Our Founders

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.

Africa Born Sam Stogdale

Sam and his wife, Antonia.

Sam Stogdale

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!

Africa Born Paolo Parazzi

Paolo in Rwanda.

Paolo Parazzi

Meet Paolo Parazzi, one of the founders of Africa Born, a guide with an unquenchable sense of adventure and a wealth of experience. Paolo has a diverse range of skills and expertise, from a trained accountant and private pilot to safari guide, diver and seasoned fisherman. This third-generation Kenyan is just as comfortable leading safaris in the wilderness as guiding long-distance kitesurfing expeditions, flying his plane, or free diving with black-tip reef sharks. For visitors seeking the perfect blend of beach and bush experiences, Paolo is the ideal host.

Paolo's childhood was shaped by his upbringing in Watamu, a coastal town on Kenya's north coast, where he still resides today with his wife and twin girls. His wife, Hen, is also part of the Africa Born family, overseeing their marketing efforts and contributing to their shared vision. Born to an Ethiopia-born Italian businessman and a Sri Lanka-born English environmentalist, he was immersed in a world that celebrated the importance of conservation from an early age. The Parazzis' Local Ocean Trust, a testament to their dedication, has successfully released over 21,000 sea turtles, many of which were rescued from local fishermen's nets.

In 2011 Paolo and his business partner, Sam Stogdale, founded Africa Born. Three years later, they were honoured with an invitation to become partners of Ker & Downey, Africa's oldest existing safari outfitter. With a rich guiding legacy, mentorship, and a steadfast commitment to conservation and local communities, this partnership has helped Paolo grow and enabled him to gain experience offering unmatched luxury and exceptional guided experiences in the most remote corners of the continent.

At the forefront of a new generation of Kenyan guides, Paolo embraces a holistic approach to guiding, driven by innovation and creativity. His adventures have now spanned across sub-Saharan Africa, enabling him to establish connections with the local operators and communities along the way. With an extensive network of relationships throughout the continent, Paolo uniquely curates personalised adventures for his guests, enriching their experiences with depth and meaning.

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