It is a special year for Jonathon, Danica and the team as Encompass Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary. We’ve come a long way over the years, so we wanted to share the story behind how it all started and our successes.
Originally founded in 2009, Encompass Africa was Jonathon’s brainchild. He started out as a one-man-band full time with the support of Danica who had her own career (whilst in her spare time, created the brand, website and marketing collateral). Core to the business has always been conservation and creativity, the merging of passions and specialties with Jonathon (overlanding and guiding and passionate about Africa’s wilderness and wildlife) and Danica (creative industries professional).
‘May you never lose your way in life.’
The business name was created easily with a beautiful story behind it. It all started in 2003 when Jonathon’s father, Trevor gave him a compass just prior to departing South Africa bound for the UK with a backpack, head full of dreams and Aussie girlfriend on his arm. Engraved on the back of the compass were these words – ‘may you never lose your way in life’.
The compass led Jonathon and Danica all over the world on adventures and finally to Australia where they hung up their backpacks ready to turn their dreams into reality. A business plan had been formulated by the pair on their epic ‘gap year’ and was quickly implemented once on Aussie soil.
‘The compass symbolises our instrumental role in navigating fantastic holidays to Africa’
Encompass Africa, as the name suggests, offers an all-encompassing service (and highly personal). We like to think the compass symbolises our instrumental role in navigating fantastic holidays to Africa.
Little did the pair know the global financial crisis had been in full swing (GFC) while they were off the grid. Fortunately both Jonathon and Danica have parents who were entrepreneurs, so their work ethic and true grit was engrained. The business began to fly and Danica quit work to join Jonathon.
‘Wonderful staff have joined along the way’
Year on year Encompass Africa grew thanks to its great service offering, wonderful guests and the power of their word of mouth. The original ‘home’ for the business in a New Farm apartment became too small so the pair moved to Nundah and converted a stand alone garage into the Encompass Africa office.
Wonderful staff have joined along the way including Laura Macrae who was instrumental in creating a seamless guest service offering, Gail Hughes who worked hard on sales with Jonathon, Bronwyn Dearham and Nicola Marques who passionately ran our Guests in Africa offering from Johannesburg and Ehan Hendricks our accounts and finance guru. Others briefly blessed us with their commitment and passion for Africa including Derek Burchell-Berger on our social media decks from Cape Town, Chloe Kurts and Ivona Siniarska in Melbourne, Sandra Jackson and Aymar Heyns in Brisbane.
It would be amiss to say there hasn’t been hurdles along the way. The most impactful of course outside our control – the drop in Aussie dollar value, Ebola outbreak in 2013/14 and acts of terrorism in Nairobi.
Fast forward to 2019 and the Encompass Africa team remains small so our personal touch is never lost. What we look for in our team is passion, professionalism, creative thinking and commitment to conservation. We are so grateful for the hard work and effort from our team.
Gen Thurgood thank you for your undying love for Africa and commitment to unbiased advice and seamless holidays not to mention going the extra mile for guests.
Steph Osorio you are sensational at creating wonderfully rewarding holidays for guests and engaging them in the planning process so their excitement is as rewarding as the experience itself.
Katie Branson thank you for believing in Encompass Africa as a career opportunity. You have flourished and learnt so much as a professional and we benefit each and every day. Your commitment to perfect and attention to detail rewards us in the office and guests exploring Africa.
‘responsible for raising and donating $50,000 to various charities and conservation causes in Australia and Africa’
We have people we contract for services like database creation and maintenance (Sam McCormick you are magic) finance (thanks Cate and team), digital marketing and SEO (welcome back SHOUT), writing and editing (Ginny Cumming you rock) and all things computers and tech (Josh high fives to you!).
We have a handful of bragging rights like being:
- The first African travel company to become a member of ATTA
- An inaugural member of We Are Africa
- Finalist in the 2015 Luxury Travel Awards for best tour operator
- responsible for 10,000 peoples’ holidays to Africa
- responsible for raising and donating $50,000 to various charities and conservation causes in Australia and Africa
We are so blessed to have a wide client base ranging from solo adventurers, couples young and old, honeymooners and retirees, families and groups of friends from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Mongolia, Mexico, the USA and even the UK. So to our guests past and present – a huge thank you! Thank you for keeping us in business for ten years.
Keep an eye on us over the coming months as we refine how we do things, improve our knowledge sharing so you benefit from better holidays in Africa.
So there you have it. Encompass Africa in a nut shell!
So if you’d like to talk to us about how we can get you to Africa, or if you want to work with an amazing African travel team, then please do get in touch with us on +61 (0)7 3266 2377 or [email protected] and we’d be more than happy to help.
Alternatively, find us on Facebook here and follow our adventures. We are always updating our followers with handy hints, insider tips on Africa travel not to mention sharing the latest and greatest safari experiences.