As a child I always wanted to be a teacher but in 1978, tourism is the path I finally chose. Having worked in every aspect of the business, from cleaning cars, doing transfers, suggesting superb itineraries to managing, I am happiest when I am busy, and when I am teaching agents, clients or our awesome staff something about Africa – you see I still get to be the teacher. I love planning and making long “to do lists”.
My father taught me almost everything I know about tourism. Since taking over the helm when he passed away in 1993, I have learnt a few more tricks of the trade.
I am a Past President of the Rotary Club of Kirstenbosch – and my passion is to make people happy, whether it be a child in a safe-house, making sure travellers have a superb holiday in Africa or entertaining my friends and family – long lunches around the dining room table or out at the pool. If I only had one wish: For my father to be alive in order for him and his five grandchildren to get to know each other. He would have been very proud.
My special moments in life have always, and will always continue to involve my mother, my son and his girlfriend.
Beverley Paterson Ferguson
Born and raised in Johannesburg where I was part of the tourism industry as a child, my father Brian Paterson was a pioneer in tourism to Southern Africa and in our early years, my sisters Jennifer, Lesley and I were involved in meeting many groups and clients, often singing the national anthem on tour coaches after the “meet the South African evenings”.
My career in travel has included working as a Travel Agent, as well as (in my brief break from the family business) being involved in sales for some suppliers.
I have 2 gorgeous “sporty” boys, Brian and Ross. I love long beach holidays with a good book, wildlife (who doesn’t?) and my career. I am an eager cook and enjoy all good food and wine (this of course is evident from my waistline!). I adore spending time with my children, my partner Weston and my family!!
Lesley Paterson Botha
Born in Johannesburg and moved to Cape Town in 1981. I joined the family business in 1982 and have been in tourism ever since. My role is dealing directly with travel advisors and putting together unforgettable vacations in Southern and East Africa.
My husband, Andre works in the business. Our son, Nicholas and daughter, Adrienne, have both ‘flown the coop’ and are successfully engaged in their careers.
My hobbies, besides looking after my family, include road running, mountain biking, gardening, spending time with my family and friends and enjoying new restaurants with delicious food and champagne.
I love travelling and spending time in the bush (on safari), but also have a singular passion for Italy and all fine things that come from this magnificent country.
My life credo is “Under Promise and Over Deliver!”
Sales & Marketing Director
Born in Cape Town, I grew up in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape and I did my schooling there. I moved to Cape Town in 1986 and have lived here since. After finishing my tertiary studies in Management, Marketing and Sales, I started my working career in sales with a pharmaceutical company and then, after a year, took a marketing position with a leading wine and spirits company in Stellenbosch.
In 1994, I joined Trans Africa Safaris, where my role is overseeing all the marketing and sales activities. I know there appears to be hedonist thread here – drugs, booze & travel, but this was totally unintentional!
I am married to Lesley and we have two wonderful children, Nicholas and Adrienne.
My hobbies and interests include tennis, cycling, running, hiking, DIY, gardening, wine and reading. I love the outdoors, nature and especially wild, untouched places. My pet peeve is litter…
Amelie De Klerk
My life began in Paris with vacations to the sea and snow being the escape from the bustling city.
My family moved to sunny South Africa in 1990. After my schooling in Somerset West, I attended Stellenbosch University and received my Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in Management Accounting. I also represented the university in Artistic Gymnastics. After graduating, I gained professional experience in Business and Accounting working for an investment company.
I started with Trans Africa Safaris in 2006. As the Financial Manager, I oversee all the functions of the accounts department, as well as provide support to our tour consultants. I strive to produce work of the highest calibre and love the daily problem-solving!
My husband, Jacques, is a winemaker and we have two delightful daughters, Elodie and Anaïs.
When I was young, I thought the only way for me to see the world was to become an air hostess and travel for work. I now have the perfect job that ensures my travels are with my family and for leisure!
The journey of my professional life has been a whirlwind of wonderful experiences that have honed my capabilities as an individual, and as a member of extraordinary teams.
I love the hospitality industry. There is something magical about walking through a beautiful hotel lobby or watching a chef create a dish that is an absolute inspiration. I also love travel.
After qualifying in Hotel Management, I started my career in operations at the Arniston Hotel under the mentorship of Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald. Then the travel bug bit.
While backpacking abroad, my experiences were many and varied, including maintaining banana plantations and olive picking on a kibbutz. I epitomised the words of John Steinbeck; ‘People don’t take trips – trips take people’.
On my return home I was privileged to be a member of the opening team at Constantia Uitsig. After five years, I joined my first corporate company that specialised in hospitality recruitment. Six years later and having learnt significant lessons about the immense value of teamwork in any business, I joined Mount Nelson Hotel which was, at the time, owned by Orient- Express.
Eighteen years seem to fly like the wind! As Sales and Marketing Director for most of my career at Mount Nelson Hotel, I oversaw sales and reservations, and experienced first-hand many enhancements/upgrades to the hotel over the years. It was wonderful and a privilege to have met so many colleagues and clients who are now friends throughout the world. I am thrilled and excited to have added my energy and years of experience to the incredible team at Trans Africa Safaris.
Mara Lanzetta October
Senior Safari & Touring Specialist
Born in Argentina, I came to South Africa in 2001 to learn to speak English. My intension was to stay for less than a year, but I completely fell in love with this gorgeous country! That was 2001 and I’m still here… I started in the Tourism Industry in 2007, and have been showcasing Southern Africa to travellers since then.
My decision to work in the tourism industry began in 2007 because when I find something special, I love sharing it. I am, and will always be a tourist of the world. I enjoy the luxury of a Top 5 Star Hotel as much as the basic facilities at a camping spot. My heart is set on travelling and discovering new cultures/customs, meeting people, and enjoying what Mother Nature offers us.
I am the Mom of a beautiful boy that lights up my life every minute of every day. I am privileged to have him grow up in this environment surrounded by mountains and sea, and wonderful people.
Senior Safari & Touring Specialist
Having initially planned to be a teacher, life took an interesting turn and I started my working career with SATOUR (South African Tourism Board), in their Guest Relations Department. Being surrounded by people, who were zealous about South Africa, was to ignite a passion for travel.
Five years later, I found my niche within the tourism industry, where I continue to have the privilege of making dream holidays to Africa a reality for our clients! A continent, where there is always something new to discover, explore and experience. But most of all, I believe it is the warmth, welcoming spirit and genuine hospitality of Africa’s people, that will inspire clients during their travels!
I look forward to exceeding the expectations of our clients, and sharing the beauty of Africa with them in the hope that they will leave with memories that will last a lifetime.
Jade van Niekerk
Senior Safari & Touring Specialist
Born and raised in the Mother City, I am a child of Africa and proudly South African. It was by chance that I studied Travel and Tourism, graduating with a diploma in 2001. The knowledge I have gained in the tourism industry has seen my ‘first job’ evolve into a passion; “I create and manage dream vacations which showcase Africa to the rest of the world.”
What keeps me going is the fact that somewhere around the world someone is reminiscing or sharing memories of a visit to Africa that I was involved in planning. With this in mind I am always reminded that my attention to detail affects the outcome of whether a vacation is regarded as mediocre or AWESOME!
My motto: I only have this 1 life, no re-takes, do overs or exchanges. I am an ordinary person created uniquely to do extraordinary things...
Reservations and Touring
Hello everyone. Here’s introducing myself.
Sharon Louise Byrne, born in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. I immigrated to South Africa in 1982 . Cape Town, the Mother City and home to one of the wonders of the world is where I live. Table Mountain - who can say no to seeing that view every day!
I have worked at stunning properties and met some amazing people. Names I cannot drop. As the years went by I decided a career change was needed - in 2008 I joined Trans Africa Safaris – the best decision I have ever made. I really enjoy seeing my clients’ program grow, evolve and become reality… I am a memory maker, which leads into my hobby of scrap booking, greeting cards, beading, pottery (all things crafty).
I am the best aunty around, with two nephews and three nieces….and my “best friend” Cody (my adorable pooch) is a bundle of mischief and much loved in our family. Something that really gets to me is when the ATM pushes out money this way and that.. grrr.. I prefer it to be neat and facing the same way…
Looking forward to meeting you with your holiday plans.
Safari & Touring Designer
As a born and bred Capetonian, for me this is this best city in the world!
I sort of stumbled on to the Travel & Tourism scene back in 2008 after finishing my studies in Advertising. Yes, I know, a far cry from travel!
After working in a few different fields of travel, I’ve found my ‘home’ in inbound tour operating and have never looked back. For me this role encompasses all my favourite parts of the industry.
Helping clients experience the diversity Africa has to offer with its abundant natural attractions, wildlife, friendly people and extraordinary cultures is exciting and challenging for me. My satisfaction from work stems from the certainty that guests will always return home with memories they will never forget.
My interests range from belly dancing and painting to motorbikes and 4x4’ing … basically anything physical or outdoors in nature is the ultimate for me.
Reservations & Touring
Born and raised in the Mother City, I studied at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology where I completed a Tourism Management Diploma. This is my first real job in the tourism industry and am enjoying building my career at Trans Africa Safaris.
I have a gorgeous daughter Sage and a bundle of joy, Daniel (born September 2019). I am family oriented and enjoy spending my free time with my children and my husband Dean.
One of my goals is to use my leisure time to explore the rest of Africa and then the rest of the world with my family.
I love the outdoors and especially the summer season as I enjoy spending time on our beautiful Cape Town beaches.
Reservations and Touring
I was born and raised in Johannesburg. In May 2019, I decided to relocate to the “Mother City” - Cape Town. I love Cape Town – it really is one of the most beautiful cities.
I studied at Travel Learning College in Johannesburg where I completed my Diploma in Travel and Tourism. I truly love, love, love my career because the tourism and hospitality industry fosters so many opportunities and is growing so fast! It is the kind of industry where you can get your start on the frontline, and then move horizontally, or vertically across a variety of career paths. There is always something new to learn and the people in this industry are very open to sharing knowledge and working together for the betterment of the industry.
I enjoy cooking… Spending 30 minutes in the kitchen preparing dinner will put me in a much calmer, less frazzled mood than sitting on the couch for the same amount of time. Plus it gives me an opportunity to nurture my family and friends – to express my love and take care of them. I also like chilling indoors with my family watching soccer, or playing some video games.
Stephen De Witt
IT & Marketing Administration
I was born in Upington. My parents moved around the country regularly, which in turn means I have attended a number of schools. These moves helped me learn so much about our wonderful country and also to grow my confidence. I feel blessed to be a South African.
I matriculated in 2003 and moved to Cape Town where I started boxing – pro amateur and coaching. I have worked at an events company creating props and backdrops. I have been involved in online marketing and online media.
In 2014 I joined Trans Africa Safaris and I am loving every second of it. My main responsibilities are to assist with online media platforms, in-house IT and design for print.
In my personal time I enjoy boxing, movies and competitive online gaming - I have represented South Africa in an online “World Cup”, and we won! With my various teams, we have won numerous medals and trophies.
I am completely in love with all animals. I help out with DARG, a non-profit organization based in Hout Bay.
Michael Paterson Higgins
3rd Generation travel enthusiast, experienced in all styles of leisure. Growing up within the family business, I have always been exposed to meeting international visitors and visiting the most beautiful parts of our region.
My first involvement with Trans Africa Safaris was to meet up with our clients on their day tours and wish them a good trip and hand them a gift from their agent. This was always a happy encounter! My next assignment was assisting with the rates database. It was at this time that I grew to appreciate the many aspects and complexities of our industry.
I joined as a full-time staff member in early 2015. Being able to learn the business from “the best” is a privilege and an honour.
I look forward to working with the many agents who support our company. Send us your clients – we’ll give them their holiday of a lifetime!
I like to incorporate different and unique aspects of African and cultural tourism and am particularly interested in the history and geological foundations that have influenced our world and surroundings that we live in today.
I have a keen eye for new developments throughout the world and the fundamentals that link Africa, our Motherland, to the rest of the world. The vacations I enjoy most, are those that involve natural wildlife and scenery. Safari adventures top my list.
Product & Database Administrator
After a few twists and turns, including a stint at a private cemetery (don’t ask), I find myself in a place that I love. In 2006 I was eager to get a foot into the tourism industry. I took a position in reception, but soon made a bee-line out of there to Database, which I absolutely love.
I view the Product and Database department as being behind the scenes . I do not have the gift of the gab that sales people have, but I do love structure and figuring out how things fit together. This is what I do - I ensure rates and specials are uploaded to help the Senior Safari Specialists do what they do best.
I adore my corner of the world, and in playing my role I am helping to show the rest of the world my piece of heaven.
Accounts - Creditors
Born and having grown up in Cape Town, travelling and exploring places has always been a passion. In January 2006 I found my dream job, the Creditors Department at Trans Africa Safaris. Going the extra mile, ensuring suppliers are paid on time and making sure the Tours Team have my full support is what makes me happy.
I enjoy reading books and spending time with my family in my spare time.
Accounts - Debtors
Born, bred and fed on the Cape Flats, my city, my home, is Cape Town. Positioning myself with this reputable company has ignited my desire to travel. I am learning pertinent skills and I possess the ability to uphold the values of Trans Africa Safaris.
For me it is important that I continue to flourish in my position and to grow as a person. My motto has always been “ Life is too short to live the same day twice”.
My hobbies include exterior design, experiencing the exterior beauty my country has to offer, cuisine whether it be delicious Cape Malay food or a home cooked meal with my handsome son Noah, my family and friends. When I do get a “free” moment I enjoy baking and preparing desserts.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome every traveller to our unique country and I hope they get to experience everything beautiful we have to offer.
General Office Assistant
I started working at Trans Africa Safaris in 2001. I believe that I am the ‘glue’ that holds everything together in this place – I keep the office in ship-shape condition and ensure the team is well fed and regularly provided with tea and coffee.
I was born and raised in Simon’s Town, Cape Town. Favourite holiday destination for my 3 children and I, is the Eastern Cape. My hobbies include spending time with animals, shopping and cooking. I LOVE South Africa!
Johann van Zyl
North American Sales Representative
Born and raised in South Africa, my passion for the African landscape, wildlife, and culture is a natural extension of who I am.
Over two decades ago, after studying and working as a chemical engineer, I moved to the U.S.A. to shift my professional focus and entered the travel industry as an African safari specialist.
I love travelling and have travelled extensively through more than a dozen African nations, including every major safari destination in Southern and East Africa. From witnessing the Great Migration in a hot air balloon over the Serengeti, summiting Kilimanjaro, trekking with primates, to celebrating with sundowners in many stunning settings, I have been privileged to experience the best of the best Africa has to offer. I believe that every safari location offers something unique and that great guides are the key to unlocking those experiences.
I regularly speak at eco-tourism and travel conventions. I was a National Board Member of APTA (the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa). I pride myself on having up-to-date and extensive knowledge of Africa’s tourism products and would love to share this personal knowledge with you.