Humanitarian, Adventurer, Explorer, and TV Personality
Humanitarian, adventurer, explorer, TV personality, fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a speaker at the New York Explorers Club and a legend that Getaway Magazine calls their Explorer in Residence, the most travelled man in Africa. Kingsley Holgate, is known as the Grey Beard of Africa.
Born under African skies, Kingsley’s adventures started at a young age. Countless hours spent on his missionary father’s lap, he was enthralled by stories of the great Victorian explorers, leading to many daring adventures across our magnificent continent. The Kingsley Holgate Foundation was formed with the humanitarian initiates of malaria prevention, water purification and Rite to Sight spectacles for the poor sighted.
No other group of adventurers have, in a single journey, traversed the entire outline of the African continent through 33 countries; completed a South to North journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Alexandria and the mouth of the Nile; and followed an East to West crossing along the Zambezi and Congo Rivers in the footsteps of early explorers Livingstone and Stanley. He then led a series of unique, world first, wild journeys that allowed the Kingsley Holgate Africa Foundation backed expedition team to embrace every country on the African continent, including her island states.
A true gentleman, family man, sporting icon and all-round legend
Widely regarded as one of the best locks in world rugby, Victor Matfield’s list of accolades on the field is truly remarkable. 3 Currie Cup trophies, 3 Super Rugby titles, 2 Tri-Nations titles as well as the coveted Web Ellis Cup when South Africa was crowned 2007 World Cup Winners for a second time. Although having retired as a player, Victor still plays an active role in the sport and is now a key part of the coaching staff for the Golden Lions Rugby Union. His wealth of knowledge and experience on the field are proving invaluable for a team looking to build on recent success.
Victor’s passion for the outdoors and wildlife in particular has led him to his current position as MD for Wildswinkel Voere, a company through which a better understanding of the biology and nutritional needs of varying game, has developed a range of feed tailored to each animal’s dietary needs, to ensure the survival of your animals through times of harsh drought. Victor Matfield, we salute you and welcome you to the WILD Generation.
The Lion Whisperer
WILD Coolers welcomes Kevin Richardson to our pride of ambassadors.
After graduating with a BSc degree, Kevin began his career in exercise and postoperative rehabilitation. He made a dramatic career switch when he was given an opportunity to work with lions at a local lion park. As a self-taught animal behaviourist, he has broken every safety rule known to man when working with these wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal’s spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them, he uses love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds with them. His unique method of getting to know their individual personalities, what makes each of them angry, happy, upset, or irritated – just like a mother understands a child – has caused them to accept him like one of their own into their fold.
Kevin’s unique relationships with these large predators have opened many doors and captivated the imagination of many people throughout the world. He has presented and produced several documentaries that detail his relationships with the animals and highlight the plight of lions both in captivity and in the wild.
As well as work on feature films Kevin has also written a book appropriately named, “Part of the Pride” detailing his work over the years with the large carnivores and is now affectionately known by his fans worldwide as “The Lion Whisperer”. He’s currently updating the book to reflect his current views on lion breeding, hunting and the new threats lions are facing. He also touches on how he has evolved as an individual who fell in love with two lion cubs in the late 90’s and how they help changed his life.
Founder - Mavungana Flyfishing
Drowning worms in dams, rivers and even the neighbour’s fish pond are some of Jonathan’s earliest memories of fishing. Schooled in the UK, he learnt the art of flyfishing on the rivers Wye and Usk. A love of nature and its conservation saw him complete a degree in Zoology in South Africa, and go on to work in reputed Game Reserves and Lodges as a ranger before moving to Dullstroom and starting Mavungana Flyfishing. Jonathan has fished and guided all over the world, throughout Africa, the Seychelles and Indian Ocean Islands, Russia, Norway, Brazil, New Zealand and the USA.
Tim Driman aka "Gonondo"
Gonondo is the Zulu name given to Tim by his African staff many years back. It is the generic name given to the “inyanga” or medicine person, in a typical, ethnic Zulu village. The inyanga is highly perceptive, a good psychologist and an excellent judge of behaviour and character. To the rural villagers, these powers are seen as magical or “mtakathi” powers. (Tim is a fluent Zulu linguist with exceptional knowledge of Zulu ethnic culture and their traditions.) Retired entrepreneur, qualified FGASA Field and Trails Guide, and wildlife and nature photographer, Tim has grown up in the bush around South Africa, sometimes venturing as far as Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique, paying close attention to the various styles of conservation management found in those areas. Tim is always ready for a challenge, project or adventure! His motto is “have cameras – will travel!”
Explorer, Author, Speaker and Producer | No Food For Lazy Man Trust
As one of the world’s leading explorers, Riaan has captivated thousands of people through his bestselling books and motivational talks; worldwide.
Riaan rose to prominence by becoming the first person to cycle around the perimeter of Africa. It took him exactly two years, two months and fifteen days, alone and unaided. This achievement earned him the title “Out There Adventurer of the Year 2006” and his first book, “Around Africa on my Bicycle”, became a bestseller. As if cycling the perimeter of the African continent wasn’t enough, he also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and descended to Lake Assal, the highest and lowest points in Africa and met Mr Nelson Mandela.
In 2009, Riaan became the first person to circumnavigate Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island, by kayak – also alone and unaided. For this Riaan received his second accolade, “Out There Adventurer of the Year 2009” and “Around Madagascar on my Kayak”, his book recounting his amazing feat, also received acclaim.
March 2011 saw Riaan take on mystical Iceland and her arctic waters accompanied by a handicapped friend, who suffers from cerebral palsy. “Around Iceland on Inspiration” saw the two paddle 2 300 kilometres (1 429 miles) to circumnavigate Iceland in a double sea-kayak over a five month period.
In 2016, with his new wife Vasti, the pair embarked on a history-making Pacific Ocean row, breaking the Guinness World Record for fastest row in history from California to Hawaii, a record previously held by a 4-man team.
He has set up a charity organisation called No Food for Lazy Man whose aim is to provide disadvantaged children with a sporting chance at a brighter future. The No Food for Lazy Man trust identifies schools throughout the Province that are in dire need of assistance and supplies them with basic sporting equipment to ensure all our children receive the recreational stimulation necessary to build confidence, character and instill teamwork.
CEO and Guide - FlyCastaway
Gerhard has been fly fishing since the age of 13. After finishing school in 1994 he guided and managed a small fly tackle shop in Dullstroom, before heading off to the University of Pretoria where he studied information science, psychology and publishing. After graduating, Gerhard decided to pursue his passion for the fishing industry.
His saltwater fishing and guiding has taken him to just about every atoll and archipelago in the Indian Ocean and he has extensively fished both the east and west coasts of Africa. His focus on Southern Africa’s indigenous freshwater species like Tigerfish and Yellowfish has made him a forerunner in these fields. Over the years he has fished in just about every country in Southern Africa. He was instrumental in the development of the patterns and techniques for Largemouth Yellowfish. On the saltwater side Gerhard was instrumental in leading exploratory trips to west Africa looking for monster size Tarpon and has to date landed a fair few of these brutes, a feet never before accomplished. He is an accomplished fly tier and has designed numerous freshwater and saltwater fly patterns that are used all over the world today.
Over the years, conservation of our natural resources has become one of his primary objectives and he was instrumental in raising funds for and creating several conservation and research programs studying a variety of Africa’s indigenous species. His attention to detail and in-depth knowledge of Africa and her fish species ensures that FlyCastaway will stay cutting edge.
Colin Campbell and
Founders - Vagabond Fly
A lively and focused duo, Colin Campbell and Pieter Taljaard, are the individuals and driving force behind Vagabond Fly; a fly fishing and lifestyle portal that encourages passion, adventure and community within the world of adventure fly fishing. Working as a collective, they have built an international reputation for creating engaging content. They dominate the digital fly fishing space and offer their audience exposure to fly fishing and lifestyle via world class photography, film-making, and editorial on their vagabondfly.com website, and within the Vagabond Fly social media channels.
Born out of a passion for fly fishing, Vagabond Fly has built a fan base that extends beyond simple fishing terms. Vagabond Fly is quick to uplift any passion-driven project, rapidly making them favourite partners in the bush, adventure and travel industries. The Vagabond Fly adventure has taken them into the heart of South Africa and sent them to the reaches of the Seychelles, Lesotho, Botswana, Argentina, the Florida Keys, and on countless other epic journeys.
Action Sports Media Producer and Ocean Fanatic
You probably won’t meet a guy who has spent as much of his life in the ocean as Greg Kitto. He’s the guy with itchy feet as soon as the south wester hits Durban, and he’s almost always a stone’s throw from the beach.
An avid surfer and an action sports media producer, Greg has spent the last 15 years travelling the world covering surfing, fishing, kayak adventures, lifesaving, surfski and other watersport events. Having worked very closely with big global brands like Oakley, Jeep and Go Pro, to name few, one of his focusses has been brand building through doing what he loves – capturing epic imagery to reinforce what those brands are all about.
Mark de la Hey
TV Presenter and All-round Awesome Fisherman
Mark’s obsession with fishing began at an early age. Spending 3 months of each year at Cape Vidal as well as countless fishing sessions off of St. Lucia, it didn’t take long for him to learn the ins and outs of saltwater fishing. His time boarding in the Midlands allowed him to master his freshwater game and under the watchful eye and guidance of his grandfather he has grown into an incredibly skilled and knowledgeable fisherman.
After leaving school Mark studied Photography and Design – IMM Marketing and, shortly after this, he worked for three years on super yachts as second mate and sports fishing captain in 38 different countries around the world, learning invaluable lessons worldwide.
Upon his return to South Africa, ESA was born and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Since then he has presented and produced in excess of 500 fishing programs to date including ESA, Freespool Angling and Reel Africa TV. Mark is currently working on some exciting new projects. Watch this space!
Owner - Apnea Productions
Barret Harvey is the owner of Apnea Productions in Durban and creator of The African Spearfishing Diaries series. He has been a specialised sports producer for over 10 years, having produced television shows for SuperSport in the genre of fishing, surf ski, surfing, mountain biking, and beach volleyball, among others.
Today he mainly specialises in the creation of content around the sport of breath hold spearfishing. As one of the top free-diving videographers in the world, he is always travelling the globe filming clients as they chase some of the largest fish to be taken on spear. Barret is an adventurer, sportsman and film maker that tries to share his exciting life with the world through his cinematography.
Writer, cook, and travel-hungry African adventurer
Since his younger years, Johan has always showed an interest in film, which saw his working for the SABC after his studies at Pretoria University. He very quickly learnt the tools of the trade and began planning a production of his own. His passion for travel, food and the African continent became his inspiration for the breath-taking show, Voetspore. Filming for Voetspore is done while on road and off the beaten track in some of the most gruelling environments, where quality gear is paramount to the success of the expedition. Some of these expeditions include; Gansbaai to Gabon, Aghulas to Alexandria, Cape to Kilimanjaro, Casablanca to the Cape, the Great Rift Valley and Madagascar.
Leaving the African continent, Johan and his team recently circumnavigated India on Royal Enfield Motorcycles, a journey which took 3 months to complete and produced some of the most fascinating television. The aim of this move from Africa is to slowly introduce South African viewers to other BRICS countries. BRICS being an acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Johan, we wish you many more successful adventures, near and far.
Journalist, traveler, presenter, editor and guide
Toast Coetzer was born in Cradock in the Eastern Cape, and grew up on a farm in the district where his parents instilled a deep love for nature in him and his siblings. After discovering during high school that he loved writing and taking photographs, he attended Rhodes University where he got a degree in Journalism & Media Studies (he later also completed a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at UCT).
His journalism career and his love for the outdoors came together when Weg/Go magazine started employing him to document distant corners of South Africa, and later beyond. During his 12 years at the magazine he has travelled hundreds of thousands of kilometres in pursuit of the perfect campsite, the most epic view, the most joyful gravel road to drive. He has searched for forgotten battlefields in KZN, given shepherds a lift in the Drakensberg and mixed tales with the Bushveld’s best in Alldays. He has hiked up an active volcano in the DRC, come face to face with mountain gorillas in Uganda and searched (and found) the green-headed oriole on the slopes of Mount Gorongosa. He has filled countless magazine pages with his stories and images about our wildest places, from his beloved Eastern Cape Karoo to Namibia’s rugged Kaokoveld, from the Okavango River to Tanzania’s Ruaha, from Mali to Mauritius and (almost) all in between. He has been to Timbuktu, Ujiji, Uitenhage and Tonteldoos. He has a particular love for distant ocean islands like St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Marion, and the birds that keep there, like albatrosses.
Toast is also a co-presenter of the travel show Weg Agterpaaie, now in its third season on VIA (channel 147, DStv), a regular photographic guide on Weg/Go’s Botswana tours and speaker at events ranging in topic from photography to birding. He was awarded the PICA Award for Travel Writer of the year in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Toast is also in a spoken-word band called The Buckfever Underground, the co-editor of a literary zine called Ons Klyntji and a host of The Unhappy Hour, which broadcasts live from Cape Town on community radio station Bush Radio 89.5 FM every Sunday 6-8 pm. But give him a mountainside anywhere in Southern Africa, and the outline of a Verreauxs’ eagle above, and he’s happy as can be. You can follow him on Instagram @toastcards (and yes, he still writes postcards…)
Roger and Pat de la Harpe
Photographers and writers with a passion for conservation, natural history, wild places and indigenous cultures.
Roger and Pat make frequent excursions into various regions of Africa in pursuit of great stories and imagery, some of which have featured in local and international publications. Together they have published 27 coffee table books, many of which are a celebration of nature and the environment.
As part of their commitment to using their photographic and writing skills to greater affect, two of their latest books – In Search of the African Wild Dog and In Search of the African Lion – have a strong conservation emphasis. They hope, in this way, to increase public awareness of these two species and their current predicament and to highlight the urgent need to find sustainable solutions to the various issues surrounding them. Their most recent book, African Icons, a limited collector’s edition, was published in 2015 and has sold out.
They also own and manage Africa Imagery, a niche image bank of the people, wildlife and landscapes of the African continent, and also undertake commissioned photography in the tourism sector – both stills and movies – and offer advice on, and sales of photographic equipment.
#Flysaint and Professional Fly Fishing Guide
Trevor grew up in a small rural community called Thendela on the banks of the Mooi River. Meandering its path through the foothills of the Drakensberg, the Mooi is a river teaming with brown trout and as a youngster, watching his uncle fish with a hand line, earthworms and a tiny luggage lock as a sinker, is what ignited Trevor’s passion for trout fishing.
On a neighbouring farm he noticed anglers fishing with what he thought was a piece of bamboo, flinging line back and forth. A method he considered to be rather unconventional yet incredibly effective. His curiosity grew…
Later, the KwaZulu-Natal Fly Fishing Association took the Thendela community under its wing and initiated the Thendela Fly Fishing Project with the youth of the area. The aim of the project was to teach fly fishing as a recreational pastime and to assist with creating a community managed river fishery on the Mooi River within their own tribal trust lands.
Trevor instantly jumped at the opportunity to get involved and hasn’t looked back since. He is currently in Bolivia working with Angling Frontiers, guiding for Golden Dorado and also targeting other exotic species like the Tabarana, Yatorana and Surubi.
With his youthful charisma, Mvelo Trevor Sithole is steadily building a home for himself in the global fly fishing industry and we at WILD Coolers are incredible proud to have him around our campfire sharing tales of successful releases and the trophies that got away.