The Story of a Fox
Energetic, curious, resourceful and possessed of wanderlust are some of the qualities of the Fox which is, I am told, how I came by my nickname. Others have remarked that it’s more about being sleek, sly and cunning. I am not certain which is more appropriate but various versions have presented themselves over the years including Flying Fox (when in the air), Cape Fox (when in Cape Town) and Desert Fox when in Namibia.
It’s as well that I have embraced this notion for many years because it is clearly not about to leave me!
Len and I moved to Cape Town in 1999, around the same time as we entered into flying safaris with Wilderness Safaris. We enjoyed twelve happy years in the Mother City, but I had always wanted to return to Zimbabwe, so in 2012 we built our dream house adjacent to the Victoria Falls National Park where we have since enjoyed splendid and joyous winters entertaining our guests as they pass through Victoria Falls.
In a kamikaze move (of which our friends largely disapproved), we sold up in Cape Town in 2018 and bought a small home in Johannesburg for the summers so that we could be closer to my brother and nephews and this has, surprisingly, been a very happy decision. Johannesburg is much maligned but it is essentially a sunny and happy city possessed of friendly souls all working hard to ensure the success of the Rainbow Nation. We have reconnected with old school friends and relish the energy of a vibrant commercial centre!
From a very young age, I was captivated by aircraft and aviation further enhanced by the Apollo 11 landing on the moon in July 1969 which we watched live on TV in Rhodesia. I would memorise aircraft types and registrations, destinations and schedules running into the garden with binoculars to watch an arriving or departing aircraft solemnly announcing comprehensive details with great earnestness to a completely disinterested family. This thread of passion has remained throughout a life built on aviation from my years with British Airways to founding my own business based on flying safaris. The magic of soaring above the clouds to a new and exciting destination will forever be carved into my soul.
I have countless precious African memories from a carefree childhood spent in the outdoors. Memories of visiting my grandparents on their smallholding outside Bulawayo, and my Gran playing the piano in the vineyard – the staff having carried the piano outside. A strict but nurturing education and the feeling that we were all one family. Breathtaking sunrises, intimidating thunderstorms, the fragrance of the first frangipani, enchanting birdsong, devastating bush fires and many weekend excursions to find wildlife in the Matopos are all etched in my childhood memory. I am one of the lucky ones for it has only got better as I have matured to the point where I now treasure the memory of countless visits throughout our continent.
Whoever would have imagined that my 26th gorilla trek could be as exciting as my first, or that my 187th visit to Mala Mala could be as exciting as my first in 1992? I could understand weeping at the beauty of the Namib Desert from the air but certainly not at the astonishing adrenaline rush of a four day canoe safari down the Zambezi at Mana Pools. A simple drive through herds of elephant to get home in Victoria Falls. From the exhilaration of soaring above the Serengeti in a hot air balloon whilst viewing The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth, to dining to the sounds of a String Quartet under the stars at Tswalu Kalahari. My life continues to be impossibly blessed through the love that I share with this continent.
I come from a long line of teachers and always thought I would have been as good as the best of them and so, in the twilight of my working years, as my responsibility turns towards the future of this partnership, it is perhaps fitting that my role has evolved into that of mentor.
We have created a strong platform from which the team can launch a future. Occasionally I feel that I cannot keep up with the fast paced nature of business development in today’s world but mostly I relish the challenge and look forward immensely to steering this ship into the future- never before has my school motto “Hinc Orior” (from here I arise) been so in the forefront of my thoughts.
The game goes on and I love it.