With Africa Expert Will Jones
Journeys by Design founder and Africa expert Will Jones shares his insights on the best safari destinations and experiences—and his secrets to creating unique adventures that can’t be replicated. He calls the adventures Off-Google Travel, and he thinks they’re exactly what his high-profile clients are looking for.
Bruce speaks with adventurer, conservationist, and Journeys by Design founder Will Jones about the best safari destinations for different types of travelers. From first timers to seasoned vets of the Sub-Saharan circuit, Jones has led clients like Ralph Lauren and other high-profile people on countless adventures that combine conservation, cultural immersion, and high-adrenaline action. With his new Off-Google trips, he is starting to take those clients deeper—and on more meaningful journeys—than ever before.
Jones, who grew up in seven different African countries, suggests travelers start with “Classic” safari destinations such as Tanzania, Botswana, or South Africa. He says travelers are “spoiled for choice” in such destinations, citing a number of luxury camps, including Great Plains Conservation’s Zarafa Camp in Botswana’s Selinda Reserve, among the options. He also suggests the wilds of northern Kenya, where a handful of exclusive buy-out villas and ranches provide perfect settings for families and multi-generational trips. These types of trips frequently include private guides and vehicles, and the ability to add private helicopters and other over-the-top amenities. However, he believes the cultural interactions—whether it’s meeting a Maasai warrior or kids at a local school—make the greatest impact on travelers, especially on children.
Journeys by Design’s “Rare” trips take Jones’ expertise and connections to a whole new level, venturing to places like Chad, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, the company has invested in projects like Lale’s Camp in the Omo Valley, a rarely visited region where some tribes still practice infanticide. The camp has helped create jobs and an ownership stake for local communities, an example of what Jones puts forth as a “trade, not aid” model. Jones’ journeys, however, also emphasize philanthropy, particularly in the form of wildlife conservation. He works in tandem with organizations such as African Parks and the World Wildlife Foundation to help protect remote wild spaces—and gain access to those spaces for his clients.
Some of the Rare regions Jones discusses with Bruce include a new project near the “Pole of Inaccessibility” in Central African Republic where “goliath” tiger fish lurk in the rivers, and deserted islands in Eritrea where Jones didn’t see another traveler for two weeks. He shares that he has approximately 50 experiences he can take guests on that are not found on Google, but rather, reside primarily in his head. Even as an expert planner, however, he wants people to enjoy and discover what happens when you go off plan, because that, he says, is where the magic happens.
Arijiju in Kenya
Hosted by: Bruce Wallin
Produced and edited by: AJ Moseley & Darra Stone
Music by: Joey Salvia