Andrea Guerra is a leading private guide and pilot.Andrea started flying in Eastern Australia where he was working as a dive-master and … to put it in his own words "when your first flight as licensed private pilot is over the Great Barrier Reef, it is hard to see your career as an airline pilot at 37 000 feet!" With a university background in natural sciences he then decided to devote his time to flying and travelling – and now spends over 200 days a year flying. Andre guides flying safaris across Africa, he has flown the Cape to Cairo route with guests on several occasions and specializes in flying safaris over Namibia. Namibia is the perfect location for a flying safari, with enormous distances to cover, remote areas with limited road access, small lodges and tented camps with private landing strips, stunning landscapes and uncrowded skies. An avid photographer, Andrea knows just how to fly clients so that they can maximize their photographic opportunities. We asked Andrea to tell us more about his experiences as a private guide.
Questions and Answers
When and why did you become a guide?
I got my first private pilot license in 1993 in Australia, then by 1996 I got my commercial pilot license in Australia and in the US, to be followed by the Namibian in 1999.
What is your most memorable experience as a guide?
Hard to pick one! There are at least three: flying over the ice pack between Arctic Canada and Greenland and deciding to drop down low level for an arctic flying safaris, being able to spot and photograph a polar bear on the ice. Flying over the Suguta Valley in Kenya, playing with the flamingoes and then landing on the dry shores of Lake Logipi. Landing on a grass airstrip in the tiny island of Santa Ana in the Solomon Islands, where our luggage was loaded over the heads of villagers, and then walking 40' in the forest to reach our village for that night.
Safari moment you were most thrilled to have helped a client experience?
Any scenic flight where I can pick the right music to match the scenery and clients' personalities, and then seeing wet eyes when we land. Being able to arrange a stretcher and local crew to take a 94 years old lady all the way to see Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and back.
Top 3 favorite properties:
- Wolwedans and Serra Cafema in Namibia for the combination of setting, scenery and experience
- Luangwa House in Zambia for the great concept of having your personal house in the bush which matches perfectly the idea of traveling with your personal aircraft
- Desert Rose Lodge in Kenya for its remoteness and warmth
Top 3 national parks:
Your favorite trip:
Two in Africa:
- Namibia + Botswana because they complete each other so perfectly.
- From Kilimanjaro to Addis Ababa passing via Serengeti, Uganda, Rift Valley in Kenya and Ethiopian Highlands, because of the variety of experiences it can offer in 10 days. It's basically 4 tours in one! This is Africa.
Outside Africa from northern Australia, across to Papua New Guinea and then into Solomon Islands, and from the Bering Sea in Alaska to Ushuaia, in Argentina, but this is a very long expedition….
Somewhere you have always wanted to take guests but never have?
South East Asia and Pacific Ocean with a seaplane.
What's on your bucket list?
A Grumman Mallard with turbines, an amazing amphibious seaplane to organize journeys around the world!
Two things you always tell your guests to bring when traveling?
A good camera and a positive attitude, both will enhance your experiences.
Two things you think travelers should know about Africa?
- Don't underestimate the concept of cold in Southern Africa, especially in the months of June and July below the equator, and especially when going on safaris very early in the morning with open vehicles.
- If you want to be in the bush, no matter how luxury it will be, the odd insect can get into your tent/chalet/room.
Camera or binocular recommendations?
For a camera, the body must have a good high frame per second speed, and excellent focus accuracy, the lenses must be sharp and of good quality. Otherwise enjoy watching with your eyes and bring home lots of incredible memories.
Do you have a specialty?
Flying of course but in general I really just try to focus on what the clients want, and try to deliver the ideal experience for them. I also really enjoy working with kids, they are fun!