Like the safari industry itself, James Robertson was born and raised in Kenya, where his appetite for adventure has earned him a reputation as one of the modern pioneers of the global safari business. Thirty-five years after leading his first expedition, James is chairman of the board at Ker & Downey, and an influential leader of the new movement in community-led conservation.
James’ reputation for never following the same itinerary twice, and for continually searching out new experiences for his clients, has won him admirers across the industry, as well as an army of repeat guests – including two families who have each travelled with him 26 times!
Although James’ first love and main base is Kenya, he is an “all-Africa guide” and is just as likely to be found travelling through any of the game-rich parks, reserves and conservancies of eastern and southern Africa.
In 2001, James was a founder of The Mara Conservancy, a ground-breaking and widely-admired partnership between conservationists and the county government, which established a new public-private template to protect the critical wildlife dispersal areas north of the Maasai Mara Reserve. He also sits on the board of the Kenya Wildlife Trust, and his unrivalled contacts enable his guests to meet some of the leading conservationists and wildlife researchers in the world.
Having been raised on the edge of Tsavo, Kenya’s largest national park remains close to James’ heart. His latest conservation focus is on protecting the last of Tsavo’s ‘Great Tusker’ elephants, of which there are around 10 bulls each carrying in excess of 200 pounds of ivory. He is working closely with the Tsavo Trust to protect these precious pachyderms.
James and his other half, Abigail, live within a wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of Nairobi, where they host most of their guests personally. They work together as much as possible out on safari, where their shared passions are apparent to anyone travelling with them.