"I fell under the spell of Africa at a young age."
I fell under the spell of Africa at a young age when I heard stories of my mother’s childhood living in Kenya and their adventures to the Ambolseli in a battered up Army landrover and leaky tent. After a gap year teaching in Jamaica and then travelling round New Zealand and Australia, I studied Anthropology at University, which increased my fascination with foreign cultures. It also gave me a chance for a bit more travelling and I spent the summer holidays in South East Asia, South and Central America.
I eventually ending up organising holidays to Africa, which has given me plenty of opportunities to explore and work in many corners of this incredible continent.
My love is getting off the beaten track into the wilderness areas and having a brilliant guide who brings the place to life. A day in Africa is also not complete with out scrambling to the top of a hill to watch the sun go down which a gin and tonic in hand.
Favourite places I’ve been
South Africa – Europe meets Africa, fantastic restaurants - from the hub of Cape Town to the Wilderness of the Karoo there is something for everyone.
Namibia – Unique lunar landscapes and lots of sand!
Mozambique – Possibly the world’s the most stunning and remote beaches and incredible diving.
Zambia – Famous for its bush walks and guides - from no nonsense bush camps to the new Chinzombo.
Botswana – The Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Salt Pans must be some of the world’s last true wildernesses.
Malawi – Lake Malawi is like a sea and the people so friendly, the Nyika Plateau its best kept secret!
Uganda – Gorilla and chimp trekking and stunning volcanic mountain ranges.
Kenya – Out of Africa scenery – from the Maasai Mara to the rugged scenery of the Laikipia Plateau.
Tanzania – Diving, beaches and fabulous game viewing whether in the vast plains of the Serengeti or the remote Selous Game Reserve.
Mauritius – Great beaches and fabulous hotels.
The Seychelles – Island hopping between Robinson Crusoe islands rimmed with white sand beaches.
Madagascar - Standing in the forest listening to the Indri Lemur calling in the canopy above - the most incredible and eerie sound.
Zimbabwe – The Victoria Falls are stunning - and you have to join the debate as to whether the view is better from The Zimbabwe or Zambian side. Sitting by the pool at Somalisa watching the herds of elephant come in to drink is a must and game viewing on Lake Karibia by boat is fantastic… but you have to resist the urge to go for a swim!
01. Never travel without an oversized suitcase for easy packing, a great camera and a good book to while away time in an airport.
02. Waking up to hearing a herd of elephant feeding over my tent in Kenya’s Maasai Mara and then spotting one of the babies standing on my deck was a pretty special moment.
03. In one bush walk in South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve, we walked up downwind of 3 white rhino, followed by watching a very chilled lioness watching us. Then we opened up a Giant Eagle Owl’s dropping to find a mouse skull, which was fascinating.
04. The views from Lamai Serengeti in Northern Tanzania are mind blowing… even before you add the wildebeest crossing the Mara River into Kenya’s Maasai mara
My hot picks
01. Tswalu – huge space, fabulous views, an habituated family of meerkat and hot air ballooning
02. Rekero - fabulous guides, and a wonderful location in the Mara and awesome game viewing
03. Mnemba - service and food to die for - and Robinson Crusoe would be thrilled with the beautiful cottages. The beach and the diving are incredible as well.
04. Segera Retreats - This is the new Wilderness Safaris lodge on the Laikipia Plateau in Kenya. It is Wilderness Safaris first foray into East Africa and I am very excited about them bringing their high standards of guiding and service to Kenya.
Andrew Rattray at Fugitives Drift
Memories of the Salt Pans
What's new in northern Tanzania
What my guests have said
"Louisa's name is a great card to play! She is well known and liked by everyone - a real door opener."
"Extremely knowledgeable and very responsive and created an itinerary that was exactly what we had wanted and with hindsight, all Louisa's recommendations (e.g. where, order, time split between destinations etc.) were spot on and contributed to the experience."
"Louisa was amazing from the first time we spoke. I asked a gazillion questions and she answered them all with no tone of annoyance at any point :) She was extremely knowledgeable and advised me very well at every stage - big thanks."
"Louisa was great. I only made an enquiry and she'd just about sold me the holiday by following up immediately with info, prices, dates, etc and making provisional bookings. I'm glad she did as we would have hated to have missed it. Great feedback on the difference between Vamizi and other places such as Mauritius. She answered all my pre-holiday questions quickly and helpfully."
"I just wanted to write and say thank you so much for organising a truly wonderful first anniversary trip to Kenya for us. Scott Dunn has once again delivered a very special and unforgettable experience for us. We are extremely grateful."
"I just wanted to write and say thank you so much for organising a truly wonderful first anniversary trip for us. It was a most appreciated touch to have us set up for dinner and a freshen up at the Palacina in Nairobi on the way home. It was a lovely way to break the journey and as a result we arrived home feeling in much better shape than we otherwise would have. Scott Dunn has once again delivered a very special and unforgettable experience for us. We are extremely grateful."
"It's always a pleasure dealing with Scott Dunn. Staff very knowledgable and always happy to go the extra mile."
"Thank you for the amazing trip climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. The entire eighteen day trip was planned and executed flawlessly. My only regret was to not have the opportunity to meet you in person."
"Where to start?! Perfect perfect perfect! How do they get it so right?! Blown away by the service at Birkenhead House in particular - all else fantastic too. Thank you for recommending it and setting it up."
"You never fail us! Whilst we could book our holiday independently going with yourselves creates a blanket of reassurance that things will go smoothly and if they do not then you are there to help."
"Louisa Verney couldn't have been more helpful, especially when we had to change our travel arrangements when we were out there, due to a family funeral."
"Louisa was brilliant - knowledgeable and patient in equal measure."
"Louisa gave perfect recommendations for our interests and was a very knowledgeable advisor. Thank you so much for providing a wonderful honeymoon!"