Antonina Welfing

Safari Specialist

Antonina has lived in more African countries than the average person has visited in their lifetime! She has an incredible breadth of knowledge of both safaris in Southern Africa and holidays on the paradisiacal islands in the Seychelles.

A SNAPSHOT

Raised in Botswana, Antonina spent her childhood in Maun, exploring the Okavango Delta. As she grew up, she was able to travel to other neighbouring Southern African countries before heading out into the world and starting her career in London selling tailor-made holidays to Southern Africa

RECENT TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

Last year, Antonina went on an extended circular highlights trip through Namibia’s northern region. In 2016, she travelled to South Africa, which included exploring Cape Town, the Winelands, Hermanus, the Garden Route, Madikwe Game Reserve, and the Sabi Sands.

EXPERT DESTINATIONS

South Africa, Namibia, Victoria Falls

AFRICAN COUNTRIES VISITED

South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Seychelles

ANTONINA’S BIOGRAPHY

Born in Bolivia, then adopted and raised in Maun, Antonina spent most of her childhood in Botswana. Her introduction to safari life came with weekend trips and school holidays spent exploring Botswana’s diverse landscapes, such as when her family packed up the Landcruiser with wood, food, and a tent, and headed straight to the Okavango Delta. At other times, Antonina and her family would take light aircraft flights across Botswana's waterways, experiencing the region's famous mix of dry and wet camps. With Savuti, Moremi, Chobe, and the spectacular Victoria Falls forming Antonina’s playground, the bush really is her second home.

Following her time in Botswana, Antonina spent a year in India and she was exposed to one of the world’s most colourful continents. She studied in South India in a local school, and whenever she had a break she got out of the classroom to roam both the southern and northern parts of the country. Antonina then continued her schooling in the Maldives.

Briefly, in 2006 , Antonina swapped island paradise life for the African bush and moved to South Africa. She lived there for two years and completed her schooling before heading out to the wildlife-rich archipelago of the Seychelles. Here, she took a course in Tourism and Guiding, and applied her wanderlust to exploring Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue.

Antonina began university in the Netherlands in 2008 and by this time she knew she wanted to pursue a career in Travel. She achieved that goal when she moved to London, and for the past three years she has sold tailor-made holidays to Southern Africa.

MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE

This is a recent experience, from when I was last in South Africa at the Sabi Sands Reserve – when on a game drive, we spotted two male wild dogs! They had just begun to chase some impala. Sadly they lost their prey, and it wasn’t long until we noticed that the boys had lost each other too! So this is where things got really interesting, because one wild dog was on one side of the road and the other was on the opposite side. Both had been searching for each other quite frantically, and after a few times criss-crossing with a distance between them, they eventually found each other again. They were so happy, kissing and wagging their tails and walking away from the vehicles into the bush. This showed true compassion and a strong bond between these beautiful wild dogs.

The other memorable experience happened in my younger years, when I was living in Botswana. My mum and I were in Savuti when our open car broke down by a waterhole. For a good few hours we hid under the car to shelter from the heat, but then we moved over to a small bush. We were waiting for one of those small light aircrafts to fly over so we could signal that we were stranded. But nothing and no one drove by or flew by. So I had this plan to walk a little for help, knowing we were possibly risking our lives. However, a few metres from the car, there were lion tracks! So we decided to track back to the car. At some point we got really hungry and decided to eat biscuits in a small bush near the waterhole. Suddenly two elephants came walking towards us – one ambled off in one direction towards the waterhole, but the other headed straight towards us, with his trunk searching out the smell of our biscuits. Luckily he just moved towards the waterhole before reaching us. Phew! Soon after the elephants left, a small aircraft flew by and my mum and I came out of the bush flapping our arms about and hoping that someone would see us from the sky. By this time, we were sure that our friends back at the lodge where we were staying would realise we were missing. So after about 2 hours, a safari vehicle managed to find us and we jumped on and thankfully were driven back to the lodge. But the best or scariest thing about the whole experience was when we saw that, just 5 or 10 minutes’ drive from where we had been waiting, there was a pride of 15 lions lying in the sun!

Antonina's Top Lodges