Out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary

by | Feb 8, 2017 | At the Fireside with Peter Hayward

Grand safari greetings to you

It’s a strange feeling to meet Goliath face to face.

But the thing about giants and why they are extinct is that they have to catch you first! These mammoths are weighed down by too much ego and complexity.

Many years ago when I undertook a grand safari I got a bit overwhelmed by the sheer pomp and ceremony surrounding this illustrious luxury goods cartel I was to host. Would it be good enough for them? And so it went on throughout the planning stages of this huge 200 guest safari camp. Tossing and turning every inch of the way and figuring out how the camp needed to be more comfortable to impress these business tycoons.

Of course added to this was the angst of the agent. You know, that equitable middleman that acts as the decision making balance in the event. Of course their nerves need to be of steel as they put forward “David” (me) with his slingshot (a simple canvas tented camp) as their candidate – against “Goliath” (some or other international hotel chain) so well known and oh so predictable.

This was a decisive moment in my safari career – the make or break point. What were my options? What would your options be?

The aha moment came to me in the early hours of the morning. I couldn’t possibly out-décor an oil baron’s estate. Nor could my library match theirs or my finery take up the challenge. But there was something I had which was rarer than the rarest possession. I could offer them a piece of untouched Africa. Something others could not access.

Then to add to my arsenal in a moment of pure enlightenment I realized there was something I could do that would further enhance my client’s experience. Something the guests would recognize as truly valuable…

…Service with Soul.

These were guests that had travelled to every quarter of the planet, lived in the finest hotels and eaten in restaurants that Michelin would cry for. A service decree that went beyond a happy pleading smile would need to be amplified. What was “good service”? How was it rated? Could the standard 5-star level of service be beaten and if so, how would this be possible? The answer to these questions led to a new magic formula which has been the credo of my organization ever since and which our Safari Academy is based on.

I call it the Zen Safari – where less is more and more is less. More or less.

Yours in exploration,


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