Claire Picknell Travel Expert

An African national, Claire spent her formative years in Malawi, 'The Warm Heart of Africa'. Her passion for marine life was ignited by frequent visits to Lake Malawi; world renowned for its crystal-clear waters and home to the highest number of fish species of any lake in Africa.

Her first job in tourism, as a scuba diving instructor, combined her love of water, marine animals and connecting with people who love exploration travel. Her progression in the travel industry saw her live and work in various roles across South Africa and Mozambique; before a move to the northern hemisphere to be nearer to family.

Claire has been with Mahlatini since its early years and has crafted literally hundreds of incredible journeys across nearly every single destination within its product portfolio.

Known as the 'Warm Heart of Mahlatini', Claire's infectious love for her native Africa, combined with a genuine desire to make clients' travel dreams come true is reflected in her catalogue of amazing client reviews.

My African destination specialisms

  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe
  • Zambia
  • Namibia
  • Tanzania
  • Kenya
  • The Seychelles
  • Mauritius
  • Botswana
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Most Memorable Travel Experience

I have so many great memories, but it has to be a helicopter safari over the Maasai Mara, Kenya. Flying over the Great Rift Valley and hovering over the Mara Plains, whilst absorbing the incredibly diverse scenery and seeing herds of elephants from the skies genuinely took my breath away.

My travel wish-list

Number one on my bucket list is visiting 'The Pearl of Africa' - Uganda - to see the gorillas in their natural habitat. I know it will be the most incredible experience and a lifetime memory worth waiting for.

Favourite lodge

Elsa Kopje in Meru National Park. I travelled there with my partner on his first safari adventure and it was magical sharing that unforgettable 'first-time' experience.

Favourite safari animal

Controversial maybe, but I love a huge gnarly crocodile. They are living dinosaurs as they haven't really evolved for 65 million years.

Best #MahlatiniMoment

Recent opening of the Cape Town office. Mahlatini is like my family and it's amazing to reflect on my journey here. I joined a UK office of only 6 people, over 10 years ago, and now the team has mushroomed, with three office locations and a client base stretching across the globe.

My client feedback

Enrico Polegato

"Claire patiently assisted us while I changed plans 20 times. She organized 10 days we will never forget and made us eager to go back to Africa. All we can say is thank you!!"

Italy

Shaun & Kathleen Mulvaney

"Another first-rate trip, which has left us wanting to repeat the experience. This was our fourth holiday arranged by Claire, and as we have come to expect, everything was organised to perfection. The accommodation she recommended for us was ideal."

UK

Anne O'Leary

"Claire was really great to deal with and did a wonderful job even though I had given her a great challenge in arranging my trip at very short notice. Well done Claire - we do appreciate all your efforts and would not hesitate but to recommend you to others."

Italy

Laura Ottenritter & Brian Sando

"My husband and I had the most amazing trip of our lives! Every car transfer, every accomodation, every outing was absolutely perfect. Our travel consultant, Claire Picknell, was amazing!"

UK

Paul Wilson

"A huge answer to prayer. I cannot praise Claire enough. She was helpful at every moment. Honest. Encouraging. She arranged a trip that meant we had no worries and that's exactly what we needed. Our itinerary was a bit complex, but I never felt like this was difficult or an inconvenience for Claire unlike others I had spoken to. In fact, it seemed like she relished the challenge. I will definitely be in contact again if I have another more unusual trip to take."

UK