Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams - Aardvark Safaris

Inspired by wildlife and wild places from childhood Matthew studied for qualifications in animal management and a degree in zoology at Reading University before flying off to Australia. Years of adventures and working with eagles, kangaroos, crocodiles and venomous snakes followed, in both the arid outback and the tropical Top End. Including being the English guy wrangling venomous snakes from people’s houses! Whilst at university and during his time in Australia Matthew was also fortunate enough to hop over into South-East Asia, seeing orangutans in Indonesian and Malaysian Borneo, spending time in Java and volunteering with elephants for a number of weeks in the rainforests of Cambodia.

But Africa was calling and after five years in Australia, it was time to experience another great wildlife wilderness. Matthew, with a specialist interest in birds and specifically, birds of prey, headed to South Africa and volunteered at a number of raptor and wildlife sanctuaries, spending time in Kwazulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga, before eventually returning to the UK and continuing to work in bird of prey conservation. What followed was a stint working in education as a lecturer in animal management, when Matthew headed to South Africa again, this time, to a game reserve in the Eastern Cape.

Matthew is excited to join Aardvark Safaris to share his passion for wildlife and birdwatching with clients and to help them plan trips to see specific species.  He’s looking forward to learning about the incredible wildlife destinations throughout Africa and the possibility of travel to Uganda and Rwanda to see Chimps and Gorillas.

Favourite African Experiences

Too many to pick just one! Seeing a lion pride successfully hunt a buffalo in the Masai Mara. Being in the centre of the great migration with wildebeest and zebra as far as the eye can see in the Serengeti. Taking a scenic flight over Lake Natron and seeing flamingos in their thousands against the colours of the lake. Soaking that all up and at the end of each day sipping your favourite drink at sundowners, realising that what you’ve witnessed is so very special. Every time there is something new!

Favourite Animal

As a birder, my favourite is the African crowned eagle. A magnificent forest eagle, endemic to the continent and stunning in both juvenile and adult plumage. They embody the ancient feeling that Africa emits. As for mammals, it’s lions for me. I don’t think you can ever forget the breath-taking, primeval feeling the first time you encounter a lion in the wild and I still get that feeling every time.

Favourite Three Camps

Gibbs Farm – For spectacular location and views, alongside wonderful hospitality.

Gibbs Farm

Gibbs Farm

Shompole Wilderness – For the birding and opportunity to use their excellent photography hide.

Shompole Wilderness

Shompole Wilderness

Chem Chem Lodge – For a little bit of luxury, alongside the array of animals found in and around the lodge.

Chem Chem Lodge

Chem Chem Lodge

African Countries Visited

South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya

On arranging holidays

What could be better than sharing your passions! Whether coming to us with a very specific idea or a completely blank slate from which to work, the idea of putting together the best possible experience of Africa is truly humbling and exciting in equal measure. Producing bespoke trips for each and every person means that the satisfaction of getting it right is even greater. With a particular interest in the wildlife and birdlife, I love nothing more than curating a trip around those interests but equally I want everyone to experience Africa in the way which is right for them, so that they leave with that special feeling we have all been lucky enough to come away with.

It’s all about relationships, including those we have in Africa and I really enjoy talking to people about what is possible.