A fourth generation Kenyan, Mikey Carr-Hartley was raised in the African bush on his family’s 45,000-acre ranch, Rumuruti in Laikipia and spent his childhood surrounded by local tribesmen gaining invaluable first hand knowledge of African wildlife. The Carr-Hartley family have a long heritage in East Africa, where Mikey’s grandfather, Tom Carr-Hartley, was a renowned wildlife handler.The families extensive knowledge and mutual love of the African landscape and its indigenous wildlife, & people led to Mikey and Tanya setting up their own company in 2000 to guide and manage private luxury safaris in East and Southern Africa. They also founded four luxurious properties and camps in Kenya. Mikey along with his wife & children Sala, Kinna and Tisa, spend many months of the year in the African bush, guiding clients around Africa showing them the very best the country has to offer.
Questions and Answers
When and why did you become a private guide?
Born into it. Grew up on the back of a car either catching wildlife or on safari. Love for wildlife and nature grew from there.
What is your most memorable experience as a guide?
Tough question! There have been so many. Its always amazing to touch people's lives and show them the importance of Africa and the conservation of its wildlife.
What safari moment were you most thrilled to have helped a client experience?
Taking an 87 year old lady up to the gorillas who had two fake hips and a bad knee. We helped make her dreams come true.
Top 3 favorite properties?
Obviously my own (Sala's, Sasaab, Solio and Giraffe Manor - some of our favorites as well). We created them in our favorite places. In the spots that show off Kenya to it's maximum with all the frills that make them the best. But aside from that - Parmigana, Mnemba Island and the overall experience of Mikeno.
Top 3 favorite national parks?
- Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo because it's so incredibly diverse, wild and untouched.
- Masai Mara in Kenya with its immense wildlife and the big cats.
- Okavango Delta in Botswana because of the diversity of wildlife, topography and terrain.
Your favorite trip?
A combination of Virunga to see the Gorillas, volcanoes and then the culture & anthropology of Northern Kenya, big cats in the Mara ending on Tusitiri Dhow off the Kenya Coast.
Somewhere you have always wanted to take guests but never have?
What's on your bucket list?
Churchill Wilds in Canada and salmon fishing in Alaska.
Two things you always tells your guests to bring when traveling?
Sunblock/lip balm and a good pair of binoculars.
Two things you think travelers should know about Africa?
The size of Africa in relation to the rest of the world and that accessibility isn't like the states. Traveling around is more complicated and involves some careful logistics - so use a reputable operator.
Camera or binocular recommendations?
For binoculars Swarovski or Leica. Best size are 10 X 42. For cameras it is good that one person in the party has a good digital SLR with preferably a 100 to 400 mm zoom lens. Make sure that you always bring a spare battery and a spare SD card.
Do you have a specialty?
Multi generational safaris - big groups that require careful management and have a lot of different requirements. Especially having older guests and young guests in the same group. Your knowledge needs to be 360 and it is a fun challenge always needing to be able to diversify as an individual.