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africaI never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke, that I was not happy. Travelling to Africa and going on Safari is a Once in a Lifetime-Experience  — Ernest Hemingway

The word Safari comes from the Kiswahili word for a journey, and for most people a Safari to Africa is indeed the journey of a lifetime. Justifiably so, for the vast eco-regions of sub – Saharan Africa are home to perhaps the richest wildlife areas in the world.

East Africa has spectacular landscapes which are quintessentially African, from the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, the limitless plains of the Serengeti, the wonders of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, to Uganda`s glorious lakes and forested mountains, and Kenya`s game-rich wild areas.

Southern Africa, which includes Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, has an array of landscapes and vegetation types from grasslands and forests, to heavily lush bush areas and also semi-deserts. Three of Africa`s greatest rivers bisect the vast areas, and add enormously to the beauty, vegetation, and concentrations of wildlife.

The Republic of South Africa lies on the southern tip of the continent, and is a tapestry of fascinating contrasts. Here you will find an array of wildlife that is an irresistible magnet. South Africa is at the forefront of wildlife conservation, with some 1,000 national parks and private game reserves spread across the subcontinent.

img01646South African game reserves are well known as the prime “Big Five” destination areas in Africa. However, other creatures including giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs, African wild dogs, and a host of antelope and bird species, are no less intriguing.

No visit to Africa is really complete without a visit to glorious Cape Town at the bottom of the continent. This city has become one of the top five travel destinations in the world. A very large variety of beautiful landscapes and seascapes are on offer for sightseeing, with a host of activities to choose from.

The nearby Cape wine-region mainly surrounding Stellenbosch is beyond comparison for its mountainous beauty. The wine estates have over many years become internationally famous for the production of a variety of award winning wine cultivars since the settler years circa 1680.
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BACKGROUND TO THE AFRICAN COLLECTION SAFARIS ORGANIZATION AND THE MEN AND ASSOCIATIONS THAT HAVE INSPIRED ITS CREATION AND ITS FUTURE GROWTH

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Gavin Michelmore – CEO of The African Collection

The African Collection Tour Operator Organization has existed for the past 18 years for the pleasure of discerning travellers who wish to have the ultimate exclusivity of Africa`s finest game lodges and reserves at their disposal.

The African Collection focuses mainly on a specialized number of distinct itineraries covering the very best eco-regions.

Special bespoke tailor-made tours can be created for clients covering all regions. 

For details of The African Collection’s operational partners for all Tours, please see section entitled Partners.

A big feature now available in the Collection is the range of Adventure Experiences – including walking safaris, mobile camps and special animal tracking activities (“The Great African Experience”).

A theme of guest education on fauna and flora dominates these experiences.

Focus is also given to the amazing spectacle of great wildlife migrations in East and Southern Africa (“Magnificent Migrations”).

With fun loving American clients

With fun loving American clients

In a nutshell, superb hospitality, highly personalized service and a range of unique environmental and wildlife experiences confer to make the African Collection Organization and its operations one of the finest available anywhere.

The African Collection is very grateful to Mercedes-Benz SA for the assistance in working capital and marketing funds that it afforded the fledgling business in its early years.  Mercedes dealerships thus benefited with incentives and rewards for top performing staff to experience The Great Migration in Kenya.

Although the lodges and camps given attention in this website are very luxurious, The African Collection is very aware of client budgetary constraints. As a consequence, it is completely feasible to substitute less expensive accommodation, without sacrificing much in comfort — and virtually no sacrifice in general service. The African Collection specializes in a Full Service Included approach, but is aware that some potential clients believe that booking through the Internet is less expensive — this is not necessarily so at all, and full support service is sacrificed.

Is that the way to go for the “Trip of a Lifetime”? As Bill Gates once stated: the Internet should not be a threat for “the highly experienced Tour Operators who deliver specialist knowledge and care, often in a complex environment”.

The Founder and Chief Executive of The African Collection Organization is Gavin Gordon Rossiter Michelmore. Based In Cape Town, he is a former chief executive of Southern Sun Resorts (a subsidiary of SAB Miller Breweries),and also the Consultant for Marriott / Ritz Carlton Hotel Group (the world`s largest) for hotel development in South Africa. Gavin is well known internationally and he has been at the forefront of the hospitality industry with some 25 years’ experience.

Watching wonderful elephants in Chobe

Watching wonderful elephants in Luangwa Zambia

Gavin was born in South Africa, of British heritage.  He is a graduate of Rhodes University, the University of Cape Town, and the Graduate School of Business – Stanford University USA. Aside from his business activities, he is presently hard at work with a lengthy Doctoral Dissertation on Wildlife Migrations, Saving Endangered Migratory Species, and Elephant Conservation – the latter in association with the Tusk Trust, chaired by Prince William of Britain. 

Gavin learnt communication and public speaking from Dale Carnegie and Toast Masters programs. But he rates the most difficult task and white knuckle moment of all was flying Solo for the very first time – to get his pilot’s license. 

 "About to take-off "

About to take-off – for a bit of fun

At Stanford Business School, there were two famous name assistant professors who wrote a book which became a textbook on how to create an incredible company.  This book is called: “In Search of Excellence” by Tom Hopkins and Robert Waterman.

In Search of Excellence was published with absolutely no notice.

America at that time of the early 1980`s was in the tank (like the rest of the World) : Inflation was 10%, Interest rates (prime) were 20%, Unemployment was 10%.

In a nutshell the message in the book was that the underlying feature of Great Companies was exceptional Service orientation. Amongst the corporates that were named as achieving this lofty goal was Marriott Hotels.

(No question : The African Collection organization has tried very hard over the years, to distance itself from its direct niche competitors by paying attention to the lofty goal).

Tracking with American clients

Tracking with American clients

Gavin grew up under the influence of his father, who studied metaphysics. This led to an appreciation of Karma and Yoga, and the great natural things on earth – hence the unfolding of a desire to put great effort into protecting and conserving Nature.

He rates his best conservation contribution as influencing and persuading CEO Mercedes-Benz SA, Christof Kopke, to loan a few huge trucks to the Kruger National Park management for 5 years – for the purpose of translocation of excess elephants – but provided a moratorium on the culling of elephants was applied.

Backed by an American philanthropist, Gavin then flew to the Head Office of Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart Germany to see the Group CEO, Jurgen Schrempp, to tie up the relocation trucks arrangement and get his blessing and support. The activity of translocation of elephants was successful, with a large number being moved to new game reserves over the years.

Twenty years later the moratorium on elephant culling in Kruger Park is still in place – a win-win for everybody appreciating the conservation of these huge, magnificent and intelligent beasts.

If you do the math, saving 800 elephants every year from this highly controversial policy of culling (being shot from helicopters), for the past 20 years, represents quite a large number of elephants being Saved — thus far.

Please see PowerPoint presentation on Saving Elephants in section on Conservation.

mandela-jailGavin met President Nelson Mandela a few times. Soon after Nelson Mandela was released from 27 years of imprisonment, Gavin had a private meeting with him to discuss wildlife tourism. Mr Mandela assured Gavin that he would go to the mighty Serengeti with him – but provided Gavin voted for his Party at the next elections. This was sealed with a big smile and a handshake – suffice to say that by the time Mr Mandela was ready to retire, he was a little too old for this adventuresome trip. True story!

AND NOW BACK TO WILD AFRICA

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