Paul Swart attended the University of Cape Town and began his career in the tourism industry as a junior guide in the remote Linyanti region of northern Botswana under the tutelage of renowned safari guide and conservationist Map Ives. He steadily worked his way up the ranks at some of the best game reserves in Southern Africa. Prior to forming Natural Migrations in 2006, Paul was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ker and Downey USA. He also represented the South African based Thebe Tourism Group in the USA as Sales Manager. Before moving to the USA in 1997 he served as General Manager of Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, which is consistently voted one of the top game reserves in South Africa. He was instrumental in the development of the original “Game Rangers Course” for guests at Sabi Sabi, now an extremely popular experience offered throughout private reserves in Africa. In addition, Paul worked for Wilderness Safaris, including at the renowned Mombo Camp in Botswana's Okavango Delta as a Professional Guide and Lodge Manager. During his tenure at the private game reserves, he liaised with local communities developing eco-tourism programs.
Paul was a member of the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) and sat on the committee that was involved in establishing the code of conduct and standards for professional guiding in South Africa today. He qualified as a FGASA Level Three and SKS Dangerous Game Qualified Safari Guide, the highest achievable ranking. Paul represented the Game Lodge Portfolio on the Mpumulanga Tourism Authority, an organization responsible for the marketing of Private Game Reserves adjacent to the Kruger National Park. In the past he served for six years as an Executive Board Member of APTA (Association for Promotion of Tourism to Africa) in the USA and was on the advisory board of Luxury Travel Agent Magazine. Paul was Chairman of Safari Professionals of the Americas and is also a trustee on the board of Rhino Conservation Botswana, a non profit organization. When Paul is not in his office he enjoys horse riding and currently competes in three day eventing. He visits Africa several times a year to maintain his knowledge and the valuable relationships he has nurtured over the years.
Caroline Swart - Director
Caroline Swart has been involved in the travel and tourism industry since 1985. After graduating from high school she attended college and began working as a travel agent in Johannesburg and then moved to Cape Town. Her passion for wildlife and animals led her to a career change and she found herself involved in the private game lodge industry. Caroline has worked in some of the most recognized luxury private game reserves and lodges in South Africa and Botswana including Mala Mala, Sabi Sabi and Mombo. Starting as a receptionist at Mala Mala Private Game Reserve she worked her way steadily up the ranks at the various camps to become lodge manager. She completed a preliminary guide training course in Botswana and was also involved in reservations, sales and marketing.
Caroline wrote a company newsletter and became an avid photographer, documenting environmental projects such as habitat management and conservation. This, combined with her lodge experience, gives her a comprehensive understanding of the safari industry. Having resided in the USA since 1997, Caroline stimulated her interest in art and design by qualifying as an interior designer. She purchased an African Fine Arts gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho, and spent three years successfully managing it, gaining knowledge of African histrory and culture. Caroline visits Africa on a regular basis to update herself on new developments in tourism and conservation.
Neil Grant has an inherent passion for Southern Africa – he was born in Johannesburg and grew up in various parts of South Africa including Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. As a child, he and his family were able to visit some of Southern Africa’s game reserves. The travel bug was securely settled in his soul! Once Neil completed his schooling, he decided to expand his passion for travel beyond Southern Africa. He went to work at some of the top lodges and resorts in the UK and traveled extensively throughout Europe. It was here that Neil learned more about varying travel experiences, ranging from backpacking around Europe to catering to some of the most exclusive and prestigious clientele at world-class resorts. After returning to Cape Town, Neil began working within the hospitality industry for several years. But with his wanderlust yearning for a new adventure, he and his best friend decided to head for the US to discover yet another continent. They traveled across the US for a few months before settling in San Francisco. It was there that Neil met his future wife, Carrie. Carrie’s background included working for one of the most successful adventure travel companies in the Bay Area – they clearly shared a passion for travel!
Neil and Carrie married in the US and, seven years after Neil arrived in the US, they decided to head back to Africa and settled in Cape Town where Neil established himself as the first South African to be certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He became the founder and Chairman of the South African Sommeliers Association while running the # 1 fine dining restaurant in the country. He then established three of Cape Town’s top restaurants. He is well known throughout the South African hospitality industry and has established strong relationships with wine makers, chefs, restaurant owners and hotels throughout the country.
Twelve years and two children later, Neil and Carrie again got itchy feet and decided to move back to the US to be closer to Carrie’s family in Boise, Idaho. Neil is thrilled to join long-time friends Paul and Caroline in designing unforgettable trips to Africa! Neil has spent his career investigating and discovering his client’s needs and preferences to create a superb experience. His passion and knowledge of the African continent enable him to create personalized experiences that you will remember for a lifetime.
Map Ives - Professional Guide and Wildlife Conservationist
Map Ives began his acclaimed wildlife career in 1976 when he joined the Zimbabwe National Parks Department as a field ranger. His early projects took him to areas like Darwendale where he helped establish a protected area for birds around a newly formed lake, and Chizarira National Park in the Zambezi escarpment where he conducted lengthy foot patrols to ward off poachers and record data on black rhino populations.
In 1979, he moved to South Africa where he became one of the pioneers of the country’s private safari industry at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Mpumalanga, working for three years as a professional guide. In 1982, he returned to Botswana where he led walking safaris based out of mekoro (dugout canoes) into the remotest parts of the Okavango Delta. At the time, the Okavango was still relatively unknown so he spent a great deal of time exploring the area, living on islands while gathering plants for identification. He soon realised that the Okavango Delta was one of the finest and most pristine environments on the continent and embarked on a study of as many facets of this unique system as possible, from the geological formation of the Delta and surrounds, to the movements and localities of bird and mammal populations.
He joined Wilderness Safaris’ environmental department in 1992, working on its sustainability projects. It was at this time that through a joint venture, Wilderness Safaris and Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks
began reintroducing black and white rhino to northern Botswana. Map’s work in conservation led him to being asked by Botswana’s Minister of Environment and Tourism to chair a committee charged with the management of the Moremi Game Reserve. 2012 and 2016 he was appointed as the National Rhino Coordinator for Botswana where he played a major role in the planning and implementation of a national rhino management strategy as Botswana increases its populations of black and white rhino. He represented his country at the SADC Rhino Group as well as for the African Rhino Specialist Group.
In 2015 he retired from Wilderness Safaris to form the Rhino Conservation Botswana Trust which he ran until 2020 when he resigned to return to his original profession and passion as a professional safari guide.
Map’s is acknowledged as a leading expert on the Okavango Delta, it’s various components and wildlife populations, and has also established himself as spokesman for the protection of this unique wetland of international importance. He is passionate about conservation and the linkages between the tourism economy and the protection of wild landscapes in Africa as well as local communities.
He has been married to Kathy for thirty five years and they have two adult children, Kirsty and William.