Q&A with Peter Silvester

Every safari is totally unique. It takes an extraordinary team to create them and a special spirit of adventure to take them. The experiences should last a lifetime.

Leading them is both a passion and a privilege.

  • How did your guiding career start?

    I started guiding for a big tour company as a summer job whilst finishing school. I loved the freedom to share a childhood passion for being on safari with groups of guests. I quickly realized that there was much more to it, and I was able to enroll in an apprenticeship that took me into the more engaged and maverick universe of private guiding and mobile tented safaris. I never left.

  • What is your greatest accomplishment?

    35 years on safari, with truly extraordinary people, most used to the highest levels of comfort and never being responsible for a permanent footprint of any sort on public land. This has come with being part of team that has been able to explore and enjoy Africa’s wild spaces, where the only lasting impression has been our memories and the effect it has had on our lives.

  • What is your motto in life?

    If you are not living on the edge you are probably taking up too much space.

  • What drives you? or What are you passionate about?

    Sharing the wonder, excitement and mind expanding adventure that is at the core of every safari. The joy of being able to connect with people from all walks of life.

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

    I tend to treat every safari as the last one, and every one is different. One can’t even begin to understand a safari in its purest form until one recognizes that is the participants who are so central to its success. One sees each safari through new sets of eyes and every day in the bush brings new things to marvel at.

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

    After 35 years of being privileged to travel to many places that question gets harder to answer. I think it is those places that combine the opportunity to engage with local cultures, who are the guardians of the areas they inhabit and know that the experience has been as rewarding for them as it is for us.

  • Have you ever been really scared on safari?

    A lot.

  • What three books do you recommend your guests read before going on safari?

    I would start with one: Africa a Biography of the Continent, by John Reader. Through it, one will at least understand the size of the subject, and its substantial bibliography will help one hone in on the subjects that interest you most.

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

    Only three?

    Whilst the physical packing list does vary, the metaphysical one remains the same and is true for any genuine travel experience. A wide, wide, open mind. A keen sense of self awareness, and that universal that is often described as a sense of humor. Though perhaps is best expressed at the ability to laugh, smile and see the ridiculous in oneself.
    Most important perhaps is:
    Friends and family, a safari is an experience that should be shared with those one loves and one will always emerge from it appreciating those special relationships even more.
  • What is your motto in life and what concepts are sacred?

    Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness. Though to be fair to Mark Twain, most of what people refer to as travel today, or a safari for that matter, may fill the pages of a glossy magazine, however it does not fit into that quote.

  • Which rules have you made, which ones do you follow and which rules do you break?

    I can’t remember, I can’t remember and I certainly won’t tell.

  • What's your most embarrassing or comical moments ever on safari?

    There are a great many of those that I can remember, and are best shared around a campfire.

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