Campfire Conversations: tales from the African continent is our podcast, which started as an experimental way to keep the conservation around safari moving during the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020! Hosted by Brett, we welcome listeners to a virtual fireside chat in Africa. Over a drink of choice and around a campfire, Brett sits down with a variety of special guests and friends who lead adventurous lives and careers in the bush. The stories we tell on our podcast are real memories, experiences, and opinions intended to entertain and allow listeners an escape to Africa. Pour yourself a cold one and join us!
Episode 1: Jo Cooper and Michael Grover
Walking up the coast of South Africa in a sarong with a 28kg backpack has been a highlight of Footsteps Through Africa founder and safari guide Jo Cooper’s career so far. Michael Grover is the co-director of Activating Africa and consultant for conservation initiatives that boost socio-economic development in African communities living alongside wildlife areas.
Episode 2: Tayla McCurdy, Ale Olivieri and Brenden Pienaar
Tayla McCurdy is a presenter on WildEarth (formerly SafariLive). Her (one-sided) dialogue with animals she encounters in her life as a safari guide makes her Instagram stories addictively amusing. Ale Olivieri is the founder of private safari company called Wandering Thru and she is by far the most exotic guest we will have on this show! Brenden Pienaar of Lowveld Trails Co. is a great friend and mentor and trails guide Ninja. He is obsessed with primitive wilderness trails and is undoubtedly THE person you want to get lost in the bush with.
Episode 3: Grant Beverley and Brian Masters
Grant Beverley is Kruger Park’s African wild dog expert; a local celebrity and Endangered Wildlife Trust‘s wild dog researcher. Brian Masters is undeniably safari’s finest funny man, but don’t let his mature-audience jokes fool you, this guy is one of the best field guides out there.
Episode 4: John JD Dixon and Katherine Kuntz
John Dixon – JD to most – refers to himself as a 1960s model, which means he has decades of safari experience behind him. He is a true legend of the region and knows all the songs to prove his hours spent around campfires! Katherine Kuntz is a Texan import sporting khaki and veldskoen just like a local. She’s a safari guide and a nature enthusiast and she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity in 2015.
Episode 5: Joel Alves & Michael Grover
Dr Joel Alves is a wildlife veterinarian with some WILD stories to tell. You can be sure to see him throughout the Greater Kruger region where he races between numerous rhino dehorning operations and performs life-saving treatments in the field on all sorts of animals, from small antelope species to elephants. Mike Grover is back for more (first introduced on episode 1), adding insight and perspective from his field of expertise in human-wildlife conflict and environmental health. An invaluable member of this conversation, thank you Mike!
Episode 6: Shannon Wild & David McLerran
Shannon Wild invited us to her beautiful home in the bush and we did our thing with gin and tonic, local Zwakala lager and a gently smouldering fire! Brett talks about his 3.5-second glimpse of the black leopard in Kenya while Shannon shares about her months spent pursuing the real Black Panther in India for her National Geographic documentary. Dave McLerran joins us too, all the way from Texas, where we believe he ran away from the President in favour of a quiet life in Africa. Too bad, though, because he has joined Shannon and her husband Russell MacLaughlin in their fast-paced world of wildlife filmmaking!