The Mountain Gorilla is an endangered species with an estimated number in 2010 of 790. Thanks to the work of zoologist Dian Fossey and the success of the movie “Gorillas in the Mist”, their plight has caught the imagination of the world. On a gorilla trekking safari, it is possible to enter their habitat with a skilled gorilla guide and spend a short time in the company of a gorilla family.
Sitting within a small family group of some of the closest relatives to humans is one of the world’s greatest wildlife experiences and a gorilla safari is a ‘must’ for serious wildlife enthusiasts. An hour spent with a Mountain Gorilla family is a very tranquil, relaxing and therapeutic experience, allowing us to realise how simple life really can be, and just how complicated we humans have made our own lives. Contrary to the “King Kong” myth of an aggressive, savage beast, gorillas are social animals that are rather shy, peaceful vegetarians with a strong family structure.
Gorilla Trekking is possible in 3 countries: Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC. In Uganda they are found in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. In Rwanda they are found in the Volcanoes National Park, on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains. Both these destinations are accessible to tourists. Rwanda now has seven habituated gorilla groups, the largest number of in Africa, making it the prime gorilla trekking destination.
Gorilla Trekking is carefully monitored and only a certain number of permits are issued every day, which means advance booking is necessary. One permit gets you one hour with the Gorillas. Your gorilla guide will give you a briefing before the trekking commences. Walking conditions can be tough, with thick rainforest, valleys and steep hills, often in very wet conditions. It is sometimes necessary to walk for 5-7 hours before you find a Gorilla group. However, the experience is so rewarding that most travellers book a second trekking trip the following day! As David Attenborough once said, “There is more meaning in exchanging glances with a gorilla than with any other animal I know.”
Meet the Team
+27 87 353 7868 [email protected]
I first started with Pembury Tours as a Personal Assistant to the MD on a mornings-only basis way back in November 2004. This very quickly turned into a full time position and I gained extensive behind the scenes knowledge supporting the tour consultants in the office.
I took a short break in 2014, but realised that Pembury was so close to my heart and jumped at the chance of becoming a consultant in 2016. Until very recently I was based in the UK experiencing a little of the northern hemisphere way of life.
I simply love organising! Researching destinations, preparing itineraries, and taking care of clients’ arrangements are just some of the key aspects of my work. It’s also about getting to know my clients from the word ‘go’, to ensure that we create a holiday to meet their expectations.
Although I have a strong administrative background, I also studied tour guiding and this has given me a good understanding of local history and the sights. This has been really helpful when preparing tours for clients and I’m especially pleased to hear back from my clients after a tour with the highlights of their experiences.
+27 87 353 7870 [email protected]
I joined Pembury Tours in 2002 as a trainee tour consultant after returning to South Africa from the United Kingdom. Whilst living in London I loved researching and planning holidays and sightseeing trips for myself, and I am now really enjoying planning memorable tours for clients. I did a degree in micro-biology, so I suppose, in tourism terms, I was a “blank canvass” when I started at Pembury!
I really enjoy the interaction with clients and I take particular delight in arranging itineraries for my repeat clients. One develops an intuition for someone’s likes and preferences and it is so rewarding getting feedback letters from clients once they have returned home.
I had great fun planning my own honeymoon in 2010 and have researched the numerous romantic getaways available in Southern Africa, so I especially enjoy assisting honeymoon clients who would like to plan their romantic holiday-of-a-lifetime.
+27 87 353 7871 [email protected]
I have been involved in the hotel and tourism industry since 1993 and with Pembury since 2001. Since qualifying as a hotel manager, I have been fortunate enough to have worked in many of the best hotels and lodges in different areas of South Africa. This has given me a great local knowledge of my country. I have a lifelong dedication to travelling in Africa and, after having lived in game reserves for more than 4 years, they are still a passion for our family getaways.
As a natural progression, I joined Pembury Tours as a consultant, after settling in Port Elizabeth. My responsibilities include tailor-making itineraries to suit the client’s requirements. From making the reservation, compiling the travel documents, including maps and directions, to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable holiday, I know that the perfect holiday is made up of many facets and the effective combining of these services ensures the clients their “great African vacation”.
I am currently running our Botswana office and I specialise in holidays to this area.
+27 82 511 3922 [email protected]
I grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape of South Africa where from a young age we hosted many international guests in our family run lodge and this is where I began my love for tourism, conservation and building interpersonal relationships with people who at the time felt like they came from worlds away. I was blessed to be raised in the beautiful South African bushveld where I cultivated an intense passion for photography which I still enjoy today.
I have been privileged to meet incredible people and see amazing areas of Southern Africa which I truly want others to experience for themselves, not just through photographs. I thrive on listening to stories that other people tell around the boma fire or dinner table while I am visiting these places and thoroughly enjoy sharing our experiences of living in Africa with them. I very quickly realised that there are two types of traveller: the “once in a lifetime” client who has saved for this and only this trip to Africa and the seasoned traveller who is blessed with the means to travel regularly to different destinations. Both types of client deserve and require the same amount of planning, assistance and attention to detail when organising their travels to Africa. I have seen how my fellow consultants always go the extra mile for every client and the joy that this brings all of us when clients send us feedback on their experiences – This makes our hearts happy!
+27 87 353 7872 [email protected]
My passion for travel began at a young age. I was fortunate enough to visit Mozambique when I was 10 years old and I fell in love with Africa and travelling. Not being sure what I wanted to study after leaving school, I decided to travel to Israel and work on a kibbutz. The travel bug bit and for the next 10 years I worked abroad in various countries.
Africa has always been in my heart and I returned home and began working in the travel industry. I have been in the travel industry since 2005. My career started as a travel consultant where I mostly focused on flight bookings and sending South Africans out into the world. After 10 years I was ready for a change and changed the direction of my clients travelling. I now have the privilege of bringing the world to Africa. I began my journey with Pembury Tours in 2015.
I am family-oriented and enjoy a good laugh. My passion is people and travel so putting together an African dream holiday tour is a joy and a blessing!
+27 87 353 7869 [email protected]
I have been with Pembury Tours since we started in 1996. Over the years I have taken on various roles within the company – from tour consulting, guiding, website design & marketing and general marketing. Apart from giving me a good grounding in all the sections of the company, it has also given me the opportunity to travel all over the world – always returning to this amazing country I call home.
Safaris are my passion and I am also qualified as a safari guide. I know from experience what you as a guest are looking for and what is important to you when on safari. I understand that this is most often the main reason for your trip to our part of the world and it is my job to ensure that your safari experience not only meets, but exceeds your expectations.
Family trips and safaris are also something that lies close to my heart – as a mother with two young children, I know the importance of finding child-friendly accommodation for family holidays.
+27 87 353 7873 [email protected]
I am one of the owners of Pembury Tours and set up the company in 1996 with my husband shortly after our return from a 6-year stay in the United Kingdom, during which time I worked in London and also did a Master’s Degree in Linguistics at Cambridge University.
My principal function at Pembury Tours is ensuring that we maintain a consistently high standard of work. This means I work very closely with my tour consultants as well as my administration staff. I manage to spend about half my time tour consulting, something that I really enjoy! I love the challenge of compiling an itinerary for clients that meets all the criteria they have given me. My love of wildlife means that I especially enjoy working on safari itineraries but I also like drawing up itineraries that include a “bit of everything” for first-time visitors – Cape Town, beaches, game viewing, African culture and historical insight. As a mother with teenage children, I know the importance of looking for more adventurous activities that will keep them entertained and ensure a great family holiday. I am extremely well-travelled and particularly enjoy using my knowledge of travel to put together complex itineraries for discerning travellers.
+27 87 353 7875 [email protected]
My love for wildlife, nature, travel and adventure began at a very young age. My parents used to take me to various game reserves within South Africa. I was immediately drawn to our country’s natural beauty and wildlife. I soon fell in love with the idea of travelling. I have been fortunate enough to travel through most of South Africa by road, go on a safari in Kruger, Madikwe, Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, relax on the beaches of Zanzibar and explore the United Kingdom.
I decided to take Tourism as a subject in school. This made me realise that Tourism is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! I went on to study Tourism at college with the long term goal of becoming a Tour Consultant. I started at Pembury Tours straight out of college as an admin assistant. I assisted the tour consultants with documents, directions and basic admin. I was soon promoted to the position of Tour Consultant.
I may be young, but I am super-organised. The feeling I get when planning someone’s dream vacation, whether it is for a couple, a group of friends or for a family, cannot be put into words. Interacting with clients, catering for their needs and sharing my experience with the clients are all part of the joy this job brings me!