Travel has been Donna's passion since her teenage years when she spent her summers interrailing around Europe. After taking the obligatory gap year after University to backpack around Australia, she knew that she wanted to turn that passion into her vocation.
Her initial role in the travel industry was with a large tour operator focused mainly on European and Asian destinations. A move to Mahlatini nearly 10 years ago ignited a lifelong love for Africa and her amazing wildlife, peoples and landscapes; the place she now considers as her spiritual home.
Donna is a self-confessed safari purist, continually on the quest to explore the most remote locations and seek out the most elusive animals. Her extensive knowledge of safair Africa has won her a legion of loyal clients who, like her, know that you can never visit Africa just once.
I'm priviledged to have enjoyed a diversity of safari experiences - but a particular highlight was a night-time safari in Kenya. With the only light source coming from the canopy of stars above, you really tune into the amazing nocturnal sounds of the bush. I vividly remember sitting in the game vehicle, in complete darkness, at close proximity to a herd of elephants, listening to their rumbles - it was totally exhilarating.
Top of my extensive list is a walking safari in South Luangwa in Zambia; followed by a stay at Nkwichi, Lake Malawi, to snorkel and kayak in its crystal clear waters.
I find it impossible to single out a preferred safari lodge, so I'll be swayed by my love of good wines and choose Babylonstoren in the Cape Winelands. I've stayed in spectacularly luxurious lodges and hotels all over Africa, but for me the most important aspect of a stay is exceptional customer service and the team of Babylonstoren get that right every time.
Whilst there's nothing as therapeutic as sitting quietly amongst a herd of feeding elephants, I'd have to choose the female cats as my favourite sighting. Lionesses and female leopards are thrilling to watch in action - they are so sleek and beautiful, but also so powerful.
Our first win at the British Travel Awards was a landmark moment - we pride ourselves on going above and beyond for every client, but to have that formally recognised at such prestigious awards for the first time was very emotional. We've since won more awards, but I'll always remember that first!
"I cannot speak highly enough of Donna. She is a true professional and an extremely helpful lady. She has a way with people that makes you feel like you are speaking with a friend. I have already recommended her to family and friends."
"Donna was amazing. As first time travelers to Africa, Donna was so patient with all our questions. Donna listened to what was most important for us and founded the camps/lodges that best met our wishes. We were accompanied every step of the way and didn't have to navigate transit, visas, airfields, etc. on our own, as we saw some others having to do. We will definitely be working with Mahlatini again for our next trips!""'
"Donna responded to our many questions, understood what we desired from our safari experience and placed us in four very different and well-run, unique and luxurious lodges. I relied heavily on Donna's expertise and experience to guide us on this ultimate lifetime experience to Africa. She was fantastic!"
"Donna did us proud. She took into consideration all our needs and tailored the trip accordingly. We simply can't thank her enough. We have had a very memorable holiday which will stay with us forever. We will certainly recommend you to friends and family for your professionalism, ease of planning and booking the perfect holiday for them."
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Our bespoke 12 iconic African journey brochure showcases some of our travel experts' favourite African destinations and safari experiences to help you plan your next travel adventure. Each chapter highlights the unique history, wildlife, culture and experiences of each distinct destination; as well as suggestions for trip extensions, places to stay and top tips from our travel experts who have been there.