Many people ask what the differentiator is with an INTO THE WILD safari experience?
Without bias or conceit, we would have to say it is the guide who hosts you for the duration of your trip. More than simply a glorified hand-holder, we'd like to think that traveling with a private guide enhances your safari across a number of areas... from assisting you curate the perfect itinerary before you travel, to working closely with you to ensure you bring (& get the most out of) the optimal mix of gear & photographic equipment; from providing a personal insight into the natural worlds in which we spend time with you, to contributing towards a sense of continuity as you travel from wild place to wild place. But mostly, we feel that we get to know each & every one we travel with quite intimately and as such, we grow to have a deeper understanding of your needs & likes, which allows us to constantly adapt & improve your experience to achieve a truly life-changing wilderness travel adventure.
ROB JANISCH & NEIL DAMPIER have been closest of friends for over 20 years now, spending much of that time messing around in the bush together in multiple countries across Africa, and we continue to get our kicks in the wild spaces around the globe.
Read more about each of us below...
As founder & idiot-in-chief of the INTO THE WILD travel experience, my primary gig is to expose people to the wilds of Africa & beyond, re-connecting them to some of the myriad natural wonders to be discovered out there, & essentially, to themselves...
Despite the rather Germanic-sounding surname (Janisch, pronounced like Danish, but with a YAY-), I am born & bred in Africa, and so my love of all things wild started at a young age. Wonder years spent at a school set on an estate teaming with African critters and beasties of every kind, with big rocks to climb & high waterfalls to jump off, only enhanced my passion for being out there, in the wild. After completing two very different degrees at university (Arts & Biokinetics), with majors covering a smorgasbord of subjects from English literature, Philosophy & Art History to Human Anatomy & Physiology, I realised I didn't really know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life..!
Education & teaching was an early leaning - but the formal side of it got me a bit flustered. Taking a break was what I felt the doctor ordered, and this I did, applying to be a guide at the celebrated MalaMala Game Reserve, and committing to a couple of seasons 'in the bush' introducing the wilds to guests from all over the world. This time made me realize two things - I could never really go back into formal employment in the city again, and that the bush was able to satisfy curiosities & spiritual needs of mine in a way nothing else had or would. From that epiphinac moment, I have since worked for close on twenty years as a private guide, consultant, lodge manager & camp owner in the wilds of Southern & East Africa.
Rather than simply hosting same-old-same-old safaris, I like to introduce a more holistic side to wilderness travel, where my guests can take something more than just some wild photographs home with them. I like to try re-connect folks with their own human nature - by which I mean literally people's (mostly long lost) connection with nature. Coming from, and being part of nature means we have a much deeper connect with things wild and can learn a whole lot more from it all than perhaps we are doing at the moment. I have a fascination with all things living, wild & woolly and am truly inspired by the Genius of Nature, a subject about which I regularly consult to big organizations on, present on & facilitate specialist safari expeditions on to living laboratories around Africa. When I am not messing about in the bush, I can be found hanging out in a hammock with my favorite people, my uber-cute daughters - Lula & Indie, back home in Zimbabwe...
Born & raised in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, I spent as much time as possible outdoors and was fortunate to be exposed to wild places & creatures at a young age. These childhood experiences instilled in me a lifelong curiosity and passion for wildlife & wilderness. After completing my university studies, I joined Rob as a guide at the renowned MalaMala Game Reserve. There, with the number of incredible wildlife interactions I was exposed to daily, I was drawn to the creative outlet that photography provided me - with its potential to communicate my fascination with nature to a greater audience. It was a passion that has continued to grow & follow me around the globe.
An unexpected opportunity saw me leave African shores to spend several years as first mate & thereafter as captain aboard a private expedition mega-yacht. This afforded me the opportunity to lead trips to explore exotic far-flung locations. After a short stint in the corporate world I subsequently spent several years working in leadership roles in non-profit organizations with a focus on conservation & education. This included national park restoration in Mozambique, where I continued to guide as a specialist private guide.
Today I get to combine my diverse experiences & knowledge as a photographic guide, conservationist & educator to create unique travel experiences; connecting people to nature, culture &, ultimately, themselves. In hosting authentic, transformative wilderness experiences, my hope is to offer people a different perspective on the natural world around them & instill the desire to conserve it. This is further enhanced through my work to assist my guests with their own photographic documentation of their experiences. I feel that the change of perspective that photographic technology provides today becomes a lasting transformational tool.
When not out in the wilds exploring, I teach graduate classes in sustainability at Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, or am otherwise found photographing, running trails and generally enjoying life.