An Exceptional Team
Having sourced some of the most knowledgeable experts in the industry, the team boasts in excess of 120 years’ practice with a number of the UK’s leading and elite operators. We’ve taken the best of our experience and combined it with our own personal values and knowledge to expand upon and better the industry ideal.
Today the team’s expertise encompasses Africa, Australasia, Arabia, South East Asia, Latin America, the Indian Subcontinent and the Indian Ocean. But it doesn’t stop there, should we receive requests for assistance outside these areas our excellent network of suppliers and ‘fixers’ worldwide are on hand, enabling us to provide a complete, worldwide travel service to all of our guests.
Having been raised in Kenya and then completing a year’s thesis on the effects of tourism on its peoples in 2002, Toby then moved to England where he worked with and subsequently helped manage a highly respected specialist tour operator for over seven years. Whilst there he travelled the breadth of the African continent as well as launching the company’s Australian product before setting up Exceptional Travel in 2009.
Toby frequently returns home to Kenya as well as continuously seeking out new and exciting ‘off the beaten track’ experiences with recent travels seeing him journey to Chile, India, Nepal, Tibet and most recently the Norweigan Arctic Circle.
In his spare time Toby is a passionate member of the MCC, a keen fisherman (both fly and sport) and he loves to hike, both at home and abroad.
Toby works alongside a dedicated team who have spent years researching, travelling and working in the countries they specialise in, and who are passionate about ensuring our clients receive an unparalleled service from beginning to end.
Julia spent her gap year working in Kenya for David Allen, one of the country’s top safari guides and son of the late great ‘Bunny’ Allen. She was fortunate enough to travel the country and stay with many of the famous post – colonial era characters including Hilary Hook and George Adamson at his camp in Kora.
It was here that she fell in love with Africa. After several years in the City and 3 children, she was thrilled to have a job that requires her regularly to explore Africa .
Her favourite safari (especially if combined with a beach holiday) would probably be in East Africa as much for the charm of the people, the vast open spaces and the feeling of true wilderness as for the wildlife. Top of her wish list is to get out to Western Tanzania to track chimps in the Mahale Mountains…
Michael’s first experience of Africa was selling personalised Parker pens in South Africa in his gap year nearly 40 years ago, before travelling up through the continent to Kenya. He came to know and love East Africa during time spent in Kenya on training exercises with the British Army, and having been infected with the Africa bug he has returned regularly ever since.
Indeed, Michael and Julia’s honeymoon was spent in the extraordinary environment of Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Makgadikdadi Pans with the legendary Jack Bousfield of Jack’s Camp fame.
Joining us at the beginning of 2017, Lukey comes with great experience gained from 17 years within luxury travel. Along with extensive first-hand knowledge of Sub-Saharan Africa, having lived and worked in the region, she also brings with her a broad knowledge of Indochina and North India.
After graduation she began her career with five years at an internationally renowned UK Tour Operator where she travelled extensively and headed up their South East Asia team. The lure of Africa then took her to manage luxury safari camps in Kenya and Zambia, before returning home to expand her focus to include Africa. A stint working ‘across the pond’ opened her eyes to the bright lights of New York and gave her an invaluable experience of tailoring world-wide luxury trips for the American market.
Her passion lies in adventurous travel and she loves to design itineraries taking clients off the beaten track, combining authentic experiences with characterful charming accommodation, be it 4WD adventures in the highlands of Ethiopia, visiting remote rural villages in Laos or Burma, or remote walking safaris in the wilds of Zambia. Rest-assured she knows her luxury too and there’s hardly a plunge pool she is not familiar with!
Her love of adventure and outdoors extends to her free time, and she is never happier than when hiking, riding horses, skiing or on the tennis court.
First bitten by the ‘Africa Bug’ on safari at 15, Alex was so captivated by the continent, she returned to Kenya in her gap year working in a local school before travelling overland from Nairobi to Cape Town.
In 2001 Alex joined one of the UK’s leading tour operators where she quickly became one of the company’s foremost safari specialists. After a sabbatical, working at Phinda Reserve in South Africa, she returned to her role in London, before settling in Jersey where she co-founded a successful niche safari operator. In 2017 she took the opportunity to sell her share in the firm and to our delight she decided to continue her journey by joining Exceptional Travel.
Alex’s enthusiasm for getting off the beaten track to recharge, reset and escape the 21st century is complemented by the care and attention she dedicates to every holiday she crafts, with unrivalled first-hand experience, her keen eye for detail considering every possible need for her guests.
Never far from the sea, Alex spends as much time as possible on the beach or in the water, walking her Jack Russell and Labrador, paddle boarding, surfing and sailing. In 2017 she celebrated a milestone birthday by climbing Kilimanjaro and she is never far from an airport, whisking her family off for new adventures across the globe.
Katrina has been organising tailor-made holidays to Latin America for the past 13 years, initially by joining and running the Latin America desk for a specialist travel company and more recently managing the Latin America team for an award winning London based Tour Operator.
Having lived and travelled in South America, Katrina’s extensive knowledge covers a huge range of destinations and as a result she takes enormous pride in offering sound advice and suggestions for her guests, helping them choose the destination and holiday that would suit them best.
With experience in organising holidays for couples, honeymooners, families, single travellers, groups of friends and those that have wanted to experience all that Latin America has to offer, Katrina offers an exceptionally tailored, personal and professional service to access a part of the world she is unapologetically passionate about.
Anna has over 20 years’ experience in the travel industry with a deep understanding of African safaris in particular. Having grown up in Kenya, she began her career in travel in the late 90’s following her post graduate degree in African Archaeology at UCL by creating specialist escorted tours for a London based luxury tour operator.
Anna has always had a deep passion for wildlife and travel around the African continent and has worked for some of the UK’s top luxury tour operators, amassing a wealth of knowledge during her time in the industry. As well as considering herself as Kenyan, Anna is half Swedish and half English, and her Swedish roots take her back there every year, whether to enjoy the endless sunlight in the summer or skiing in the winter.
Anna is a perfectionist and for each and every one of her clients’, is determined to create a fully bespoke, tailored itinerary, that runs deeper than just being a holiday. She believes it is though the experience of meeting new people, traditions, cultures, wildlife, and countries that invaluable memories and experiences are created…. and that will last forever.