Our Guides

Russell Gammon

Russell Gammon’s family have lived in Zimbabwe since 1892 and as one of Africa’s leading Professional Guides, he has been conducting photographic safaris throughout Southern and East Africa for over 25 years. He currently works with National Geographic and Smithsonian Institute, as well as many of the top Universities’ alumni travel programs and his services are highly sort after, as a Private Guide by discerning travellers seeking to get the most out of their time in Africa.

In addition to his encyclopaedic knowledge of Africa’s wildlife, he is also an authority on the life of David Livingstone and the Exploration of Africa. A gifted communicator, Russell has lectured extensively on these and other topics, as far afield as Singapore, Hong Kong and the USA.

Specialist Mantis Tour:  

Anywhere in Africa

Accommodation:

Any of the Mantis Game Reserves and Boutique hotels spread throughout the continent of Africa

Rob Caski

Rob Caski was born and raised in the Natal Midlands. Rob worked in Botswana as a photographic safari guide and assisted with wildlife film-making in the Okavango Delta before travelling extensively around the world for 4 years. These travels began with the Afrika Odyssey Expedition led by Kingsley Holgate, traversing Africa from Cape Town to Cairo in 1993. Speaking Zulu and with a great interest in people, Rob has lectured on the Anglo Zulu War since March 2001.

He worked alongside his great mentor and friend, David Rattray for 6 years before David’s tragic death. Rob has lectured extensively in the United Kingdom and South Africa. His topics include the Scott-Amundsen race to the South Pole and In the Footsteps of Dr. David Livingstone.

Specialist Mantis Tour:

Livingstone/Victoria Falls area on the legend of Dr. David Livingstone – In the Footsteps of Livingstone.

Accommodation:

Stanley & Livingstone

Valentine Warner

Valentine Warner grew up on a farm in Dorset, from a young ages showing a love of food & nature. Valentine starting a career as a painter, at 23, couldn’t resist the call of the kitchen and decided to focus his time on cooking instead of painting. His first job was at the Halycon restaurant in London; for the next five years he brushed up on his cookery skills, working under chefs including Alastair Little and Rose Carrarini.

He started his television career on the BBC in Autumn 2008 with What to Eat Now, a cookery programme based on his book of the same name. He has continued to feature prominently on UK TV Food and most recently on the BBC’sRation Book Britain. His other series include, Coast to Coast (Good Food Channel), Perfect (Good Food Channel), My Kitchen (Good Food Channel), series 2 of Great British Food Revival (BBC2) & Love Your Garden (ITV).

Specialist Mantis Tour:

An expert in Bush cooking and foraging, Valentine is available at Mantis properties spread throughout Africa and the rest of the world to teach you how to work with nature to create delicious outdoor feasts for the food loving traveller.

Accomodation: 

A variety of Mantis properties, including Game Reserves

Alberto Heras

Alberto Heras is an acclaimed photographer with a communications degree from California State University and a minor in art (photography and ceramics). Mantis is able to tailor make a photographic expedition with one of Europe’s finest photographers

Specialty Mantis Tour:

Africa Specialist

Accommodation:

Zambezi Queen and Stanley & Livingstone

Ben Fogle


Ben Fogle 
is a presenter, writer and adventurer. His achievements include racing 160 miles across the Sahara Desert in the notorious Marathon Des Sables. He has rowed the Atlantic Ocean in fourty nine days and crossed Antarctica in a foot race to the South Pole.

He has presented numerous programmes including BBC’s Animal Park, Wild In Africa, Countryfile, Crufts, One Man and His Dog and Extreme Dreams. He writes regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and The Independent and has written four bestselling books. He is an ambassador for WWF, Medecins Sans Frontier and Tusk, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the President of the Campaign for National Parks.

Specialty Mantis Tour:  

Mantis River Journeys in Southern Africa

Accommodation:

Zambezi Queen

Kenth Fjellborg


Kenth Fjellborg
 
was born in Poikkijärvi where the Fjellborg family has lived for nine generations. Kenth got involved in sled dogs as a teenager and after winning his first sled dog race in 1989, Kenth travelled to Alaska to learn more about the competitive side of the sport. In 1994 he fulfilled his dream of taking part in the legendary Iditarod, finishing in style among the top twenty.

Since the year 2000, Kenth has focused solely on producing qualitative sled dog adventures for tourists in Swedish Lapland. However, he does not rule out a return to the competitive side of the sport in the future.

Specialty Mantis Tour: 

Ice Hotel combined with a sled dog adventure into the Lapland wilderness to seek out its wildlife and the northern lights.]

Accommodation:

Ice Hotel (and the Warm Hotel) and a night in a remote wilderness camp.

Amit Sankhala


Amit Sankhala
 was born a grandson of an Indian forest officer and as a son of a renowned wildlife tour operator, Amit has rambled in the remote forests since he was a month old. Wildlife conservation has remained an integral part of the Sankhala heritage. Shri Kailash Sankhala (Amit’s grandfather) was a celebrated personality in the field of wildlife.

He was a distinguished forest officer with the Indian Forest Service and Founding Director of Project Tiger, launched in 1973 which was commended as the most successful conservation program at that time. Amit Sankhala has vowed to continue the legacy of the Sankhala family by carrying forward the mission of nature conservation and wildlife tourism.

Specialty Mantis Tour: 

India

Olly Steeds


Olly Steeds
 
is an internationally acclaimed explorer, adventurer, investigative journalist and host of Discovery Channel’s Solving History (Mystery Investigator). Mantis’ mantra of Conserving a Vanishing Way of Life is close to Olly’s heart and he specialises in living and documenting the lives of tribal people around the world from New Guinea to the Amazon and from the Sahara to the Congo.

Oliver is a critically acclaimed independent broadcast journalist and works with Channel 4’s Unreported World, Discovery Channel, ABC News, Travel Channel and Al Jazeera English, amongst others, travelling to nearly 100 countries around the globe.

Specialty Mantis Tour:

Rapa Nui, Atacama Desert and Chile Patagonia

Accommodation:

The explora Retreats

Dale Templar


Dale Templar
 is a natural history television producer, travel writer and speaker. While working at the world famous Natural History Unit in Bristol, she series produced “Human Planet” the double BAFTA award winning landmark series for BBC1.

During 22 years working at the BBC and more recently running One Tribe TV her television production company, Dale has specialised in filming abroad in extreme and sometimes dangerous locations with both wildlife and humans, travelling to over 50 countries and to all continents including Antarctica.

In June, Dale was presented with the Cherry Kearton Medal and Award from the Royal Geographical Society for Natural History Photography and Cinematography.

Speciality Mantis Tour:

A journey through Chile

Accommodation:

explora Patagonia and explora Atacama

Olly Williams & Suzi Winstanley


Olly & Suzi
are two British artists who specialise in collaborative painting of wildlife. Since 1993, they have taken part in more than fifty expeditions to remote regions of the earth to paint predators and prey at close proximity in their natural habitats. In some works they solicit assistance from the subject in the form of paw prints or bite-marks.

Their joint work has been exhibited internationally in galleries including the Simon Dickinson and Briggs Robinson galleries in New York, and the Natural History Museum in London. Specialists in bespoke private and guided African Safaris and Arctic wilderness expeditions, they will guide Mantis guests to the many wonders that the wilderness has to offer.

Specialty Mantis Tour: 

East Africa is their passion and speciality; enjoy the natural wilds of East Africa in simplistic style with Olly and Suzi.

Patrick Woodhead

Patrick Woodhead spent eight years exploring some of the most remote places on the planet; from the Amazon jungle to the cold deserts of Antarctica, before settling down to write his first thriller novel, The Cloud Maker. Based on a real life expedition to Tibet in 2004, the book is the first of three adventure thrillers that draw on many of Patrick’s own experiences.

Patrick currently divides his time between London and South Africa with his family. He also spends three months of each year running his luxury safari company in Antarctica, White Desert, which takes clients on bespoke adventures into the interior of this magnificent continent.

Specialty Mantis Tour: 

A ten day tour of the Antarctic to explore its natural undiscovered wonders, including a tour to view the Emperor Penguins.

Accommodation:

White Desert

Sue Flood

Sue Flood is an award-winning professional wildlife photographer & author who has been working in the Polar regions since 1998, although her work increasingly takes her to warmer climes to thaw out.

Sue spent 11 years with the world-renowned BBC Natural History Unit, fulfilling a lifelong ambition to work with her childhood (and adult!) hero Sir David Attenborough. Sue worked on series including The Blue Planet and Planet Earth, as well as the Disneynature movie Earth, before leaving the BBC in 2005 to concentrate on her photography. She also produced a number of BBC wildlife documentaries on killer whales, polar bears & the Inuit of the Canadian high Arctic.

Sue’s adventures on more than 30 trips to the Arctic & Antarctic have taken her from camping at -40°C, living with Inuit hunters on the floe edge, working on Russian icebreakers on trips to the North Pole, to diving with leopard seals in the Antarctic. Sue has also travelled extensively to other parts of the world, from the Russian Far East & Japan to Africa & throughout the South Pacific. Sue is passionate about the use of still & moving images to engage people’s interest in the natural world & regularly lectures on her experiences of wildlife film-making & photography to expedition travel companies, corporate organisations, as well as schools & universities, with the aim of inspiring people to protect the planet.

Sue was delighted to be recognised in this year’s International Photographer of the Year competition, with awards for her book “Cold Places” in the nature book category, & also as runner up for the Travel and Tourism category. Other awards included 2009: International Photographer of the Year – Travel and Tourism winner for a portfolio of images from the Ross Sea, Antarctica; 2008: the Art Wolfe (Best of Festival) Award in the International Conservation Photography Awards; Royal Photographic Society Silver Medal.

Sue lives in North Wales, though she is often to be found in some far-flung location. She is represented by Getty Images.

www.sueflood.com

Specialty Mantis Tour:

Sue also enjoys guiding for tailor-made wildlife photography trips, including the Antarctic, Costa Rica, Rwanda & Zambia.

Bruce van Niekerk

Bruce van Niekerk realised from a young age that two things were evident in his upbringing; that he would follow his grandfather’s footsteps and become a pilot and enjoy Africa’s wildlife areas. He has been flying and guiding people from all walks of life for ten years into Southern, Central and Eastern Africa. He has a wealth of experience as a bush pilot and has 4200 hours at the controls.

He is passionate about wildlife photography and has led over a hundred and fifty assignments into the remotest areas of Africa. Bruce resides in South Africa and spends about eight months of the year flying into the wilderness areas of Africa.

Specialty Mantis Tour: 

Anywhere in Africa.

Accommodation:

Any of the Mantis Game Reserves and Boutique hotels spread throughout the continent of Africa.

Book a Guide

 


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