After finishing his Masters' degree in business economics at Amsterdam University, Joost taught marketing before embarking on his first round-the-world trip that brought him to Asia and Australia. Returning home even a marketing job at KLM could not pin him down and after topping up his travel budgets again he set out to Africa more than 25 years ago, on a 13-month discovery of what was going to change his career and life. First visiting Egypt and the Sudan. For many people, these countries do not typify Africa, but they are the source of Joost's profound love for the continent. From here he entered 'safari-Africa' and was 'sold'. The people, the lively towns and markets, the sights and sounds and, most of all, the smells â€“ these are infused throughout his being.
And then, of course, there is the wildlife. His first experiences in the (Kenyan) bush were not the most memorable ones, due to the mass tourism he encountered on his first safaris. Luckily never old enough to change ways, Joost then discovered 'the other side of safari' further south in Zimbabwe. Expanding his daily travel budget by 1200%, Joost made the best investment of his life by booking a 4 day safari into Mana Pools NP where the old master Jeff Stutchbury ran Chikwenya Lodge. Combining canoeing on the Zambezi with discovering the rich bush life on foot sparked a much deeper interest in the bush. Unluckily foreigners could not become Professional Guides in Zim, so Joost resorted to a converted Landrover that became home and safari vehicle for the next 6 months and the bush never left him again.
Joost's passion for Africa's wildlife lies at the core of Thika Travel and is the reason the company was born in 1987. It became the ideal 'excuse' to venture into the bush as often as possible, and to share his unique experiences with his guests. At the same time Joost is privileged to be surrounded by an expert team of Africa fundis, eager to share their travel knowledge and passion with you. They never tire of Africa and its wildlife and people. It is part of them, and they hope it will become part of you.
Driving by the requests from many a repeat client, Thika Travel ventured into other â€“ mostly pristine - wildlife areas and now operates bespoke individually tailored journeys into Latin America, Alaska and Canada, the Indian Subcontinent and all the Polar Regions. Grown as a beach extension to the safaris, Thika Travel also runs a resort program into the Indian Ocean Islands, is a long time wildlife travel partner for WWF and is proud to have been chosen by National Geographic Benelux to run their travel program.