ROAR AFRICA’s South Africa and New York-based trip designers are people to trust for their knowledge and candor.
Every itinerary is handcrafted and custom designed, with access not only to the best private houses, lodges, chefs and wine cellars, but the region’s conservationists, artists, designers, philanthropists and captains of industry on expert-led itineraries.
Deborah Calmeyer – CEO & Founder
Deborah grew up on adventures in the African bush, alongside her horses and pet lioness. Her desire to share her passion for Africa grew when she moved to New York City and found that mediocre African travel itineraries seemed to surpass unsuspecting travelers’ expectations. It was obvious to Deborah that these trips were designed by people who were not from Africa. Her desire to have people experience Africa the way she knew it and loved it led to the formation of ROAR AFRICA. Her impeccable taste, style and ability to match a guest’s travel DNA to the appropriate experiences compliments her intimate insider knowledge and unique access. Deborah feels there are trips, and then there are adventures of the spirit that can change the way we look at the world. She provides the latter.
Dr. Ian McCallum – Specialist Guide
A multi-talented individual, Ian is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, poet, specialist wilderness guide and co-founder of the Wilderness Leadership School in the Cape. Ian was the writer/poet for the prestigious Dylan Lewis ‘UNTAMED’ exhibition at the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town in 2010, and wrote the award-winning book ‘Ecological Intelligence – Rediscovering Ourselves in Nature‘, that addresses the interconnection of all living things and, ultimately, the survival of the human animal. Ian is one of ROAR AFRICA’s most elite specialist guides.
Humphrey Gumpo – Specialist Guide
Humphrey grew up in the Kariba area and passed the Zimbabwe guiding exams (the toughest in the world) with flying colors. With over 15 years of professional guiding experience, he is one of the few qualified safari guides to guide in several African countries. He is a master at sharing his interest and indisputable passion for wild and remote Africa with discerning travelers, who are looking for unique adventures. Listening more carefully to the bush, he says, has made him a better guide.
Steven Lake – Specialist Guide
Steve was born in the small Malawian town of Mzuzu. After earning a diploma in Nature Conservation, he completed the Cape Town Guides and Botswana Wildlife Departments professional guides courses. He worked as a camping safari guide before he and his wife, Sharon, managed lodges in the Okavango Delta. The memories cultivated during these experiences are what Steve strives to pass on to all our guests. Steve enjoys wine tasting, running, squash, hiking, birding, and watching visitors fall in love with Africa.
Tim Meadows – Specialist Guide
Timothy lived with the Maasai in Kenya while completing a course in Anthropology at the University of Nairobi. After briefly working in the worlds of education and finance in South Africa, his adoration for the country prompted him to embark on a career in travel. Tim’s ethos is that each travel experience should be unique, personal, fun, educational and inspirational. For any guests wishing to play a round of golf whilst in South Africa, you can be sure that Tim will enthusiastically provide some company!
Brian Vandayar – Specialist Guide
Brian was deeply inspired by Nelson Mandela’s first speech as a free man, in which the future President of South Africa emphasized the importance of education. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of the Western Cape, Brian then completed an Advanced Business Management course in Tourism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. As a tour guide, Brian treasures the opportunity to show the most beautiful and hidden sides of Cape Town to ROAR AFRICA’s guests.
Peter Veerapen – Specialist Guide
Growing up in a politically hostile yet vibrant suburb of Athlone, Cape Town, Peter initially wanted to study law. Then things changed in South Africa, and he wanted to tell the other side of the story. He developed a tour that wasn’t being offered elsewhere, taking tourists to the townships. Today that tour is fast becoming part of the mainstream and the people from these areas are benefiting directly. As a tour guide, it also gives Peter great pleasure to educate and mentor new, young and up and coming guides.
Brian Nel – Specialist Guide
Brian Nel was raised in Harare, Zimbabwe and quickly gained a love and appreciation for Africa, its wildlife, cultures and unique way of life. For 12 years Brian had many roles and adventures within the police service including in his position as a sky Marshall on International flights and a VIP driver for political dignitaries. Following Brian’s departure from police services, he was appointed as security supervisor at the Table Mountain Aerial Company and later became a tour guide. Brian now has a total of 12 years of guiding experience.
Lucija Bellairs – Specialist Guide
Lucija grew up in Johannesburg and moved to Cape Town in 1998 to start out as a junior receptionist. She worked her way up the ranks and, after 10 years of consulting, she was motivated to become a qualified tour guide. Today, she is still doing what she loves most – sharing her passion for her country, culture, history and its people with her guests. Lucija’s favorite saying: “Once you get the sands of Africa in your shoes, you’ll keep coming back. Obey that impulse.”
Gregor Rohrig – Photo Specialist & Artist
Through his art, Gregor captures the complex strength and fragility of the human condition. He explores what it means to be, think, feel and dream in the urban world. He has exhibited internationally, from Rotterdam to Milan, and has held various successful solo exhibitions in South Africa. Gregor is also a professional photographer. His background in anthropology, journalism, psychology and business has allowed him to develop a distinctive way of carefully and respectfully documenting events and processes, focusing on capturing the atmospheric and emotional essence of a moment. Gregor accompanies ROAR AFRICA guests who want their trips photographed as a record of their experience. This means as our guest you can get on and enjoy the journey instead of constantly looking through a lens.
Richard Hilton – Wine Specialist
Born and raised in the UK, Richard landed in France at age 21 and fell in love with wine and the culture surrounding it. Richard called France his home for seven years, when he became immersed in every aspect of viniculture – from tending the vines, to treading grapes, to learning the craft of coopering (barrel making). He then headed to South Africa. Inspired by his work with famous Burgundian producers Louis Latour and Olivier Leflaive, he created his own wine business, Pax Verbatim. Richard is a ROAR AFRICA specialist guide who delights in exposing wine lovers to some of South Africa’s rarest and most refined vintages.