A family safari to Zambia in 1991 kick-started my love for the continent and its wildlife - I returned, first for four months in Zimbabwe after my A levels, and every year until I gave up the call of the City and decamped to Zambia to train as a guide.
A hidden corner of South Luangwa became my home, where I ran a tiny bushcamp and became involved in various game management projects, as well as introducing my guests to the bush and all the secrets it hides. I have returned nearly every year since. Zambia's guides are the best of the best, and it’s their infectious enthusiasm that has brought me back year after year. I returned to the UK to work in the travel industry, which has given me some incredible opportunities - in over forty trips back to Africa (so far!) I have traveled extensively through Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi and Tanzania - and have just returned from a spectacular trip around South Africa - which is now a firm favorite!
What my guests have said
"Anna was fabulous - wish she'd come too! Very friendly and competent - went above and beyond booking a vacation. Felt so well supported should anything go wrong, which of course it didn't. Great advice and knowledge of the countries. Generally lovely people to work with. Best vacation ever."
"Anna was brilliant. She was knowledgeable, friendly and helpful and really inspired us to book our trip with Scott Dunn. We were very glad we did and have no regrets in our chosen honeymoon destination!"
"Very impressive and extremely helpful managing to keep within our budget and incorporate a number of our suggestions. We are very grateful for her suggestions, especially Goche Ganas and Okonjima."
"It was the best trip we have ever taken...and we've traveled quite a bit. Everything exceeded our expectations, from the original planning of the trip right through to the end. We experienced a great level of service from everyone we met. It was a great surprise to us that Anna had mentioned our 30th wedding anniversary to each of the places we stayed at. From Tongabezi Lodge, who provided a welcome bottle of champagne, to each of the lodges that set up a private dinner for us, we were made to feel very special. It was completely unexpected as I think I just mentioned once to Anna that it we were treating ourselves to this trip for our anniversary. She obviously made a note of it! :)"
"I cannot praise Anna Hearn enough for her recommendations, organization and in our hour of need on Boxing Day how she dropped everything and helped us. Exceptional client service above and beyond."
"We found Anna to be very knowledgeable and helpful and she was able to answer all of our questions. We had never traveled to Africa before, so had a few concerns regarding safety/security, which she was to answer because of her own experience in the area."
"Very impressed with Anna who handled our booking - extremely efficient and knowledgeable. This was our first time of booking through your agency and we will use Scott Dunn again in future."
"Anna was brilliant and really knowledgeable and helpful at all times. Thanks go to her for sure. The service was great and we felt that a lot of thought had gone into the planning of our trip."
"Just to say we had a great time on the honeymoon. It was fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I also wanted to say thank you for the professional, informed and courteous service we got. It was a pleasure to sort the honeymoon out with you. We loved Africa and it was a great trip, something we will remember forever. So thank you for making it so special and being such a patient pleasure to work with."
"We're just about to book our skiing for next season - with Scott Dunn yet again. It's because of you and your colleagues that we keep coming back. Your knowledge, friendliness and responsiveness is just what we want when we're booking a top quality break."
"Anna Hearn has been an exceptional agent for us. She is extremely knowledgeable about the area she is suggesting and we have complete confidence in her recommendations."
"Anna has an amazing knowledge of the African destinations that she suggests. This is our third trip to Africa organized by Anna and we have never been disappointed with her recommendations."
"Anna was in a word: Superb. She was truly a gem, amazingly patient and really accommodating in organising our vacation to perfection and really always available and answered all our questions in a timely and professional manner with a sense of humor as well which I enjoyed. She understood our needs both in terms of what we wanted from the vacation, and gave us that within the confines of our budget which was no mean feat and we were very impressed and cannot thank her enough. She has a wealth of knowledge and I felt great confidence that the vacation would be amazing as it was and far exceeded our expectations. Would recommend Scott Dunn 1000%!"
"You guys are great! Not yet been disappointed... keep up the good work! The standard is great and I think the level of service and attention to detail is superb and also ability to get into the clients needs, desires and wishes and specific desires is unique and very important and something your agents do very well."
"After the struggle we have had with the previous agent, it really was SO helpful (and enjoyable!) to speak to someone who actually appreciates what we are trying to do and can offer genuine insight into the trip! Both my husband and I are very glad we spotted Scott Dunn on Norman Carr's website and got in touch with you as I'm confident that you'll be able to put a great trip together for us."
"We will definitely choose Scott Dunn in the future for our vacations as you personally have been incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and efficient, making planning the trip an easy and, most importantly, an enjoyable process."
"We felt that Scott Dunn provided a true expert for the trip type and regions that you service. After reading your website and a few bios, it seemed obvious that SD was well ahead of other agencies in terms of selecting quality personnel. Speaking with an agent (Anna) who had actually been to all of these places was a huge relief for a couple coming from NYC to a place no New Yorkers ever go (or so we were told 100 times by everyone we met on our trip). The itinerary provided by Anna was also personalized and very detailed, explaining who was doing what for us and when."
"Anna did a great job. It is a testament to Scott Dunn that employees must be well-versed and experienced in the regions that work for. We really threw this at Anna with little time to really prepare and research and trusted she knew what she was doing. She did. Those 38 visits to Africa really paid off. Anna even supplied us with things to do during our lay-overs in London, which worked out well also. Oh, and Anna did all this for us just a few weeks prior to her own wedding, so anything she might have missed is more than forgivable. Many, many thanks to her for her diligence, concern and keen eye for lovely destinations!"
"Our hotel choices were great. South Africa in particular! The Makanyane lodge was outstanding, everything about it was beautiful and a truly wonderful experience. We would also like to thank Anna for the very quick work in arranging our last-minute hotel in Johannesburg because of the cancelled flight. It was a wonderful boutique hotel - such an interesting place. We were a little bit disappointed we didn't get to spend longer there!"
"I would definitely recommend Scott Dunn and Anna specifically to anyone looking for a luxury vacation service. Anna did a wonderful job, she has a great knowledge of Africa and she picked lovely hotels for us. We couldn't have been happier with Makanyane Lodge and we will be returning for their winter season - we need to experience those nice fires in the rooms. And who wouldn't want to be surrounded by all that nature again!"
"Anna was amazing. I have worked with many travel consultants and she is easily the most knowledgeable and personable. In every respect she exceeded my expectations to create the perfect vacation for us. Can't imagine how it could have been better. Fantastic combination of adventure, relaxation & local culture that worked for adults & teenagers alike."
"Scott Dunn took great care of us. Full availability to answer questions, very quick response, very knowledgeable, friendly, itinerary carefully prepared. Great response when we needed assistance to rearrange our vacation due to missed flight: emergency line very efficient, kept us up to date constantly on the progress and found us the best possible solution within budget. You did an amazing job :)"
"We were delighted with the trip you organized for us to South Africa and Mauritius. Not wanting to sound too much like my father but the service and thorough attention to detail we received from you, Scott Dunn and on our trip was a superb and something you don’t get enough of in this day and age. You went the extra mile and that was appreciated. We are already kidding ourselves we will be returning asap. When this is do-able we will undoubtedly trouble you once again!"
"Anna was just incredible. Listened to what we were looking for and put together the perfect vacation mix of action, adventure, crazy stuff and chill out. Total reliability and attention to detail. Did not feel that the vacation was the same that every other family was recommended and that it had been put together just for us based on our wishlist of things to do. Perfect mix of activity and down time. Weather was perfect so we had been recommended the right areas to travel to."
"Anna was incredible, as with our previous safari. She is so knowledgeable and a lovely person to deal with. Always available & sorted out a potential hiccup with flights very efficiently with no fuss. Anna is the best travel consultant I have worked with in 25 years of travel."
"Anna Hearn was a complete superstar from start to finish. Dealing with her is an incentive alone to book another Scott Dunn vacation in Africa! The service was impeccable from start to finish. But more than this, I knew that I was in a very safe pair of hands should anything go wrong. I cannot praise the service I received from Scott Dunn highly enough. Should budget allow for another vacation on this sort of scale (fingers crossed!), I won't bother looking to anyone else."
Favourite places I've been
- I always carry a travel diary and last thing at night write about everything I’ve seen, done, experienced, tasted, heard during the day, no matter how tired I am. It’s a lovely way of keeping those vacation memories alive.
- Make time to sit for an hour or so in the Luwi Bush Camp hippo hide – there are a startling number of hippos in the lagoon, and just before dusk they all start to yawn and occasionally squabble – it’s an amazing sight!
- Always learn a few words of the local language, no matter where you are. It takes mere minutes but is a huge compliment.
My hot picks
Famous for the clashes between lions and buffalo, we went out for a morning and watched, on the edge of our seats, as lions slowly surrounded the buffalo – before the tables turned and the buffalo got up and attacked back! Lions were running everywhere.
A stunning lodge on the southern tip of Madagascar, with waves crashing onto the beach mere seconds from the rooms. Have a sundowner on the rocks with views to the far mountains before taking a night walk in the forest to find nocturnal lemurs.