Eleven Generations Can't Be Wrong
On 12 May, Deborah Calmeyer’s family arrives in South Africa. Daniel Hugo, a French Huguenot, travels here on the Dutch ship Brossenberg, and settles in Franschhoek. Simon Van Der Stel, Governor of the Cape Colony, signs land over to Daniel Hugo.
Deborah’s maternal great-great grandparents, Hester & Heinrich Hablutzel. Heinrich, grandson of a Swiss doctor, started an Auctioneering business in Cape Town; it is still there today. His wife, Hester, was born in Cape Town and her cousin was J H Hofmeyr, a Rhodes Scholar and Prime Minister of South Africa prior to the Apartheid government.
Deborah Calmeyer’s great-aunt and paternal grandfather, Margaret and Colin Scheppening, who grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape. Colin Scheppening becomes a lawyer. His wife Hestelle teaches English for 33 years. They live in Johannesburg.
Reg and Molly Calmeyer, Deborah Calmeyer’s grandparents, move from a farm in South Africa to a farm in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe (Glenara Estates, formerly owned by Harry Oppenheimer). The Calmeyers are on Glenara Estates for 48 years.
Deborah Calmeyer’s parents, Tish Keth and Geoff Calmeyer, eating out in Harare, Zimbabwe. A year later, in 1973, Deborah is born. She grows up on a dairy farm with a pet lioness called Carmel (which her father adopted as part of the family), labradors and horses.
Four generations of Calmeyer women, photographed in Johannesburg. From left to right: Deborah Calmeyer; Deborah’s maternal grandmother, Hestelle Scheppening; her great-grandmother, Mimi Hugo; her mother, Tish Keth; and Deborah’s sister, Terry Calmeyer.
The Calmeyers leave Zimbabwe due to mounting pressure under the Mugabe regime. The family’s prospects look better in South Africa.
Deborah Calmeyer’s husband, South African Robert Breen, trekking with mountain gorillas, in the DRC, formerly known as Zaire, on a year-long trip from Cairo to the Cape. In 1999, the couple move to New York, — with every vacation thereafter spent in the Africa they love.
Deborah Calmeyer sets up ROAR AFRICA with the intention of creating a company based around all the ideas, contacts and access she is already giving friends on trips they make to Africa. She starts to build up a permanent team of specialist guides and fixers on the ground.
What Makes Us Unique
If you are looking for an off-the-shelf African safari, ROAR AFRICA is not the right match. We specialize in the tiny detail that turns a big idea into a reality — combining luxury with adventure on highly bespoke trips that dig deep into Africa’s rich potential. This knowledge comes from founder Deborah Calmeyer’s history on the continent, where she was born.
Every guest has the assurance of travel in Africa supported by a ROAR AFRICA guide in the field, as well as a full-time team of employees on call 24-7 based out of South Africa. We are highly experienced in managing private aircraft in Africa, as well as organizing high-profile events.