For a young guide, Paolo Parazzi has a surprising number of strings to his bow. A respected conservationist, trained accountant, seasoned scuba 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 turtles, or free diving with reef sharks. For visitors to Africa who hanker for a balanced blend of ‘beach and bush’, there are few more qualified guides.
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 turtle conservation for her Local Ocean Trust. He also spent much of his youth on safari in the Kenyan bush, staying with family friends who own some of the country’s leading luxury properties – a connection that adds an intimate ‘homecoming feel’ for many of his current guests. In 2011, Paolo co-founded the pioneering guide training school, EcoTraining East Africa, which has put more than 250 guides through professional courses and delivered conservation training at most of Kenya’s major 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.
Having travelled and guided throughout East Africa, Paolo is now widely recognised as one of the top wildlife guides of his generation. Together with his business partner, Sam Stogdale, Paolo continues to broaden his wilderness repertoire – leading recent safaris to Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia and Mozambique. In the process, the pair have developed close ties with a number of celebrated conservationists, as well as strong friendships within several traditional Maasai communities – connections that add yet another compelling dimension to their safaris.