I was born in Yorkshire, England, and emigrated with my family to sunny South Africa in the early 1980s. We settled in the Mother City – Cape Town.
My love affair with the African bush was soon to begin.
Growing up, we spent holidays in the Kruger National Park, travelled by road through Zimbabwe and experienced the mighty Zambezi River - sharing its sandbanks at night with the resident hippos and crocodiles. I was left feeling totally in awe of my surroundings. This would be the trip that completely cemented my love for Africa.
My travel career launched in 1995, when I became the Western Cape’s youngest ever qualified Tour Guide, but I soon realised that my true passion lay on the planning side of things. It’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I relish in knowing that I have created the best possible itinerary for my clients – whether it be a luxury family holiday or a romantic honeymoon.
Over the past 25 years, I’ve had the great privilege of working with some of the industry’s top travel agencies, which has given me the extensive product knowledge I have today. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some incredible places and spend time in some amazing safari properties and luxury hotels and resorts. I have also created wonderful relationships with my suppliers, and I continue to work with them closely, ensuring my clients receive only the very best experiences.
I specialise in the following destinations across Africa:
South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Seychelles and Egypt.
Favourite safari moment:
While every moment spent on safari is incredibly special, there is one in particular that will stay with me forever.
When I was last in Botswana, I travelled to experience some of the properties that Great Plains offer and we were based at Duba Plains Camp in the Okavango Delta. We headed out for our late afternoon game drive. We arrived at a relatively large clearing and saw the clouds starting to build on the horizon. A huge troop of baboons were foraging in front of the vehicle and the fish eagles started calling, seemingly to the approaching storm.
As it was November, it was incredibly hot and the area hadn’t seen any rain for quite some time.
Just as the thunder began, a crash of about 10 rhinos, all with baby calves, arrived on the scene. The heavens then opened and as the rain fell, the calves instantly started jumping and playing around. Our guide told us it was probably their first ever experience of rain. It was also the first time I ever cried during a game drive. It was just beautiful.
My spiritual home will always be Africa and I cannot wait to share its majestic beauty with you.
African Leap Safaris looks forward to planning your African adventure with you.
I have gotten to know, and meet, Helen, several times over the last few years, and so happy I did!!! Being born and raised in South Africa, I wanted my husband to experience Africa and see its beauty through my eyes. This would not have been possible without Helen's knowledge, expertise, and determination to help make this happen.
After our first organized Africa trip, it was only obvious to do all our following African trips with Helen – and to date, after having enjoyed 4 different Africa trips, have not been disappointed. Every itinerary just gets better and better – Helen has a natural knack of knowing exactly what would suit us – her know-how on the lodges and respective landscapes, never disappointed.
There is no other agent I would rather have arrange my African trip – and through our interaction, Helen and I have become fast friends!! I cannot wait to see what Helen has in store for us for our next African adventure!! 😊😊😊...."
Helen Kirby was the most extraordinary African Tour Planner for our 2 trips to Africa. She was originally recommended to us by a woman who had lived in Botswana for many years. So, I contacted Helen to help plan an African trip we wanted to take in 2018. In a nutshell, that trip was a trip of a lifetime. During the planning of that trip, as I would bring up ideas for where I thought we might want to go, she would either whole-heartedly agree, or gently explain why our idea might be a bit disappointing. Traveling in foreign countries can be stressful, but Helen made it easy for us. We had such a fabulous time on that 2018 trip that, once again, when we wanted to return to Africa this year, I contacted Helen. Once again we were enthralled by the animals we saw, the fabulous Safari Guides and Trackers, and the gracious and welcoming hospitality of the rest of the Staff at the Safari Camps and other lodgings. If you want a fabulous time in Africa and need an African Travel Planner who really knows what she is doing, I would recommend Helen Kirby in a heartbeat.
Working with Helen to plan our "trip of a lifetime" to Africa was incredible. She met every "want" and made suggestions for experiences that we had not read about. So when we decided to go to Africa a second time, we called Helen. We were not disappointed. She is well known and respected at the lodges where we stayed, and our cultural and safari experiences were extraordinary. Helen is an amazing African tour planner.