Meet the team
Meet the team
Meet the team
Founder | Adventurer | MD
Before founding Encompass Africa, Jonathon “Jono” Wilson’s CV covered just about every safari-related job and discipline you could think of: overland guide, staff trainer, first aider, business strategist, safari specialist. On top of that he’s driven, flown, pedalled, paddled and hiked all over the continent. It’s no wonder he dreamed of being able to share his beloved Africa with the world via his own safari holiday company.
Born and bred in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jono fell in love with the safari life at an early age, thanks to adventure-loving grandparents who took him on regular jaunts to Kruger National Park.
After university, where he completed a Bachelor of Marketing, majoring in Commerce, Jono joined the corporate world before quickly realising that his heart belonged to the bush. Craving adventure, he began working as a guide, taking groups on long overland trips across Southern and East Africa. It was on one such tour that he met the Australian woman who was to become his partner in business and life: Danica. They met, fell in love and moved to the UK, all within the space of a few months.
After learning more of the travel trade at Flight Centre in London, Jono received an incredible offer to help set up an innovative new travel company offering safari and beach holidays to Africa and the Indian Ocean. It was an exciting time and strengthened the foundations for Jono to do something similar with his own safari company. Which is exactly what he did when he and Danica moved to Australia in December 2008.
Six months later, Encompass Africa was born (with a couple of children being added to the mix in the years after that!).
The company recently celebrated its 10th birthday, a testament to Jono’s vision and the much-loved and respected business he, Danica and their team have created. For Jonathon, an African safari is all about adventure that excites, challenges and rewards. He and his team genuinely care about their guests and go out of their way to ensure all of the experiences they recommend are not only the best that Africa has to offer, but also help contribute to the future of the continent.
Encompass Africa’s charismatic leader is famous for his epic storytelling skills, hilarious sense of humour and, above all, love for Africa. Integrity, honesty, knowledge, passion and expertise are traits he values highly – plus he likes everyone to have fun along the way!”
Check out Jonathon’s top tips and best momentsTop tips Best moments
Leader | Guest Services | Creative
Brisbane-born Danica Wilson has an impressive CV. With a Master of Business and Bachelor of Arts under her belt, she’s worked in leisure, entertainment, tourism, arts, culture and creative industries, as well as for local councils and government bodies in Australia and the UK.
Africa has been her world since 2003, when she quit her job in Brisbane, sold her house and took off on an overland adventure. “Life-changing” is a term used often in association with travel, but never has it been more appropriate than when describing Danica’s incredible trip. Because it was here that she went on an overland tour from Johannesburg to Nairobi, fell in love with the guide (a certain Mr Jonathon Wilson) and then moved with him to the UK just a couple of months later. The rest, as they say, is history.
During their time in the UK Danica had some truly rewarding roles, including marketing manager of a theatre company in the Scottish Highlands. Back in London she worked as Marketing Manager with Arts Council England’s Creative Partnerships program, testing the impact of the creative industries on learning in disadvantaged regional schools, and then as the Director of the Creative Industries campaign at Make Your Mark, an entrepreneurship program for young people.
After five years and loads of travel, Danica and Jono headed to Australia in order to realise a long-held goal and launch Encompass Africa. Their dream came true on 1 July 2009. Today, Danica’s considered one of the ‘well-versed’ professionals in the industry, and is the driving force behind the company’s marketing vision. Like all of the Encompass Africa team, she’s dedicated to the principles of ‘exceptional service’ and loves nothing more than working with guests, learning everything about them and their ideas for a dream African getaway. Then her competitive streak kicks into gear as she sets about creating the ultimate safari holiday itinerary that blows all expectations out of the water.
Now a mother of two young children, Danica is also an expert at planning family holidays in Africa and loves nothing more than going on safari with Jono and their two kids.
Check out Danica’s top tips and best moments