Jez's father made the wise decision of swapping Barnsley for the African bush long before he was born. As the son of a soil scientist growing up in Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe (where Jez currently lives) his upbringing was always destined to lead in a fairly unconventional direction. The British boarding school life that followed only irrigated his desire to travel further and make Africa his home. Surely few people who are exposed to the African bush and its wildlife from such an early age can fail to feel this magnetism.
After university in the UK he immediately returned to Africa with the simple goal of working in wildlife. With a few field guiding courses and a spell guiding canoe safaris under his belt, Jez stumbled upon tour leading. Over the last 14 years, (while living in Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia and now Zimbabwe) he has been leading trips mostly in Africa and Asia with wildlife and walking being the focus.
Jez would see himself as an Anglo-African, culturally British due to his education but with his heart and mind always in the Africa. He spends most of his spare time walking in the bush and photographing its wildlife treasures.
Q: How did you fall into tour leading?
A: Having completed a few field guiding courses, I was intent on working as a wildlife game ranger. Then out of the blue I was asked to go to Malawi and lead some trips. After that I realised being a guide in one place wasn't for me just yet.
Q: What do you like most about tour leading?
A: For me life is all about experiences; such as experiencing and dealing with the unexpected while engaging with weird and wonderful people. Even after leading trips for almost 15 years, I still don't feel like I have ever done a day’s work!
Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?
A: Africa! More specifically, the lower Zambezi region of Zimbabwe.
Q: What was your biggest travel highlight?
A: The first time I climbed Kilimanjaro was amazing, having spent most of my life in Africa thinking about it. More recently though, I found my first pangolin and lay in a bush stroking it for two hours.
Q: What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had from a client?
A: To extract a tick from a client's private parts!
Q: What’s the one thing you couldn’t travel without?
A: My binoculars.
Q: Which famous person would you most like to travel with?
A: David Attenborough.
Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?
A: Nothing terrible that I can think of! However, I did once tell a client in Greece that a Christian church was 2000BC, if that counts?