From South African Native to South African Specialist
Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Gareth Smith found his way to Kensington Tours after traveling the world as a scuba diving instructor and a 10-year stint with Disney Cruise Line. His sharp knowledge of not only the land he grew up in but other popular destinations paved the way for his success during his two-year stint at Kensington.
Gareth’s focus (and self-admitted bias) is selling South Africa tours, but his area of expertise includes the entire African continent and the Middle East, including Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Dubai.
“My first trip with Kensington Tours was a trip to Dubai, Botswana, and South Africa, with a focus on safari,” Gareth says. “ It was amazing for me to experience my home country from a very new perspective, as well as visit places I had never been before. It was truly a unique experience and a great way for me to appreciate exactly how our trips are run and see a Kensington tour through the eyes of a client.”
Gareth describes Dubai as a desert oasis — a glamorous city amid a sea of sand. “I was blown away by the city as I had never seen anything like it before,” he says.
The next leg of his tour was Okavango Delta, an inland river delta in northern Botswana. “Though I grew up in and traveled extensively throughout South Africa, the Okavango Delta safari was very different than any safari I had ever been to — it was definitely the best safari experience I have ever had.”
The Okavango Delta covers over 6,500 square miles (17,000 square kilometers) of land, and is a labyrinth of canals, lakes, and swamps that are the perfect dwelling grounds for a variety of animals. Safari experts often refer to the “Big Five game”: leopards, lions, elephants, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo. “Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world, and its remoteness paired with the abundance of wildlife is just an incredible experience,” Gareth explains. The Big Five constitute just a handful of the unique species he spotted while on safari.
When asked what his favorite part of working at Kensington is, Gareth explains that the environment he works in makes it easy to come to work every day and enjoy himself. “Having experienced it first-hand, I can speak very highly about the product that I sell in my regions. Our local team is truly the best in the industry and make it so easy for me to do my job and have the peace of mind that our clients will be taken care of from the moment they arrive until the second they depart,” he says. “Not to mention I’m a little biased about South Africa, so selling something that I am so passionate about comes easily to me.”
The one itinerary that Gareth suggests for anyone who is looking to travel to Africa is the 19-day “Southern Africa Bucket List,” as it hits all of the must-see places and once-in-a-lifetime adventures across South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. For those who don’t have the time to tackle an itinerary of that length, Gareth recommends a visit to Petra in Jordan. Table Mountain in South Africa or an African safari are also at the top of his must-do list.
“The one thing people should do when they travel to Africa is keep an open mind,” Gareth says. “As long as they are open to experiencing a culture that is so unlike their own, they will be able to fully appreciate the beauty of Africa.”
To learn more about traveling to Africa or the Middle East with Kensington Tours, email Gareth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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