We have recently teamed up to work with our partner guides Paolo Parazzi and Sam Stogdale on a more permanent long term basis – this is because privately Pro Guided safaris are a league above anything else one can do in Africa. They both present a wealth of knowledge on the flora and fauna, and the sense of fun and enthusiasm they inject is completely infectious. They know exactly how to make sure every single person has the most memorable trip of their lives, and also how to read wildlife in such a way that you are bound to see something you may not have otherwise. As well as this through our own and their unrivalled contacts on the ground we are able to get you into locations which you otherwise wouldn’t get to. Here we present two blog posts with their bios:
Sam Stogdale: To the Maasai people who knew him as a boy, Sam Stogdale was always destined for a prominent position in the safari trade. The son of renowned Kenyan hotelier David Stogdale, Sam spent much of his formative years with the young tribesmen who were training to become lodge managers and guides under his father’s tutelage. His godfather was the legendary John ole Parmasau, who would go on to become one of East Africa’s most celebrated Maasai guides. As mentoring pedigrees go, Sam had few equals.
So it was no real surprise when, in early 2014, Sam and his business partner, Paolo Parazzi, were invited to become partners of Africa’s oldest existing safari company, Ker & Downey. Still in their 20s, Sam and Paolo are the company’s youngest lead guides – a huge achievement in one of the most competitive sectors of the global travel industry.
Since launching their own company, Africa Born, in 2011, Sam and Paolo have established a reputation as one of the continent’s finest true ‘beach and bush’ outfitters. While Paolo grew up on Kenya’s north coast, and knows its protected waterways and marine life better than anyone, Sam’s specialities are the game-ruled plains of southern Kenya – and particularly the sweeping Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, considered by many the single-most important wildlife sanctuary on Earth.
It was in the Mara that Sam cut his teeth as a young guide: walking in the conservancies that line its borders, studying the Maasais’ legendary bush skills, fixing vehicles in rudimentary workshops. By the age of 15 he was a certified guide, and at 17, he travelled to South Africa to complete the definitive FGASA Professional Safari Guide course. Along the way, he also picked up advanced qualifications in trail guiding, birding and game tracking – making him, at the time, one of Kenya’s most qualified young guides. Sam has been leading privately guided safaris around Africa for the last five years.
As part of a new breed of conservationist-guides, Sam’s safaris set aside a proportion of their profits for community projects, including a set donation to the Watamu-based Local Ocean Trust. In 2011, Sam also helped to establish the pioneering guide training school, EcoTraining East Africa, through which he is now “giving back” some of the vital guiding wisdom on which his own career was built.
Sam is usually accompanied on safari by his wife Antonia, widely regarded as one of the finest chefs in the safari business. Trained at Leith’s Cookery School in London, Antonia has helped many of Kenya’s leading camps and lodges to train their chefs and design their menus. Her participation guarantees Sam’s guests the very finest fare to be had in the bush anywhere!