antonia’s words, ‘I believe that everyone’s safari is unique to them and should capture the true meaning of the word ‘safari’, meaning ‘journey’ in Swahili. It’s a physical, mental and spiritual experience, illuminated not only by wildlife, but by people, creative energy and engaging all senses’.
With a chef’s qualification from Leith’s School of Food and Wine, a published cookery book, and now a bush cookery school, Antonia’s Kitchen, food will be a central theme to any Stogdale-guided itinerary. As will people. Having worked with the local Maasai in remote northern Kenya for a number of years, Antonia went on to launch Antassia, creating beautiful traditional beaded bags and jewellery, as well as a source of empowerment and income for women in rural communities. All amazing achievements, especially given the range.
So, for everyone interested in safaris with an emphasis on adventure, culture, cookery and the importance of journeying as much into the self as the world outside, look no further. With Antonia and Sam as your guides and travel companions, you’ll be introduced to their combined passions, and their friends, dotted across Kenya, a tribe of like-minded people, from yoga teachers, artists and wildlife experts to kitesurfers, yachtsman and helicopter pilots. Ensuring a colourful and flavoursome itinerary, and no doubt, an inspired you, who knows what hidden talents will be uncovered for you.