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Travel is all about the small things that add flavour. A simple tented camp in a hidden corner of wild Africa, a homestay above the clouds in a Himalayan village, a trek with a Berber guide whose family have walked High Atlas paths for generations. Experiences like these define Natural High and have been regularly featured in mainstream media such as The Telegraph and The Financial Times
As a small company we travel extensively, get to know the places we visit intimately and make up our own minds about what’s really worth doing, rather than just what makes a good photograph.
We have an eye for quirk and would prefer to offer you intelligent simplicity than impersonal luxury. Over the past 20 years we’ve each built invaluable relationships with our partners in the far-flung places we visit. When it comes to your trip, to us success means creating experiences that stay with you for the rest of your life.
Alex has been travelling to Africa for the last 20 years, living and working in some of the wildest parts of East Africa as a safari guide and bush pilot for 10 of those years. His knowledge of the lesser-visited parts of Tanzania, which were home for many years, is therefore born of in-depth experience and is second to none. He started Natural High in 2002 while living in Tanzania.
Alex’s personal interest lies in what some might see as a slightly Spartan approach to travel, believing that the things to get excited about probably lie outside - as opposed to within - your tent or room. Wild elemental places are where he gets a kick, the visceral thrill that these places elicit gave rise to the name Natural High.
Alex is constantly seeking out unusual travel opportunities and regularly leads trips while working as a photographer for mainstream media publications. Recent publications include A Namibian Flying Safari for The Telegraph as well as Walking with Berber Nomads in Morocco with the Telegraph and visiting India's Sonepur Mela for the Financial Times. Wherever possible Alex prefers small mobile camps to access inspirational wild areas and wherever possible taking his family with him.
Rumour has it that Catherine Ronan used to be a spy. We find this slightly hard to believe as she loves nothing more than to divulge her travel secrets and infect other people with her enthusiasm. She’s one of the most widely travelled people you’re likely to meet and has an enduring love for Africa where she knows - and is known by - everyone.
She has a particular affinity for the people and landscapes of the harsh desert regions, from the Samburu in Northern Kenya to the Bushmen of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans. For Catherine travel is a heady mix of excitement and adventure. She brings with her an ebullient sense of fun mixed with a meticulous eye for detail.
Vanessa Janion’s strong artistic flair is probably one of the reasons she has such an affinity for Morocco, and her sense of style is evident in the artefacts she emerges with from her forays into the souks of Marrakech or Fez’s Poterie De Fes where mosaic craftsmen still create zellij mosaics in a centuries old tradition.
In the past 20 years she’s lived in Egypt, India and Kenya (where she once narrowly avoided landing her entire family in prison for overtaking the presidential motorcade) and has explored from the streets of Asmara, locked in a time warp from 1930s Italy, to a recent forays to the remote Isimangaliso Wetland Park on the Mozambique border to see things afresh through the eyes of her own children.
Annie Garnett keeps the wheels turning smoothly at Natural High. As a traveller she’s long had a penchant for the grass roots approach; travel preferably on foot, with time to stop, sit and soak it all up. With husband Anthony she has covered the skies of Southern England in their own balloon, and took a memorable overland journey in a pair of Renault 5s from Dorset, through Yugoslavia to Greece, the only glitch being a reversing accident involving not one, but both cars (but nobody else). These days Annie is building her own menagerie which at the last count involved a tortoise, a plethora of fowl, a donkey, several horses, a small pack of dogs and a brace of pigs.
Andrea Hulme’s travel experiences could fill a small novel; from a bit-part in a Tamil movie, to leading expeditions in Kyrgyzstan and negotiating landslides along the Karakoram highway. She’s helped prepare food for 50,000 in Amritsar’s Golden Temple and between jobs lived with a Mongolian family in the Gobi Desert.
Here she learned, among other things, how to milk a horse, a skill that proved invaluable in clinching the job at Natural High. Travel for Andrea is epitomised by incidental meetings with people and unexpected encounters with diverse cultures which leave one’s own expectations looking pale by comparison.
Born in Uganda and guiding since the age of 17, Rod is recognised as one of Africa’s leading safari guides. His spiritual home remains Zambia's North Luangwa where he and his wife Guz created and ran the fabulous Kutandala Camp for more than a decade before their children necessitated a move to "civilisation”. Since then he’s been leading mobile safaris to far-flung wild parts of Africa. Rod's a passionate all-round naturalist and now uses his unsurpassed knowledge and huge network of contacts to create the perfect safari. Always seeking out new adventures and destinations to guide in - the current fixation is Zakouma National Park in Chad.