Q&A with Malcolm Destro

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle


  • How did you start out in guiding?

    Safaris have always been a part of my life as my father, Reggie Destro was a professional guide and, in the early 70’s, pioneered the first-generation photo safaris in East Africa. I came back to Kenya after a career in engineering to start guiding after the Out of Africa film created such a demand for safaris and was instrumental in restarting the luxury camping safari in Tanzania in the 80’s. I went on to guide walking safaris in northern Kenya with my camel safaris and then moved back to the luxury safari market with RAS in the 90’s.

  • What are your greatest achievements?

    The achievement of which I am most proud of is  being part of starting a community project with the Maasai tribe in southern Kenya’s “Shompole Wilderness.” I started the project as a way to give back to the Maasai community who historically have been custodians of all of East Africa’s wildlife.

    Asides creating revenue and employment for the community, we assist with our youth program – vocational training and education. The area is situated between 2 important wildlife reserves, the Mara and Amboseli with huge conservation value as a wildlife corridor

    On the safari side, I was the first Partner to implement tubeless tires on our safari vehicles (which has given our guests more time viewing the wildlife and less time for me under the Land Rovers). But perhaps most notable (at least as I’m told by our guests) was my invention of the portable flush toilets that are now a part of all Royal African Safari camps.

  • If you had one last safari where would you go and why?

    One last safari would be to visit the famed Scottish explorer Jim Sutherland’s grave in the Lado Enclave in Sudan. A largely forgotten legend, he ranks with Frederick Selous.

  • What are you passionate about?

    Most important at my stage in life is giving back, and this is my main reason for being involved with the community at Shompole, where my safari and engineering experience will be valuable to the conservation issues there.

  • What’s your favorite place in Africa and why?

    While choosing one’s “favorite place in Africa” is a little like choosing one’s favourite child, I do think that the Serengeti during the Great Migration has to rank at the very top as it IS a wildlife spectacle of note.

  • What are the three most important pieces of kit for guests to bring along?

    A great pair of walking shoes, a good pair of binoculars and an open mind.

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