Our Story

ABOUT STANLEY SAFARIS

Stanley Safaris is a small, specialist safari tour operator based in South Africa. Every safari we design is completely bespoke to suit the interests and budgets of our clients. We take exceptional care to speak to our guests during the planning phase and we use our extensive knowledge of Africa to design the perfect safari to Africa for you.

When design bespoke, luxury safaris to Africa we only work with small, independently owned camps and lodges whose focus is on guiding and the overall experience our guests are going to have whilst on their safari. We have handpicked each of the camps in their specific locations due to the experiences they offer, their commitment to the local communities and conservation projects and the guides and staff they employ. This is key to ensuring our guests have the best possible African safari, but at the same time we know that by staying in those camps, they are contributing directly to local employment and local conservation projects.  

The History of Stanley Safaris

​Growing up in South Africa, Shaun Stanley’s parents loved to go on safari and spend as much time in the bush as possible and so from an early age, Shaun got to explore South Africa, camping everywhere they went.

Exploring Namibia 1989
In 1989, Shaun and his parents explored Namibia for the first time, driving from Durban in South Africa, they headed into Namibia, exploring Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park, Damaraland, Epupa Falls in the Kunene and the Fish River Canyon. This gave Shaun his first taste of exploring the real Africa and it was from this early experience that his wanderlust was born. 

Exploring Botswana 1991
In 1991, Shaun and his parents set out on their next big adventure, this time to Botswana. Leaving Durban in their Land Rover, they headed to the Makgadikgadi Pans, Maun, the Okavango Delta, Moremi, Savute and Chobe, camping in these remote areas of Botswana. One of Shaun’s fondest memories was a trip from Maun into the Okavango Delta. After leaving Maun by speedboat, they reached a village where they transferred their equipment onto proper wooden mokoros. From there they headed deeper into the Okavango Delta where they found an island to camp on. This would be their base for the next 2 nights. There were no facilities, no toilets or running water, this was pure wild camping at its best. One evening the guys from the village told Shaun and his group, they had heard elephants nearby, so the following morning they headed out in search of the herd. For the whole day they tracked the herd through the wetlands of the Okavango Delta until finally they came across the herd feeding in a forest. Bearing in mind, there were no guides or rifles in the group and so this was extremely dangerous. Luckily the elephants took off in the opposite direction and Shaun and his group returned to their camp to laugh about their adventures of the day around the campfire.

Exploring Zimbabwe 1993
In 1993, Shaun and his parents set off again on another adventure, this time to Zimbabwe. Exploring Matopos, Hwange, Lake Kariba, Matusadona and Mana Pools. Mana Pools really hit a cord with Shaun who immediately fell in love with the adventure that Mana Pools is renowned for. The ability in those days to be able to go on your own walking safari without the safety of a guide. In the evenings they would have elephants, hyena and even lions around their camp which just added to the overall safari adventure. 

Exploring Zambia 1997
Shaun and his parents visited Namibia and Zimbabwe a couple more times, in the coming years, but it was their trip to Zambia in 1997 that set the course for Shaun’s future. 1997, was Shaun’s final year at school, before heading to university (well that is what he thought at the time), so he had one final adventure to go on before his independence. In June 1997, Shaun and his parents set off for Zambia. The biggest trip so far, they drove from Durban through Zimbabwe and entered Zambia via Victoria Falls. Whilst in Zambia they explored the South Luangwa and Kafue National Parks, camping in some of the best wildlife areas of the country. It was during their time in Kafue, that Shaun decided he was not going to be heading to university when he finished school but would rather pursue a career in guiding. He knew he wanted to work in the African Bush and felt that being a safari guide was the best way for him to fulfil his love for safari, but also gave him the ability to meet new people from around the world. 

1998 Shaun becomes a Safari Guide
Shaun studied to be a safari guide and worked in both Zambia and Zimbabwe taking guests on canoeing safaris, walking safaris, game drives, rhino tracking, horse riding and sailing trips. Over the course of the year, Shaun guided international and local guests showing them the beauty of Zimbabwe and Zambia. In 2000, Shaun headed to the UK where he continued to explore the world, venturing to Asia, Europe, North America and South America. 

Exploring Africa in 2002
In 2002, Shaun set off on one of his greatest adventures, driving over 22,000km from South Africa through Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique and Swaziland exploring some of the continents best wildlife areas including the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti, the Masai Mara, tracking gorillas and chimpanzees in Uganda and diving off the coast of Mozambique. 

2002 until today
Shaun remained in the UK for 12 years, travelling the world, but always returning to Africa. In 2007, Shaun got a job at a specialist wildlife tour operator in the UK and because of his extensive knowledge of Africa, helped build their African safari portfolio. In 2013 Shaun and his wife returned to South Africa where they have settled and started a family. For 6 years, Shaun headed up the sales and marketing team for one of Africa’s top authentic safari companies before he finally started Stanley Safaris.

Shaun is extremely passionate about Africa and everything that she stands for – the culture, the wildlife, adventure and so much more. He loves designing exciting safaris for his guests and always tries to push them a little out of their comfort zones to include a little adventure in their journey. Shaun uses his extensive knowledge of Africa and tries to recreate the journeys and experiences he had as a child when designing safaris for his guests.
 
If you are looking for a Luxury, Bespoke, Authentic Safari to Africa, then get in touch with Shaun and his team and let their passion and knowledge for Africa create the perfect safari for you.