Wouter Vergeer
Netherlands NL
Aug 14, 2014 August 14, 2014

Wouter found time to combine his professional expertise with his greatest passion- the African Safari. In this union of business and leisure, SafariBookings was born.

Category: One on One with Safari Expert ...

After university Tim worked as a legislative assistant before quitting capitol life to backpack around West Africa. During this trip both his love affair with Africa (he has since visited 27 countries over the course of nine trips) and the idea of becoming a travel writer/photographer was hatched.

His work since then includes covering 12 African countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, DRC, etc.) for Lonely Planet guidebooks. He lives in Khon Kaen, Thailand where his newest project is the Isan Explorer tour company (www.isanexplorer.com).

1. When did the travel bug bite you?
My family hardly traveled at all; and never anywhere far away or exotic. So my first real trip was three weeks across England, Ireland and France with a college friend. I enjoyed it, but it was traveling in Ecuador while doing a semester-long study abroad the next year that really got me hooked.

2. What is your biggest struggle as a professional travel writer?
There's nothing truly difficult about being a writer, though the work is far less glamorous than people assume. But overall it's a great lifestyle for me and I have no significant complaints.  I guess compiling transport information for guidebooks is the one thing I like the least.

3. Which safari destination tops your bucket list?
I would absolutely love to see the desert elephants of Namibia.

4. Which park or reserve disappointed you most?
I've been to many parks in many countries that have been destroyed by poaching and/or encroachment, such as Abiata-Shala Lakes NP in Ethiopia, which is now pretty much a park in name only. But, of parks that are still genuine nature preserves, I'd have to say Arusha National Park in Tanzania was my biggest letdown. About all I saw were some zebras, bushbucks and flamingos. And, the day I went I didn't even get a good view of Mt. Meru since it was hidden inside clouds.

5. What is the most posh safari accommodation you've stayed in?
Lonely Planet authors can't take freebies. So, I've visited dozens of amazing safari resorts, but never spent the night. But even a campsite or a simple lodge is pretty special when it's inside a national park.

6. What is the weirdest sound you've heard while on safari?
I still get a good laugh out of the grunting and groaning sounds hippos make.

7. If you could bring only one item on safari, what would it be?
The only other thing I need is a toothbrush.

8. What is the most unusual method of transport that you've used?
I guess I'd have to say riding a donkey in Eritrea.

9. What is the strangest local dish you've eaten in Africa?
I've eaten insects on several occasions, and most don't really taste that bad.

10. If you reincarnate as an animal, what would you want to be?
Chimpanzees sure look like they have a lot of fun.