Jon’s passion for travel and photography came from his parents who had hiked and cycled around far flung parts of Europe in the 50’s and had many stories to tell. His first foray outside of Europe was to Sri Lanka for 6 weeks in the 80’s with a backpack and the Lonely Planet. He embarked on several Round the World trips between early jobs and ended up living in Australia for 10 years. It was here that Jon first started making a career in the travel industry working for a leading retail travel agency in a number of roles.
Returning to the UK in 2010, Jon became a specialist in Middle Eastern and African travel for a luxury tour operator and has travelled extensively in these regions, researching itinerary ideas and inspecting lodges and hotels for his clients. Jon is now the Senior Africa specialist at Wild Frontiers covering the continent from Tangiers to Cape Town.
Q: Favourite city:
A: Sydney. I lived there for a long time and so it is my second home and I am slightly biased. Theres a unique buzz to the city and the feeling of chugging across the harbour past the Opera House to one of the North Shore suburbs on a sunny Spring day never gets old.
Q: Favourite country:
A: Namibia. Coming from a highly populated country, there is a thrill to being in a country where you could drive for hours without seeing anyone else. The empty but starkly beautiful desert scenery is breathtaking. It’s a perfect road-trip destination.
Q: Favourite meal:
A: Cau Lau. A dish from Hoi An in Vietnam which was a standout and I have never found in a Vietnamese restaurant in London!
Q: Most memorable journey:
A: Morocco to Tunis by Rail. This epic train journey ended up being memorable for the wrong reasons. There was a diplomatic incident between Britain and Algeria at the time and we were unceremoniously hauled off the train at Algerian customs. Without much of an explanation we waited more or less at gunpoint in the desert for the day until the evening train came to take us back to Morocco. We then had to explain in schoolboy French why we were coming back after having been stamped out that morning. To be fair the train looked pretty hideous and we were slightly relieved to not spend 3 or 4 days on it, and we did have a story to tell.
Q: Favourite travel advice:
A: Layers, layers, layers. For African travel I am often asked what clothing to take dependent on the season. For the most part I usually say more or less the same thing. For an early morning game drive it can quite often be very chilly as you set off. In the daytime out in the sun it can be hot. In the evening you will want long sleeves and trousers to avoid mosquito bites. The answer in general is to take light clothing that can be easily layered up and down with the temperature. You are unlikely to need heavier extreme cold weather clothing in Africa. Pack lightly as you will more than likely have a light aircraft transfer with a low luggage limit, and laundry can be done easily at your safari lodge.
Q: Next on must-see list:
A: Sudan. Travels in Egypt gave me a fascination for Ancient Egyptian history. I would love to go to the land of the Black Pharoe’s and learn more about the remote pyramids and monuments in the shifting sands.