If you put all your fingers and toes together you would still not be able to add up to how many years ago David arrived in Southern Africa. Initially he trained and worked as a commercial pilot in the Eastern Cape before moving north to Namibia.
Here he was lucky enough to meet his future wife & business partner, Charlotte. After a couple of years working in aviation and safari management they headed off to Botswana where they ran and built lodges together for four years. The conclusion of their time in Botswana was marked by their marriage at Camp Okavango, after which they decided to return to Namibia and set up home in Windhoek. They purchased shares in what was then ‘Africa Tourist Info.’ and just under two years later bought the remaining holding of the company, and ATI Holidays as we know it was born.
How did you get into tourism: after NASA through me off the shuttle program
What is your ‘must have’ travel items: the wife and a credit card
If you were a super-hero what would your name and super power be: The Honey Monster? No, how about Severus Snape, who besides his fantastic potion skills, showed an unswerving loyalty through love to a seemingly lost cause, which is a kin to supporting Huddersfield Town FC!
What is the most unusual client behaviour that you can tell us about: There really are just too many, but the Italian couple who in the Okavango clubbed their hot water bottle to death with a walking stick, takes some beating. They randomly assumed that the soft warm thing at the bottom of their bed was a snake?!
What meal could you eat everyday: a med/hot Butter Chicken with garlic naan and jeera rice
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you: I once lost a juggling competition to an alien with 10 arms. No really. I also used to be commercial pilot until the door fell off my plane - but that’s a story for another day, best told around a camp fire, over the odd Islay malt.
Charlotte first arrived in Namibia from the UK in 1997 shortly after completing her degree in Environmental Science. She worked for a while on a guest farm west of Okahandja and a bird rehabilitation centre outside Windhoek. After meeting David a few months later they moved together to Maun, Botswana. Here they ran Oddballs Camp in the heart of the Delta before moving to Desert & Delta Safaris where they worked at a number of different lodges in their capacity as relief managers.
During this time they spent evenings trying to persuade elephants to move out of camp, they rebuilt lodges in the heaviest rains for 20 years, fended off inquisitive lions late at night in Savuti and generally had an amazing bush experience.
In 2002 Charlotte & David decided to focus on building their own business somewhere a little more sedate, and moved back to Namibia to buy a share in ATI Holidays before taking over sole ownership in early 2004. Charlotte remains passionate about her background in environmental education and management, and these beliefs are at the heart of ATI’s sustainable tourism vision.
Today she is the financial brains behind ATI’s success.
How did you get into tourism: by accident, I wanted to live in the Okavango Delta
What is your ‘must have’ travel item: a sarong and a camera (I know, that’s two…)
What is the most unusual antics have clients gotten up to: we had a Belgian guest at Oddballs who jumped into the channel outside the bar and started doing laps in his speedos (having been warned earlier that day about the 4m croc)
What is your favourite book and/or movie: Philip Pullman His Dark Materials trilogy.
A quote to live by: Don’t let the bastards get you down.
What meal could you eat everyday: Curry.
Margo joined the ATI Holidays team in April 2011 in the then newly created position of marketing manager, with no delusions of grandeur whatsoever she was soon referring to herself as the ‘marketing department’.
After finishing high school and her studies Margo spent a number of years travelling through South Africa and Europe, working first in the golfing industry and then in the actuarial department of an international insurance company… no wonder she took up rock climbing in her spare time.
Eight years later Margo found herself moving back to her home country and pursuing a career in tourism.
First establishing and heading up the MICE division of one of ATI Holidays’ competitors before being head hunted to join an Italian specialist ground handler before joining ATI Holidays.
What is your ‘must have’ travel item: Dental Floss – some things you just cannot explain
What is your favourite holiday destination: My in-law’s spare bedroom – it’s cheap, in the Cape winelands and the food is really good!!
If you were a super-hero what would your name and super power be: Mamma Crunch… She can prepare fresh, wholesome, organic food with a flick of her manicured hand, she can coax a baby to sleep through the night with a touch to the temple, her house is immaculately clean whenever she turns the key in the door…. I am the eternal optimist, but with a young son and three puppies I doubt it will ever happen.
What is your favourite book and/or movie: Bill Bryson’s Short History of Nearly Everything. It went down a whole lot easier than Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time.
A quote to live by: It’s better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt
Monica grew up in the small town of Kamanjab, in the heart of Damaraland and spent most of her free time on her grandfather’s farm on the outskirts of the petrol station. This is where her love of the outdoors started and developed into a passion. At the end of 2002, fresh out of school, Monica started her career in tourism. Working at a privately owned lodge on the western border of Etosha. This is where the travel and tourism bug bit hard and what was supposed to be a normal summer job turned into a career.
In 2007 she joined Wilderness Safaris and worked at some of the most exclusive lodges throughout the country, from the Caprivi strip to the isolated Skeleton Coast. Whilst working at these lodges she had the opportunity of getting involved in some of the amazing conservation projects that are going on in Namibia, including the Desert Lion Conservation as well as the Desert Elephant project.
After Wilderness Safaris, she decided to take a chance to see what “town” life is all about and moved to Swakopmund where she lived for about 2 and a half years, before moving to the north of Namibia, to Ongwediva and in July 2012, Monica finally moved to ‘the big city’ and joined the team at ATI in November 2013.
What is your ‘must have’ travel item: Sunglasses and a box of wine
What is your favourite holiday destination: Bhutan or Thailand
What is the most unusual request/question you have had from a client: Do Giraffe eat meat? It was American clients at Hobatere while on a game drive.
What is your favourite book and/or movie: Dan Brown & Jonathan Keller Thriller Novels…movies to many to name
A quote to live by: Thoughts become things
What meal could you eat everyday: Sushi & Pasta
Tell us something that not everyone knows about you: Worked with Flip Stander of the desert lion conservation, as well as Keith Legget of the Desert Elephant project.
Mureal was born in Walvis Bay but grew up in the city Windhoek and joined the ATI Holidays’ team in March 2011 on a part-time basis as maternity cover, but made such an impact that she was offered a full-time position.
She loves music, singing, socialising with people and travelling and speaks three languages. Like the majority of our staff members, she has travelled quite extensively around the world and loves experiencing new things.
How did you get into tourism: Aupair job in Germany encouraged me to want to deal with foreigners….mmm not sure if it was a good idea
What is your favourite holiday destination: any Caribbean island or place that has beaches, sun and cocktails
What is your favourite book and/or movie: Hangover 3
A quote to live by: Treat everyone as you would like to be treated
What meal could you eat everyday: Indian or Thai curries
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know: Ahhhh – I am not only a consultant here at ATI Holidays but was also really good at athletics at school
Christine completed a diploma in Travel and Tourism at the Cape Technical College as well as her Western Cape tour guiding course before moving to Walvis Bay in 1996 where she worked for a small company doing city tours and transfers and met her husband, who she bowled over by introducing herself as Cindy Crawford – that’ll do it!
A year later she relocated to Windhoek, joined Wilderness Safaris Namibia as a tour consultant and worked her way up to a Lodge Manager, Operations Manager and Market Unit Manager.
Christine joined ATI Holidays in January 2012, and after a baptism of fire emerged, still smiling, to lead our team of consultants
How did you get into tourism: I originally wanted to go into conservation, but was told that a woman in conservation will only do school trips around the office – definitely not what I was signing up for so I decided on tourism instead… I have two teenagers now, so the prediction did come true!
What is your ‘must have’ travel item: Bombay Sapphire
If you were a super-hero what would your name and super power be: Why would I need a name?? I am a mother – that qualifies me already!
What is your favourite book and/or movie: All of the Harry Potters – I believe in fairy dust
A quote to live by: Sleep when you’re dead
Tell us something about yourself: My mother tried really hard to turn me into a real lady. First she tried ballet, when I became too much for her, she took me to try my hand at modelling. Did not help either. I think she gave up at the age of 10.
Corinna, who is a fully fledged Namibian-German joined the ATI team in April 2013. Growing up she spent a lot of time on her grandfather’s farm surrounded by about 250 horses – this ‘country estate’ is now called Midgard.
This love for all things equestrian resulted in Corinna competing in horse riding events from the age of 9 and she has represented Namibia in both show-jumping and equitation (no, that is not a spelling mistake and I had to google it as well) now that Corinna has been forced to ‘grow up’ she doesn’t have as much time to ride, but does try as often as is possible!
After finishing high school in South Africa and studying graphic design, Corinna did the obligatory stint in Europe, travelling and working in both Germany and England, and it is in England where she discovered her love for the travel industry, more specifically business travel, and has been fortunate enough to visit more than a dozen countries during this time.
In 2011 Corinna returned to Namibia – and made the switch from business to leisure travel, first joining a aircraft charter company, where she worked for a year, before joining ATI Holidays
How did you get into tourism: Mmmmhhh…. My parents and I did not agree on what I should study so after a year of studying graphic design at AAA college in Cape Town (I actually wanted to study Make up and special effects or photography). I dropped out and started my working career at Lufthansa working in a call centre. That was my first experience of the tourism industry.
What is your favourite holiday destination: From the places I have visited New Zealand has made the biggest impression on me
If you were a super-hero what would your name and super power be:What do you mean if I were a superhero? I am one! The blonde bombshell that can put a spell on anyone (I wish).
What is your favourite book and/or movie: The Notebook
A quote to live by: Everything happens for a reason
What meal could you eat everyday: Homemade chicken curry with homemade roti. Nom nom!
Tell us something about yourself that few people know: Not only am I a consultant at ATI Holidays but I have had any creative hobby you can think of (and still do some of them): cardmaking, jewellery making, drawing, painting, pottery, knitting, crocheting, photography, working with silver metal clay, woodwork, metalwork, making soap, making candles, origami, calligraphy, sewing, embroidery, quilling, scrap-booking, weaving, writing poetry, flower arranging and probably more……
Here he started working for The Big Five Arts and Crafts shop where he discovered a love for meeting people of different countries and cultures.
After a stint at EuropCar dealing with clients travelling around the Country Martin joined the team at ATI Holidays towards the end of 2013.
Martin is the first face that ATI clients see upon arrival in country and he and his trusty steed, Harry ensure all clients arrive at their first night’s accommodation well rested and refreshed.
What is your favourite holiday destination: My favourite holiday destination though it sounds lousy is still the Smoke that thunders (Victoria Falls).
What is your ‘must have’ travel item: Whenever I travel I always make sure that I have a box of matches, yah matches to scare the lions away.
If you were a super-hero what would your name and super power be: My name would be Visions, The gift of invisibility. The possibility to sneak everywhere I dreamt of, in the Pentagon for instance, the White House, AAAAhhh... I wished... But back to reality!
What is your favourite book and/or movie: I love Comedy, Mr Bean, The gods must be crazy etc.
A quote to live by:Leaders don’t create followers but the create more leaders
What meal could you eat everyday: Braai vleis and the roasted bread
Tell us something about you that not everyone knows: I don’t only put on my tie when inside Harry, the Cheese machine (David’s 20 plus year old pick up) gets the same treatment.
After finishing her high school here in Namibia Sandra returned to Germany to study Hotel Management but after decided that the cold German weather was not for her, Sandra returned to Namibia and started her career in tourism.
She worked for one of our competitors for 9 years before joining the team here.
How did you get into tourism: Apparently I am a people person (who knew) – I actually wanted to study psychology.
What is your ‘must have’ travel item: Jägermeister
What is your favourite holiday destination: still working on that one
If you were a super-hero what would your name and super power be: Mind – reader / Name: PMS (punish men severely)
What is your favourite book and/or movie: I really like “the mummy”
A quote to live by: Opinions are like a**holes – everybody has one
What meal could you eat everyday: anything with Chicken
Tell us something about yourself: I have an older brother and sister. When we were young and went on holiday, we were always bored in the car. So I always started the trouble and by the time by parents were so upset with us and stopped the car. I was asleep and the rest got a hiding.
Megan is another one of our South African imports but moved to Namibia after finishing her university degree. She is currently doing her Honours degree in Business Administration.
This is her first foray into tourism and she is still smiling and telling Tessa Dog off for drinking out of the fish pond.
What is your ‘must have’ travel item: Snacks- because any trip without a bag of snacks is just a car ride!
If you were a super-hero what would your name and super power be: Name- Doctor Delicious Power- I would have a weapon called a Sugar Ray Gun, which turns things into sweet treats. I would drive the Candy Van and have Gummy Bear minions. Cake Fridays in the office would never be the same.
What is your favourite book and/or movie: I prefer series and sitcoms: Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife, Scandal, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Game of Thrones, you name it! My favourite is generally the one I’m currently watching.
A quote to live by: This too shall pass
Tell us something about you: My calculator is never very far away…Ever… Whether I’m at work or not.. Also I like exercise almost as much as I Like eating.
After finishing high school in Windhoek, Ariane left Namibia and moved down to Stellenbosch, South Africa to learn how to drink wine and occasionally take classes to obtain her Bachelor Degree in Tourism Management.
In December 2012 she finished her studies and decided to travel overseas, her interest in farming took her all the way to Western Australia. First working for a sheep farmer and later on she moved around Western Australia working for a fencing contractor pulling up/fixing fences and eventually Ariane worked in the Cattle Industry, driving Trucks, Loaders etc and chasing cattle with horses/motorbikes as a Jillaroo on a 500 000 ha Cattle station.
Thankfully, for us, Ariane decided to come back to Namibia to start my career in Tourism at ATI, and hopefully at some stage in my life can integrate Tourism and Farming.
How did you get into tourism: Mmmm…actually I never got into it… I was born into it….my Parents started our guest farm a few months before I was born.
What is your ‘must have’ travel item: My Tigger (Winnie the Pooh) Teddy bear “Senf” so that I always have a travel buddy!
What is your favourite holiday destination: The ocean no matter where in the world….sun, sea and surfing.
What is your favourite book and/or movie: Please no BOOKs!!!! Movie: Miss Taxas
A quote to live by: Challenge yourself with something you know you could never do, and what you’ll find is that you can overcome anything.
What meal could you eat everyday: Does Chocolate count as a Meal??? If not, Spätzle & Stroganoff…YUM!
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