Michelle HavemannTravel Expert

Michelle was raised near one of the most iconic safari destinations, the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Holidays were spent exploring nature, so it felt like fate to end up working in the African industry. Michelle's Italian mother worked for a major Italian tour operator and her dad was a tour guide in the Kruger National Park on weekends, so tourism definitely flows through Michelle's veins.

After years working as an overland tour guide, establishing a tour operating company on behalf of someone and working in various accommodation establishments, including a stint living in both Italy and the UAE, she decided to start her own tour operating business. Michelle and her husband lived in the bush for 10 years, before the opportunity to be part of the Italian department at Mahlatini arose and she felt like it would be the role of a life-time. Michelle lives on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park and regularly hears the roar of lions and the whoop of hyenas at night.

My African destination specialisms

  • Mozambique
  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Seychelles

Most Memorable Travel Experience

While visiting the northern Kruger I was on the walkway one evening chatting to the GM before bedtime, and suddenly he told me to be quiet and crouch down. I soon found out why! One of the dominant bull elephants of the area had silently, for an elephant that is, come closer to us and was munching away at the leaves on a tree not 2 metres away! Thank goodness we were on a raised walkway and he was relaxed. We sat for at least 1/2hr sat in the darkness listening to him. A truly humbling experience to be in the presence of such greatness!

Travel Wish-List

Oh, wow too many to mention. But for now, I would have to say a horseback safari at Chyulu Hills in Kenya. As a lifelong horse enthusiast, there wold be nothing better than sharing my love for horses alongside my love for the bush, and encountering big game while in the saddle, would be a big tick off the bucket list for me.

Favourite Lodge

Being in this industry have given me the opportunity to visit some stunning locations, and for me one of the best is Kings Camp in the Timbavati Game Reserve. The staff go above and beyond, the game viewing is just fantastic and it is a must visit destination on anyone's bucket list.

Favourite safari animal

Rhinos are very close to my heart. These prehistoric creatures are so undeserving of the extinction that they now face, and are just such wonderful, bumbling "tanks" of the bush who literally carry their heart on their face and deserve to be protected.

Best #MahlatiniMoment

When I stayed at Chitwa Chitwa with my husband and daughter. We were spoilt at the lodge and saw 3 leopards in two game drives, as well as 3 beautiful lionesses with 7 young cubs. We just love the bush!