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 lodge managers and guides under his father’s tutelage. His godfather was the legendary John ole Parmasau, who would go on to become one of East Africa’s most celebrated Maasai guides. As mentoring pedigrees go, Sam had few equals.
So it was no real surprise when, in early 2014, Sam was invited to become one of the partners of Ker & Downey. Still in his 20s, Sam is one of the company’s youngest lead guides – a huge achievement in one of the most competitive sectors of the global travel industry.
Since launching his own company, Africa Born, in 2011, Sam and his partner Paolo Parazzi have established a reputation as two of the continent’s finest ‘beach and bush’ outfitters. Sam’s specialities 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, fixing vehicles in rudimentary workshops. By the age of 15 he was a certified guide and, at 17, travelled 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.
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. Her participation guarantees Sam’s guests the very finest fare to be had in the bush anywhere!