In another one of our interview pieces we have the pleasure of learning about South Africa’s safari’s from fellow Edinburgh based travel entrepreneur, Lucy Roodbol, co-founder and safari specialist at Outbound Africa.
You started your working career as a chef in South Africa, tell us about your journey to becoming a Safari Specialist and owner of Outbound in Africa.
The transition from hospitality to tourism was a natural one for me. Whilst working as a chef, I’d constantly be overhearing guests re-telling stories of their wonderful game drives and wildlife experiences, so I was desperate to move from the kitchen to front of house. Since then, I’ve spent the last ten years living and working for various camps, gradually working up the ranks to Camp Manager. My husband, Marnus, and I then decided to take the plunge and set up Outbound in Africa, sharing our knowledge of the African Bush to help create experiences of a lifetime for our clients.
What is it about the travel sector, and South Africa in particular, that you love so much?
I absolutely love to explore and uncover new destinations. I’m a strong believer that travel allows you to embrace and discover different cultures and South Africa has all of this, and so much more. From the Kalahari Desert in the north, where lions pad across sienna dunes, to the Overberg coastline that sees the annual return of southern right whales to calve their young; the majesty of the Drakensberg peaks to the iconic flat-topped mountain that embraces Cape Town, it’s an extraordinary country that people return to again and again.
And what top tip would you give for anyone visiting SA for the first time?
The best advice I can give to anyone visiting SA for the first time, is to make the most of what this beautiful country has to offer. Travel with confidence and freedom, and allow your eyes to be opened.
What (and why) has been your most exciting and unusual travel experience to date?
The most unusual travel experience so far would have to be when I travelled through Southern Africa with my husband, Marnus. He cycled, whilst I drove our Land Rover through some of the continent’s finest countries, including Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. It was an epic self-drive tour that allowed us to see the real Africa, through both the hard times and the good.
Where is top of your next travel to-do list and why?
The next thing on our travel to-do list is to visit the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. One of the few countries left in the world that’s home to these majestic creatures, I’d love to visit them in their natural environment, high up in the mountains. We’d also love to do a tour of Namibia, visiting the famous desert lions that still live in the country’s harsh environment. Africa has my heart, so travelling anywhere on this continent will always be on my travel to-do list.
You are originally from Edinburgh (also the birthplace of The Luxury Editor), what do you love most about this city?
Edinburgh – the Athens of the North. Every time I come back, whether it’s walking out of Waverley Station and seeing the Castle standing proudly on top of the hill or driving across the Queensferry Crossing to Fife, I love the feeling of knowing I am home again. I think it’s because Edinburgh is so vibrant and encompasses many different personalities. From its architectural differences between the Old Town and New Town, to the stunning parks and iconic Arthur’s Seat, there’s a little bit of everything for every kind of person. What’s more, there’s a great pub on almost every street corner to finish up your day in.
And what top tip would you give for anyone visiting (Edinburgh) for the first time?
Take your time exploring Edinburgh. It’s a really manageable size, which means you can pretty much walk anywhere in 20 minutes. First-time visitors should definitely take a jaunt down the cobbled streets of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, which is jam-packed with things to see and do. I’d then suggest heading across to the New Town and down to Stockbridge. There are so many cute little coffee shops around there – I love to grab a takeaway cup and walk to Inverleith Park which has some of the best views of the city!
The term ‘luxury’ is highly subjective and open to personal interpretation. What does it mean to you?
To me, luxury is that level of service and comfort that makes me feel special. It’s a bed that gives me a great night’s sleep, a meal that delights my taste buds, service that makes me think – wow! Luxury is not the service I want to give, it’s the experience you will never forget.
What can Outbound in Africa guests expect of the experience with you?
Guests that book through Outbound in Africa can expect the highest level of service. We can plan, advise and book your trip for you down to the very smallest details. Unlike other travel companies, guests will always deal with the same consultant from start to finish, to ensure the tours are tailor-made, bespoke and completely based around the visitor’s requirements. We believe it’s all about finding what the traveller’s hopes and expectations are for their trip and being able to meet them.
What do you see will be the key luxury travel trends over the next 5 years?
Private guided safaris are definitely set to be a key luxury travel trend over the coming years. Accompanying you from the beginning to the end of your holiday, from destination to destination, privately guided safaris are specifically designed to help you gain the most from your ultimate safari wish list.
Fancy exploring South Africa’s wilderness yourself? Find out more here:
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