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"Guides who go beyond the job description and share themselves and their life experiences - not just what's on the itinerary - are a traveller's treat sometimes it's the luck of the draw."
National Geographic Traveller

Our mission at Safari Roots is to provide the highest quality guided safaris in Africa - to take away the 'luck of the draw'.

Photograph of Rob McDowell

All About Me:
Rob McDowell

Client Comments

Call Rob: +44 (0)1736 731460
Mobile: +44 (0)795 7381783
Email Rob:

We've so enjoyed arranging first, second and even third trips for many of you and really appreciate your support, feedback and continued referrals.

As ever, our wild continent continues to expand. New areas open up, lodges become grander and park authorities allow even more accommodation to be built. With these constant pressures, we continue to fine tune our ‘small privately guided’ trips. Wherever possible, tented camps, excellent guides and low impact wilderness areas are the forefront of every tailor-made safari.

A day under an African sky provides us with incredible interactions with life. Whether these are wildlife or cultural experiences, most are memorable. With over two decades of exploring, my safari memories seem to merge (perhaps this is down to age!), however, a few safari experiences stay on the surface - magnets to keep me returning.

Each year, I accompany one or two trips back to the bush. Some of these safaris include artists, photographers, specialist groups who need managing, or just wildlife enthusiasts who want to see and do everything. My 2012 trips include a lovely special interest group and a mad bunch who want to explore remote corners of northern Botswana under canvas. I'm sure these will both be great fun.

We're proud to continually receive returning guests' feedback. Do read a few of their comments as these really tell the stories of what our Africa has to offer. Rachel and Adam returned from their honeymoon in Tanzania and loved it. Do click here and see what they had to say.

On the home front, we're living and working in the idyllic harbour side village of Mousehole, Cornwall. We look out over the sea towards the Lizard Peninsular, St Michael's Mount, St Clement's Island and Shag Rock. If you're ever down this way and want to chat about Africa, do look us up. Any excuse for a cream tea, a sail or some fishing! If interested, we also have a lovely little holiday let with stunning views over the sea.

And as ever, we'd love to catch up, tailor-make any trips you're planning or simply banter about Africa.

Walking Safaris
 Walking Safaris To experience African wilderness in its purest form, is to walk through it. To make a walk thrilling, humbling and truly enriching is to accompany a great guide. Your guide will take you places and share experiences youll never encounter from a vehicle. Do please ask us for the differences in walks and well pick a style, country and time of year that will suit you best.

“Walking through the bush is a completely different experience to driving. All your senses are alert. Every sound, every movement the flap of a birds wing, a tail swishing through the tall grass acquires significance. This is where an expert guide really comes into his own. Not only will he point out wildlife and birdlife to you, he will also teach you to hone and sharpen your senses and to spot the clues that lie around you in the bush.” Jo Pope, Robin Pope Safaris

The duration and style of walking safaris come in many forms, but our favourites are mobile camping, camp to camp walks and using one camp as a base to explore from. All of these trips are simple yet truly stylish

Drive yourself Wild in Botswana
 Drive yourself Wild in Botswana This is a very exciting possibility for all free-spirited wannabe adventurers. With the independence and value of self-drive, you now get to relax and 'see' more with safari provisions, food and a private Botswana guide included. This is perfect for old African hands, or for those who simply want the flexibility but also the ears and eyes of a 'local' to assist and direct where necessary. There are lots of variables so do chat to us. Prices start from £130 pppn.
Set Departure Safaris
 Wildebeest crossing the Mara River Following the success of last year’s set departure safaris, we’ve new adventures planned this year including Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. These mean top private guiding, small groups but a keener price tag, if you can travel on set dates. Space is obviously limited.

“My one week photo safari at Kicheche Mara Camp was indeed incredible. The game drives were amazing. After two days we saw the big five. Also we were lucky to see two river crossings, of which the last one was really the highlight of my holiday. Thousands of wildebeest crossed the river and many of them were sadly drowned. Afterwards the river had plenty of dead animals, which was great food for the vultures. This was by far the best safari I have ever had! Best regards and thanks for the good organisation.” D Vandendaele, Kenya

Special Interest Groups
 Zebra sketch by Mary-Anne Bartlett If you belong to a group or club, be it rambling, birding, golf, cricket, polo, reading, yoga, photographic or another interest and want to organise a trip for like-minded folk, we can help you arrange the trip. Groups need to be minimum of five plus leader and are always privately guided on the ground in Africa. Special leader rates apply. This is proving popular with all kinds of groups.

“I recently returned from Kenya with a small group of six enthusiastic wildlife artists. We spent time sketching the pinks of the flamingo lakes, followed by thousands of wildebeest in the Mara. It was a wonderful art safari, with private guides giving flexibility and all their personal touches along the way.” Mary-Anne Bartlett, Kenya

Family Trips
 Zambezi River sundowners with the Keighley family Family trips are becoming a speciality for us. Picking the right guides, areas and lodges makes or breaks a trip for a multi-age group so please call us for advice. What weve found recently is for groups of 6 or more, its far easier and often cheaper to simply take over a complete camp. This gives total flexibility and a far more relaxed atmosphere for all to enjoy the experience. A perfect example might be Chongwe River House.

“We're all still talking about our family reunion - breakfasts round a log fire and dinners to the accompaniment of hippo… With our own plane it was made so easy and personal. Rob went the extra mile to meet everyone's needs - with nine of us aged seven to 73, that was a real feat.” S Keighley, Zambia

 Grumeti River Camp - Serengeti About 20% of our clients are honeymooners. We’re happy to connect you with folk who have travelled with us, if you want an objective reference. This is where ‘tailor-making’ and early planning really come in to their own. Please get in touch as early as you can to assure camp availability. We also have a popular wedding list voucher system whereby you can have your guests contribute to your honeymoon.

“Having our own private guide on honeymoon made all the difference – we could be entirely selfish in what we wanted to do and see. It also meant that all our memories are ours and ours alone! We had a lot of romance along the way, the lodges were so stylish and we returned with some great adventure stories. The wedding vouchers worked perfectly.” P Helsig, Tanzania

Kommt mit auf Safari! Venez en safari!

A steady stream of clients are coming to us from Europe and the US.

We speak German and French. Please do call us if you'd like to discuss safari plans.

Guiding with a Difference

Our mission is to provide the highest quality guided safaris in Africa - to take away the "luck of the draw".

We want to take you to the most amazing areas of this continent (my home) and to help you really get under the surface - down to the roots. Whether you prefer luxury accommodation or something more rustic, we want to help you feel the spirit of Africa. Constant research and a different approach to guiding are our methods.


We only use areas and lodges that we've personally visited. As the safari industry has developed, you as clients have been able to demand greater in-country knowledge and access to more remote areas. This drives excellence and research. Personally we love it - we're addicted to sniffing out new wilderness areas to excite both old and new Africa Hands. After ten years researching and organising safaris we can give you our personal take on more than 80% of lodges and wilderness areas in East and Southern Africa. If we haven't seen it, we don't sell it. This personal knowledge isn't a given in the industry, but it should be.


But besides exploring, I have an even greater passion: getting the guiding right. It's the one vital piece where you stand to lose or gain a lot but still have so little control.

Usually when you book a safari the selection of your guide is out of your hands. Inevitably there are good guides, mediocre guides and sadly, some poor or unmotivated ones - even at 'exclusive' lodges. The truly GREAT guides are rare and you need to know how to find them. The guide assigned to you can really can be 'the luck of the draw' and with typically three guides per trip, you may experience a lot of repetition.

Connecting you with truly great guides, whether on or off the beaten track, is the driving concept behind African Safari Roots.

We work in three different ways to help you get the best possible guiding:

To find out more about our approach, please click through the links above.


Upcoming Trips


I hope this gives you a feel for the types of safaris we offer:


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Discover the roots of Africa

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