Africa Born was created from our partners’ deep love and affinity for Africa’s wild spaces – and a firm hope that our guests will come to share our affection and respect for this precious continent. Both Sam and Paolo are third generation Kenyans and we work with a proud and dedicated Kenyan team, to ensure that all our safaris are ‘homegrown’ and utterly unique.
To the Maasai people who knew him as a boy, Sam Stogdale was always destined for a prominent position in the safari trade. The son of renowned Kenyan hotelier David Stogdale, Sam spent much of his formative years with the young tribesmen who were training to become guides under his father’s tutelage. His godfather is the legendary Maasai warrior, John ole Parmasau, who went on to become one of East Africa’s most celebrated guides.
Since launching his own company, Africa Born, in 2011, Sam and his business partner, Paolo Parazzi, have established a reputation as two of the continent’s finest ‘beach and bush’ outfitters. Sam’s specialties are the game-ruled plains of southern Kenya – and particularly the sweeping Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, considered by many to be the single-most important wildlife sanctuary on Earth.
It was in the Mara that Sam cut his teeth as a young guide: walking in the conservancies that line its borders, studying the Maasais’ legendary bush skills. By the age of 15, he was a certified guide and, at 17, traveled to South Africa to complete the definitive FGASA Professional Safari Guide course. Along the way, he picked up advanced qualifications in trail guiding, birding and game tracking – making him, at the time, one of Kenya’s most qualified young guides.
In 2014, Sam was invited to become one of the partners of Ker & Downey, the oldest and one of the most respected safari outfitters in the world. In 2016, he was made a Director of the company – a huge achievement in one of the most competitive sectors of the global travel industry.
In 2017 Sam qualified as a pilot and Africa Born has now acquired a plane, as he and Paolo are both keen aviators and take to the skies to explore more of the Wilderness at any opportunity.
While flying, guiding and exploring, one of Sam’s other passions is photography. His images have featured in a number of well-known publications such as The Daily Telegraph & The Sydney Herald. As well as been shortlisted for a number of competitions.
Another integral part of Sams life is wildlife conservation. He is fortunate enough to be immersed in this on safari. As a result, wildlife and local communities are at the forefront of his mind.
Sam is usually accompanied on safari by his wife Antonia, widely regarded as one of the finest chefs in the safari business. Trained at Leith’s Cookery School in London, Antonia has helped many of Kenya’s leading camps and lodges – as well as several K&D partners – to train their chefs and design their menus. She now runs her own cookery school at their home in the bush in the foothills of Mount Kenya. Her role guarantees Sam’s guests enjoy the very finest fare to be had in the bush anywhere!
Another wonderful addition to the family arrived in 2018, in the form of their baby girl, Aliya. Named after a beautiful, wild and remote place in Northern Kenya, Aliya, at four months old, sampled the nomadic safari life of her parents, and took to it like a pro!
For a young guide, Paolo Parazzi has a surprising number of strings to his bow. A trained accountant, seasoned diver and boat skipper, this third-generation Kenyan is equally at home running safaris in remote and rugged bushland as he is leading long-distance kitesurfing expeditions, tagging green turtles, or free diving with black tip reef sharks. For visitors to East Africa who truly hanker for a balanced blend of ‘beach and bush’, there are few more qualified – or intrepid – hosts.
In 2014, Paolo and his business partner, Sam Stogdale, were signed up as partners of Africa’s oldest existing safari company, Ker & Downey. It was a testament to the levels of respect and trust that the pair have earned through their own company, Africa Born, that they went straight from junior guides to partners – bypassing what is usually a long and arduous process of qualification and mentoring.
Paolo grew up in Watamu on Kenya’s north coast, the son of an Ethiopia-born Italian businessman and a Sri Lanka-born English environmentalist. His mother’s strong conservation ethic was imbued in him from an early age, as he accompanied her to dozens of villages promoting sustainable fishing practices and raising awareness of endangered marine life. To date, the Parazzis’ Local Ocean Trust is credited with the release of over 10,000 sea turtles – many of them rescued from local fishermen’s nets.
In 2011, Paolo was one of the founders of the pioneering East African guide training school, EcoTraining East Africa, which has put more than 250 local guides through professional courses and delivered conservation training at most of Kenya’s leading safari properties. His unmatched knowledge of Africa’s east coast has established him as one of the region’s leading ocean-based guides, regularly sought out by professional water sportsmen, marine biologists and game fishermen. An extended period as a marine guide on Lamu Island also gave Paolo an unrivalled expertise in the ‘extreme’ kitesurfing and free diving potential of Kenya’s far north – as well as a prodigious ability to find dolphins keen to swim with his guests!
As a leader of a new generation of globally connected Kenyan guides, Paolo has spread his wings to lead exclusive private safaris across Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In the process, he has developed close ties with a number of celebrated conservation charities and their field staff, as well as strong friendships within several traditional Maasai communities – connections that add a compelling extra dimension to his safaris.
Edna Ratemo - Operations
Edna was born and brought up in Nakuru Town. She was lucky to grow up in a beautiful rural area that had close access to the Menengai Crater which has one of the biggest calderas in the Great Rift Valley, and the beautiful Lake Nakuru which is famous for attracting a vast number of flamingos. This helped nurture her love and respect for nature and animals in general, seeing her take part in wildlife club conservation excursions in her formative years to later on dedicating her Master's degree thesis to the Role of Media Diplomacy in Promoting Tourism in Kenya.
She, however, hasn't always worked in the area of Tourism. Prior to joining the Africa Born team, Edna had worked in banking and print media in areas of Sales, Marketing and Client Relations. She has also always had a knack for Music and Theatre that she indulges to date, a passion that has seen her share a stage with legendary international acts such as Kool and the Gang and UB40.
Edna has been a part of Africa Born Team for six years with her role steadily growing to accommodate Operations, Administration and Human Resource. She works behind the scenes to help in the smooth running of all the moving parts that a safari has to make it a success.
Jules Binks - Safari Specialist
Born and raised in Kenya, safaris are at the heart and soul of her family. Jules is what one might call a "safari baby".... Her parents met on safari and her father is a well known private guide, also a partner shareholder in Ker & Downey safaris, and has been leading safaris throughout Africa for nearly half a century.
Her parents passion for Africa has ingrained itself into the core of her soul. Now based in the USA Jules loves nothing more than planning epic adventures for our clients to all corners of the continent so that she can share her passion and love for her home with them. Jules has been privileged to encounter some of the most outstanding experiences in Africa including witnessing countless wildebeest migrations across the Serengeti and Masaai Mara, walking with chimpanzees on the shores of Lake Tanganika, trekking to see the gorillas in the Virunga Mountains, and swimming with Elephants in the Okavango Delta and whale sharks in the Indian Ocean; memories that are priceless - but there are few places that she feels happier than with camera in hand sitting on the roof of her father's Land Cruiser scanning the savannah for the next action packed photo opportunity.
Antonia Stogdale - Chef
Antonia was born and grew up in England but is of Kenyan ancestry. Family holidays were spent on safari in Kenya. A competent horsewoman Antonia was fortunate to have an incredible experience helping out with the horse riding safaris on the acclaimed Borana ranch, it was here that she realised she was most at home.
As well as graduating with a BA in English literature, Antonia also trained as a chef with the renowned Leith's School of Food and Wine where she discovered a passion for cooking. Her innate flair stems from her mother, a successful restauranteur and chef.
With a thirst for adventure and hunger for the vast expanses of Africa, Antonia moved to Kenya in 2007 where she started a community conservation project running her own camp Tassia Lodge in partnership with the Maasai community in Northern Kenya.
It was at Tassia that Antonia put her professional training to good use, teaching the local Maasai how to create a sumptuous colourful fusion of food in the Bush. While running the Lodge, Antonia wrote a cookery book based on the recipes she had created incorporating the vision of community conservation. Tastes of Tassia was published in 2011.
At the same time, Antonia also founded Antassia, a grassroots initiative which harnesses the traditional beading and jewellery making skills of the Maasai women, thereby creating a sustainable source of income for them and their families.
The woman's group has flourished and is now a successful design project creating beaded handbags and empowering over 100 women through employment.
In 2018, Antonia started her cookery school in the Bush. Antonia's Kitchen is situated at her home on the slopes of Mount Kenya and offers a variety of cookery courses catering for safari chefs, home cooks and youngsters on Gap year's. When she is not running cookery courses or designing beaded items with the Maasai, she can be found with her husband, Sam, and daughter Aliya taking guests on safari with Africa Born all around Kenya and other parts of East Africa. Antonia is the genus behind the incredible meals and menu planning that goes on with all Africa Born’s private mobile safaris.