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Neil

Neil is a Welshman who now lives in South Africa. A degree in Marine Biology and Parasitology led to him becoming a diving instructor and a brief foray as a commercial diver. Along the way he has spent 17 years guiding in over 40 countries. His free time is spent with his two lovely daughters, swimming and riding bikes, with hopefully a moment for a glass of wine and a good book at the end of the day.

Neil has led tours for Wild Frontiers in Iran, Namibia and Madagascar.

Specialist: Iran, Madagascar, Namibia


Interview

Q: How did you fall into tour leading?

A: The world was calling and I felt compelled to go and take a look. As I possessed none of the attributes to be a global playboy, tour leading seemed like the logical way to get there.

Q: What do you like most about tour leading?

A: The opportunity to see new and strange places. To venture where few people have ever have been. And then complain because there's no good coffee and the beer's warm.

Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?

A: Asia for its food and vibrancy. Southern Africa for its landscapes. The world is so diverse and interesting in its own way I can't actually nominate a favourite part.

Q: What has been your biggest travel highlight?

A: Being pelted from above with twigs and leaves by a group of mountain gorillas. The giant Silverback then allowed a tree to bend under his weight and lower him like a crane to within a metre of the ground, where he proceeded to casually urinate in our general direction. Marvellous stuff.

Q: What’s the craziest request you've ever had from a client?

A: A group in Tanzania fell in love with warthogs (Ngiri in Swahili) and requested to stop when we saw one. They would press the buzzer to the driver, shout Ngiri, and we would stop to see the warthog. And I mean, every warthog. They broke the buzzer and we saw about 2000 warthogs in 2 weeks.

Q: What’s the one thing you couldn't travel without?

A: Tiger repellent. 20 years in Africa and I have never had a problem with a tiger. Fantastic stuff. Oh, and my belly dancing costume. I've never worn it, but I would hate to be invited to a fancy dress party at short notice and have nothing to wear.

Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?

A: When haven't I? On meeting a Dominee (minister of the Dutch Reformed Church) he introduced me to his wife so I asked her if she was the Dominatrix.