August is Women’s Month in South Africa and is fittingly the perfect time to uplift the ‘wonder women’ of Wandering Thru. Our team is proudly mostly female-run and while it didn’t set out to be this way initially, we are thrilled of having formed a small and tight group of people supporting women in the guiding, hospitality and wellness industry. Every August 9th each year we celebrate National Women’s Day in South Africa; the month indeed, is dedicated to honoring the visionaries, trailblazers, and glass-ceiling shattering suffragists who fight for equality on behalf of all women. The significance of August 9th is not lost on South Africans. On this very day in 1956, roughly 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in the capital of South Africa, Pretoria, to protest the appalling legislation squarely aimed at strengthening the government’s control over black women and their movement in urban areas during apartheid. Their bravery, courage, and honor are not forgotten. So, each year, we pay tribute to the heroines that fought, and continue to fight, for equality in our society. This year we would like to shine the light on the passionate, driven girls that we are proud to have in our team as they continue to blaze a trail.
Ale Olivieri – Specialist Private Guide
Born in Venezuela into an Italian and Latvian family of Wanderers, Ale grew up in the wildlife with plenty of family trips in her youth, exploring the vast ecosystems that Venezuela has to offer. With the constant interest to learn and see more, she fell in love with the rhino and South Africa while volunteering in the Greater Kruger area in 2010. After working in a wildlife rehabilitation center for about a year, Ale wanted to make a difference in the field. So, she decided to complete her qualification as a guide at Lion Sands Game Reserve and proceeded to work with guests all over the world.
Ale then left the hot African savannah for a year to complete her MSc in Conservation Science at the Imperial College in London. Her thesis focused on Citizen Science and Leopards in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. After completing her studies, she decided to return to the warmth of the African sun and settled back in the Sabi area of South Africa. A couple of years later, a lady of many talents saw Ale set into a travel designer and presenter role for the popular safari show #safariLIVE for the WildEarth.tv channel. She is also a private guide for guests all over Southern and Eastern Africa, thanks to her fluency in English, Spanish and Italian.
Ale still enjoys the true adventure of helping guests make the most of their unique experiences on their travels throughout Africa, guiding them through the most amazing landscapes, connecting, and making sure they create memories that last a lifetime.
Geraldine Kent – Wellness Guide
Born and bred in the city of gold, Geraldine grew up in Johannesburg with a keen interest and sincerity towards animals and nature. She spent much of her childhood watching wildlife documentaries and films, which only strengthened her love for wildlife and conservation. Taking her passion for wildlife, photography, and storytelling, Geraldine headed to the renowned Rhodes University to study journalism. She honed her skills in television and media in the earlier part of her career. After landing a fantastic opportunity to work for WildEarth, Geraldine spent some time in Sabi Sand and Maasai Mara as a Production Manager for the television program #safariLIVE, presenting her the opportunity to learn even more about the wildlife.
With the yearning call of nature in the back of her mind, Geraldine found herself connecting with the natural world on a deeper and more spiritual level, leading her to explore the art of yoga and meditation. Soon after that, she left her career in production to pursue her qualification in yoga and soon opened her own practice. Closely associated with the International Yoga Alliance, Geraldine is now able to marry her love for wildlife and yoga into an enriching wellness program. As a result, she effortlessly finds harmony in the two for all her guests.
Qualified in Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin yoga, Geraldine uses her teachings and experience to curate and host wellness programs that compliment all Wanderers, deepening your connection to the African savannah as you explore its natural beauty.
Tayla McCurdy – Specialist Private Guide
Born in the friendly city of Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Tayla grew up along the stunning southeast coast of South Africa. Spending her childhood with many a family safari vacations, Tayla fell in love with the bush, which was the stepping stone to becoming a Field Guide at the Kariega Game Reserve. After her time at Kariega in South Africa, Tayla packed her bags and took on her next great adventure in Zambia, managing the Anabezi Camp in the Lower Zambezi National Park, a place she is deeply passionate about and will forever be in her heart.
Later in her career, Tayla returned to South Africa to take on a new challenge, where she worked as a Field Guide at the acclaimed Earth Lodge, one of the world’s most luxurious lodges. In her position here, she gained valuable experience in the Lowveld. She used this experience in her next adventure as a presenter for #safariLIVE on WildEarth.tv, being featured on National Geographic shows for Sabi Sand and the Maasai Mara.
Since becoming a Wanderer in 2017, Tayla has enriched the team with her wealth of knowledge, experience, and good humor. She uses her expertise to guide guests through private safaris and train the next generation of Field Guides at EcoTraining in South Africa.
Astrida Sadde – Specialist Safari Planner
Last but certainly not least, Venezuelan-born (of Latvian descent) Astrida is the personification of a world citizen. Early on in her career, she knew that becoming a travel agent was the best way to explore the world by organizing and leading worldwide voyages across Africa, Asia, and South America for over 30 years. During these travels, she developed a love for photography, which has led to photographic expositions across the globe. After her eldest daughter moved to Africa to work in the world of conservation and hospitality, she fell in love with the African landscape and wilderness. Soon, it became her mission to help share the natural beauties of the African continent with the world.
Since joining the team of Wanderers, Astrida has used her experience, attention to detail, and passion for the wilderness to ensure our guests have the best possible experience during the planning of their curated safari and throughout their journey.
Celebrating Our Women
My advice to women all the time is: If you want a certain future, go out and create it. Conquer your fears as that is what enslaves most women.” – Divine Ndhlukula
We believe that women are the flexible, rich fabric that wraps our societies in togetherness. They are the pioneers of our community, striving for progression and continued change that we want to see in the world. While we shine the spotlight today on “our girls” we want to give a massive shoutout to all the #BossLadies that inspire us, that never take no for an answer and continue to break the mould.