Into the Unknown – When I first stepped off the plane in Maun, Botswana, I had to take a deep breath to steady the nervous and excited butterflies that were threatening to burst out my stomach. Taking the plunge into life in Africa was daunting and thrilling in equal measures!
3 month previous, I had begun the task of making my dream a reality. I was bitten by the horse bug when I was 10 and have been addicted ever since – a feeling I’m sure many can relate to. Then, when I was 17, I took my first trip to Namibia where I fell hook, line and sinker for Africa, and have been coming back ever since. Trips were always restricted by university commitments but once graduation came in 2015, I was free to set out on, what would prove to be, a life-changing adventure.
Emailing everyone under the sun with my ‘horse CV’, I finally got a positive response from Ride Botswana, a horse safari company based in Maun, which runs safaris across the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. One skype session later and I booked my ticket out there – originally with a return date of the 1st of October 2015.
Taking the plunge into the unknown was always going to be a risk and it wasn’t without apprehension that I watched the UK fall away behind me as the plane took off. However, embracing the true sentiment of ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ I was determined to make my adventure a success.
Discovering Maun Town
Sure enough, my time with Ride Botswana was one I shall never forget, and as October 1st drew nearer, I knew I didn’t want to leave Africa behind just yet. I couldn’t face returning to a Britain preparing to hunker down for winter and the uninspiring office job that awaited me. I took a leap of faith and changed my flights from October 1st to June 2016. Since then I have moved from Botswana, to stables on the shores of Lake Malawi and finally landing in Zimbabwe, making friends both two and four-legged along the way.
It was here in Zimbabwe that the magic happened. I was approached by African Encounter who were looking for someone to take up the reigns (excuse the pun) of their new venture – African Horse Safaris. African Horse Safaris would be a new online gateway, offering the most extensive and detailed portfolio out there, of the stunning rides and horse safaris that are available across the continent. The ‘one-stop-shop’ approach would reduce hours of online searching and provide detailed information for each riding holiday, plus offer expert advice from seasoned horse safari-goers.
It was this last part that really caught my attention… a seasoned horse safari-goer you say? I was hooked at the mention of Africa, horses and a job in the same sentence, but this really sealed the deal. Knowing that my next move would change my life, it was with a slightly trembling hand that I signed the contract, and became the new sales and marketing manager for African Horse Safaris. Nothing ventured, nothing gained right?
Let’s Do This
With claustrophobic tube rides, grey dreary days and a corporate office fading into the distance, it is with a huge grin that I’m facing the challenge of getting AHS off the ground. Isn’t that how you should start any business though? Jumping out of bed each morning, determined to be successful, so you can spend your life doing what you love. Seeing your dream starting to form in front of you and grafting every day to make it a reality. Well that’s where I’m at right now.
In order for African Horse Safaris to provide an unbeatable service, it must know its products inside out and excel in recognising the importance of detail. I’d state this as the number 1 rule of sales, even if it didn’t insinuate the necessity of me becoming a seasoned safari-goer…honest. In order to seek out and bring you the best African adventures, I will be exploring this spectacular continent, in the way the original explorers did – from the back of a horse. It is going to be a journey of a lifetime and I cannot wait to share with you the unparalleled magic of becoming part of a herd of zebra, creeping up on a magnificent African elephant or racing across some of Africa’s vast and enchanting landscapes. Collecting and documenting all the information necessary, so that you guys can book an unbelievable African Horse Safari, with complete peace of mind.
The journey begins in Namibia. This July, I will be crossing the hauntingly beautiful Namib Desert, covering 300km and in the saddle for a full 10 days – a ride not for the faint-hearted. The adventure will then take me from the Okavango Delta wetlands, to South Africa and the stunning Waterberg region, and up to the banks of the River Nile in Uganda. Follow my journey @africanhorsesafaris, but be warned, before long you might just find yourself out here and in the saddle too.
Isabel Juby – Marketing & Sales Manager for AHS