Olivia grew up in the south of England, but her family frequently embarked on holidays, which fuelled her love of travel from an early age. Their trip to Kenya in her early teens was a game-changer and she knew that she wanted to return to Africa as soon as possible.
At the University of Leeds, Olivia completed an Environmental Science degree where her primary interests were in sustainable development and wildlife conservation, while her dissertation investigated the impacts of climate change on crop production in Ghana.
She spent the next couple of years volunteering in Australia and Malaysian Borneo, mixing in a couple of winters working in The Alps, and joining conservation projects in Namibia and South Africa.
Olivia spent a number of months living in Damaraland, volunteering for a project that aimed to reduce instances of human–wildlife conflict between farmers and villages with the desert elephants that roamed this part of the country. This experience included sleeping on a mat and cooking over the fire, and days were spent in the bush working and monitoring the herds – a simple yet extremely rewarding adventure.
In South Africa, Olivia was based at Kariega Game Reserve on the Eastern Cape as part of their volunteer programme, which helped manage the reserve’s biodiversity and predator monitoring. Time off was spent galloping along the beaches and enjoying the wildlife on her doorstep – she was often not able to get into the volunteer house as there’d be a bull elephant in the way!
On return to the UK, working in the African travel industry seemed like an obvious choice at this stage. Olivia spent five years working for a London-based safari specialist, where she enjoyed numerous research and personal trips to Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. It is this first-hand knowledge of East Africa that has enabled her to create tailored itineraries, a skill she looks forward to expanding to include Southern Africa in the future.