Meet the Team
We are a group of intrepid and selective travelers and, over the years, we’ve collectively visited almost every desirable destination on the globe. Along the way, we became travel gurus to friends, family and acquaintances: suggesting destinations, accommodation, experiences and on-the-ground contacts.
After many years in search of the ‘perfect safari experiences’, we decided to formally tailor-make Completely Unique Safari experiences for discerning international and local travelers. Completely Unique Safaris is now the culmination of that expertise, matched with a passion for wildlife, conservation and photography.
Guy Ellis was born into a family of intrepid and selective travellers. A native of South Africa, his grandparents started traveling to the bush in the 1950’s, before many of today’s game reserves were in existence.
Guy achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science and Finance which he graduated Cum Laude. He then went on to receive his Honours in Accounting, specialising in Chartered Accountancy, also graduating Cum Laude.
Since a young boy, Guy has loved visiting the bush with his family. Over his lifetime he has been to the bush hundreds of times as both a safari host and guest.
Guy has a deep passion for photography, art and education. He then married this with his keen interest of wildlife and conservation. Guy was appointed the youngest ambassador for the Endangered Wildlife Trust in 2012. This also lead him to officially establish the Leopard Identification Project in 2012 which was formed to obtain an accurate population estimate for leopards. He also founded an emerging African artist and an education initiative that assists orphaned and abandoned children in Africa.
In 2011, after many years of searching for the perfect safari experience with no success, coupled with the growing demand of friends and family, Guy decided to form Completely Unique Safaris (Pty) Ltd. ‘C.U.S’ aims to prepare the finest, personally crafted itineraries to Africa for the most discerning clientele.
Guy realised that to be the most outstanding safari company globally, one has to partner with the best in the industry. They have thus brought on partners that are not only some of the finest guides but are also exceptionally passionate about delivering only the ultimate safari experiences. Guy’s ethos of personally preparing every itinerary with extreme care, passion and precision, as if he was preparing it for himself and his family has been instilled in the C.U.S team.
Guy lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with his wife, Alexa, and their cat, Jet.
Matt’s enjoyment of the outdoors was rooted from a young age. He grew up on a dairy farm in the Natal Midlands and was fortunate enough to spend many of his younger days exploring the bush in Northern Natal at Zuka Private Game Reserve. This was where his love for nature truly took flight.
In 2012 Matt finished studying his business degree at the University of Stellenbosch, it was at this junction that he decided to pursue his passion for nature and sharing it with people. He began his guide training at the renowned Inkwazi Ranger training course at Phinda Private Game Reserve. It was at Phinda that Matt spent the next four years, developing as a guide and guide trainer and eventually becoming head mentor within the guide programme.
Thereafter, he moved up to Kirkman’s Kamp to broaden his knowledge and explore new habitats in the Sabi Sands. During this time, he was able to lead a number of unique safaris through Southern and East Africa.
After a number of years guiding through some of Africa’s most pristine wilderness destinations, his persistence in providing guests with the ultimate safari experience began to evolve. Matt now not only loves to share his knowledge when guiding guests but also uses it to plan personalized safaris, best suited to his guests.
Matt believes that “every safari is a personal and unique adventure, whereby everyone comes away with their own story” Through this belief and his never-ending passion for the bush, Matt’s ultimate goal is to ensure that each person he leads on safari will return home feeling personally enriched from their time in the African wilderness.
Dylan is a professional private guide and African specialist safari travel planner. He has led elite guide teams and managed 5-star lodges throughout Southern & East Africa.
Dylan has travelled and guided extensively which enabled him to gain expertise in the countries that he recommends to guests, as well as, having top contacts among the lodge owners, managers and guiding staff.
Dylan prides himself on a set of credentials that put him among just a handful of guides in Africa. These certifications represent thousands of hours in the bush including walking safaris in lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, hippo, and rhino habitats.
Dylan’s received numerous accolades in the Safari Guide of the Year competition in 2012. Dylan is also a published photographer, and he prides himself on taking images of wildlife and local people that truly tell a story.
When not guiding or planning trips, Dylan has a fly rod or golf club in his hands. He currently holds the title of Tetherow Golf Club Champion. He is an accomplished fly-fishing guide and held the Zambian record in 2010 for the largest African Pike caught on a fly.
Dylan lives in the United States and runs Completely Unique Safaris’ office. With his wife Liz and their Labradoodle, Abee, they travel frequently looking for clear trout streams, mountain hikes and prospective guests with an interest in African travel.
Michelle has founded and run various successful businesses for over 30 years.
Her extensive travels since she was a teenager has served her well and provided her the opportunity to form relationships with guests the world over.
The Completely Unique Safaris team would not be complete without Michelle’s powerful presence and leadership.
Joel Kletz CA (SA)
Joel grew up in Johannesburg as one of four brothers which provided him with survival skills in a wilderness of his own.
He graduated as a top matriculant from King David Linksfield in 2004 where he proceeded to achieve his BCom Accounting Cum Laude and graduated with his Honours in Accounting specialising in Chartered Accountancy from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2008.
Joel proceeded to excel in his articles (traineeship) at Deloitte& Touche South Africa where he gained invaluable experience in various industries.
Joel obtained his CA (SA) RA designation (Chartered Accountant of South Africa and Registered Auditor) upon completion of his articles (traineeship) in 2011.
He then went on to work in Chicago for 3 months and gained further experience in audit and assurance.
Joel has been the Chief Financial Officer at Completely Unique Safaris since its formal inception in 2011 and his zeal for life and flair for business is evident in every facet of the company.
Joel currently resides in Johannesburg with his wife Jade and their adorable pup Georgie.
Born and raised in Durban, Trish grew up with a natural love of the ocean and outdoors. Trish worked for Non-Profit Organisations for 5 years, dealing with abused women and children.
In 2007, Trish broadened her horizons and made the move to Johannesburg.
Trish has been in the logistics industry for 10 years. Amongst others, she manages the transportation of goods to and from our partner lodges, as well as, the transportation and travel of the guests to, from and between the lodges. Some of the CUS trips are full events and Trish manages that everything we need gets there on time and safely.
In 2007, Trish broadened her horizons and made the move to Johannesburg.
Trish also enjoys going to the farm in Limpopo with her husband. The atmosphere at the farm is tranquil and peaceful, you feel at one with nature and the animals. It is time away from the busy city life.
Saul has been working in the pre-hospital emergency environment for over 14 years. He has a diploma as well as a degree in pre-hospital emergency medicine. He has a wealth of global experience, including 3 years in Iraq. Saul has been the COO of one of Africa’s foremost and well-established emergency services, Medi Response, for 9 months.
Saul runs Completely Unique Safaris’ personal and discreet medical support team. Your peace of mind is paramount, and Saul will manage your entire medical solution while travelling throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, including on-site medical experts, remote medical assistance, rapid activation air evacuations.
Saul also assists Completely Unique Safaris’ clients with expert knowledge on which travel insurance is best suited to travel in Africa.
Known fondly around the office as Mama Rose, she takes care of each us as if we were one of her own.
She always assists with greeting and seating clients upon their arrival and taking care of all their needs to ensure their comfort.
In addition, Rose’s astounding ability to communicate in 7 out of the 11 official languages of South Africa proves her to be an irreplaceable member of the Completely Unique Safaris family.
Stephanie matriculated from King David High School Victory Park in 2008. After which she took a gap year and worked as Personal Assistant at a recruitment company. During that year, she had the opportunity to fulfil a dream and travelled to New York City and even got to be on stage during a Broadway production of Hair.
Once her gap year was complete, she attended Wits University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature and Media Studies.
After a few years and experience in different fields, her career led her back to be a Personal Assistant. She has been a part of the Completely Unique Safaris family for a few months now, handling all administrative queries and guest relations. Having fallen in love with the bush from her first visit in 2013, working at ‘CUS’ feels like home.
Steph’s hobbies include finding new and delicious places to eat, music, reading and writing.
Guest Service Representative
Cindy was born and raised on a game farm on the outskirts of the Etosha Pan National park in Namibia.
Her parents later moved to South Africa and started farming livestock along the banks of the famous Vaal River. As a young child, Cindy always had a keen love for animals and an appreciation for conservation.
Cindy volunteers and supports a number of animal safety groups that see to the wellbeing and safety of various animals.
Cindy joined the Completely Unique Safaris team in 2017, serving as the Guest Service Representative. Cindy has a great passion and drives to share her love for the great outdoors and wildlife.
Guest service and attention to detail is an integral part of the completely Unique Safaris customer experience.
She currently acts as the liaison between Customers and the Completely Unique Safaris Operations department in ensuring lines of communication remain open and that no small detail is left undefined.
Cindy strives to build trust and strong long-term relationships with Completely Unique Safaris guests.
She endeavours to improve our guest service and ensure that quality and service exceed every guest’s expectations.
Nadine was born and bred in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She was exposed to the wild from a young age and has fond memories of many a Sunday in her youth spent driving around Naval Hill, home of the Franklin Game Reserve, the only nature reserve in the world to be located in the middle of a city. She, along with her family would do their best to spot the animals in their hideouts.
At the tender age of 18, Nadine made the move to the big city of Johannesburg where she obtained a BCom Honours in Accounting specialising in Chartered Accountancy at the University of Johannesburg in 2010. It was there that she became a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, the world’s largest honour society.
Nadine obtained her CA (SA) RA designation (Chartered Accountant of South Africa and Registered Auditor) upon completion of her articles (traineeship) in 2014.
It was during her traineeship that she had her first tantalising taste of the luxurious and elite safaris that Completely Unique Safaris has become known for when she was assigned to audit the company. She immediately felt an affinity to the vision and the team.
After obtaining management experience at her audit firm and working at a non-profit, Nadine became the Financial Manager of Completely Unique Safaris in 2017-a role she embraces with the energy and passion to match the company she works for.
When not assisting with the financial side of planning the next exciting adventure, Nadine revels in meeting new people, new experiences, planning her own adventures and constantly learning something new every day.
Planner & Private Guide
Daniella grew up in a town just outside of Johannesburg. As the Kruger National Park was easily accessible in only a few hours drive, virtually every vacation or holiday was spent exploring. It was there that Daniella’s passion for nature and wildlife began.
In 2009 she took a gap year and worked on an animal rehabilitation centre in Namibia, where she was jointly responsible for looking after over 250 rescued animals including lion, leopard, wild dogs, baboons, cheetah and many more.
In 2011 Daniella completed her guiding qualifications and started her first guiding position at a lodge in Northern Kruger, called The Outpost. It was always her dream to have the privilege of working in one of the oldest National Parks in Africa. Not long after she started working, she realised that she not only had a passion for nature and wildlife, but also for people and creating unique and unforgettable experiences.
At the end of 2012, she got the opportunity to work at Singita in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. It was there that Daniella was able to grow and learn in so many aspects of guiding and hospitality through the continuous training provided.
In March of 2018, she decided that she wanted to broaden her knowledge about wildlife and take on the challenge of working in a completely new environment. After being offered a head guide position, her new home would become Odzala National Park in The Republic of Congo. There she had the privilege of taking guests out into the right lung of the world, the Congo Basin Rainforest, home to the Western lowland gorilla.
Over the years, birding has become a huge passion for Daniella, and she has birded on 3 different continents. Daniella also enjoys photography, travelling, meeting new people and creating lasting relationships around the world.
Leon van Wyk
Planner & Private Guide
Leon grew up in a rural area in Zimbabwe, and his love of Nature and the outdoors began at a very early age. In his youth, he made the most of the many opportunities to explore the bush that was on his doorstep and he was a fanatical angler.
After serving for 2 years in the then British South Africa Police, Leon attended the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. He successfully completed his BSc Agriculture degree in 1984, with a major in Genetics. This was followed by a post-graduate teaching diploma, and Leon was a high school teacher for several years, his main subjects being Biology and General Science. Much as he enjoyed teaching and excelled at it, his real desire was to work in a game reserve environment.
Leon’s career as a guide began at Mala Mala Game Reserve, where he spent a total of 14 years. In 2004 Leon was appointed Head Ranger at Mala Mala, and in 2006 he and his late wife Jenni moved down to the Eastern Cape, where they ran a small private game reserve, Leon as Head Guide and Jenni as General Manager. Towards the end of 2010, Leon returned to the Lowveld to take on the position of Assistant Head Guide, Singita Sabi Sand. He remained at Singita until he turned 60 in February 2019, when he retired.
Leon prefers a gentle approach to guiding and was often requested by numerous sets of multiple repeat guests who grew to enjoy and appreciate his unhurried style and his dry sense of humour. Leon always tried to encourage guests to become interested in birding, and some of his most treasured memories are of times spent in the bush with keen birders. While he does not profess to be an expert photographer, Leon does enjoy wildlife photography.
His interests outside of guiding include golf (he had a single figure handicap for many years), darts, angling (particularly for tiger fish in his beloved Zambezi River), writing, cooking and watching sport. Widowed towards the end of 2017, Leon now lives with his partner Tracey and 3 cats in White River.
China Office Manager
YiYi Liu is from the beautiful city of Chengdu, China which is home of the Giant Pandas.
YiYi owns a master’s degree in International Journalism from Newcastle University, England.
YiYi has over 8 years of experience in the digital marketing industry, where she helped clients shape their digital marketing strategy in China, building digital platforms and optimizing digital campaigns with effective data monitoring insights.
During her career, YiYi has served industry leading clients that include Hermes, Fendi, Lincoln, Vivo and Queensland tourism.
Now at Completely Unique Safaris, YiYi has a passion for client relationships and partner relationships, which she cultivates for Completely Unique Safaris throughout China.
China Office Manager
Kuen is a passionate adventurer who grew up on a game farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Kuen spent most of his childhood exploring the game farm where he and his family lived for 9 years and his thirst for adventure is something that has never left him.
Kuen then relocated to Durban with his family where he completed his studies before seeking another adventure abroad, in China. Kuen has since been living and working in China for the past seven years, during which time he has studied Mandarin. Kuen’s Mandarin is currently of an HSK 4 level; however, he is keen to reach HSK 6 within the next year. Kuen has also, over the course of the last seven years, immersed himself in Chinese social and business culture and is excited about the growing opportunities and relationships between Africa and China.
Kuen remains deeply passionate about Africa and is keen to share Africa’s beauty and culture with China and its people, and to this end he and YiYi Liu, have opened the Completely Unique Safaris office in Suzhou, close to Shanghai in China with the aim of offering Chinese travelers exclusive, unique and once in a lifetime experiences in Africa, while further broadening the understanding of Africa, its culture and conservation within China.
Lebo was born in Krugersdorp, Johannesburg. She spent most of her childhood growing up in the Kagiso region where she matriculated from Ahmed Timol Secondary School.
After high school she pursued her passion for travel by furthering her studies, receiving a national diploma in travel and tourism.
Lebo is a fun-loving person who has brought a smile to the office every day. She strives to work in a happy working environment, where she can joke and have fun. A perfect fit for our team at Completely Unique Safaris.
Lebo has successfully worked in reservations at a number of influential travel companies throughout the safari industry before finding her way to Completely Unique Safaris.
Lebo is known to always be a helping hand and she loves assisting our private guides plan the ultimate safari experiences to ensure our guests create lifelong memories on their travels.
Planner & Private Guide
Adi was born, just like any ordinary boy, went to school, just like any ordinary boy and was faced with homework, just like any ordinary boy. However, he was never an “ordinary” boy, and would never have chosen the lifestyle of an ordinary boy. When he could escape from the confines of the four walls of a classroom, Adi would be exploring the family farm, with a fishing rod in one hand and a pair of binoculars in the other. With his trusted dog by his side, he left no stone unturned and no bush unshaken in his ongoing quest for knowledge of the natural world. He realised at a very early age that he understood Mother Nature better than any of his peers, and he could not contain his urge to share her beauty.
Now, almost 20 years later, not much has changed. Adi’s thirst for knowledge has taken him to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on the planet. He started off as a fishing guide and bird specialist in the Okavango, having first obtained all the necessary guiding qualifications. Then he moved on to the diverse convergence of biomes in the Frontier Country of South Africa. Once he had managed to find all the terrestrial orchid species, he shifted his attention to leopards and joined the guiding team at Mala Mala. Most recently, after constantly fueling his love for Africa on foot, he took on his last childhood dream and became a trails guide in the rain forests of the Republic of Congo. Adi feels privileged to have lived his childhood dreams, and honoured to now be playing a major role in making others’ dreams come true. Few things in life bring him more pleasure than seeing Nature put a smile on a guest’s face. It is and always will be these special shared moments that make Adi’s career choice so very worthwhile.
Linda was born and raised in the city of Harare in Zimbabwe. She then moved to South Africa in 2010 to attended college where she attained a diploma in travel tourism. The safari bug bit early on when she went on her first game drive at the early age of 9 years old. It was this first experience at Hwange National Park that was the beginning of her love for travel and the bush.
Later on, during the school holidays she would travel throughout Zimbabwe and that further increased her love and passion for a good safari experience. Until today she values the memories that she carries with her from these childhood adventures.
Linda has worked as a travel consultant for 8 years and enjoys being part of creating lasting memories with each trip planned. She strongly believes that when all is said and done all we are left with are memories.
In her spare time she likes to read books and watch subtitle movies and documentaries.
Nick grew up in Johannesburg, and as a youngster, he and his family would spend most of the school winter holidays going to game reserves and wilderness areas. These included the Kruger National Park, Etosha, the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari. Already in these early years, Nick developed a deep fascination for big cats, and, in particular, leopards. Never one to sit around and do nothing, Nick enjoyed participating in sport, or else getting out and exploring the bush.
Like many boys completing their schooling, Nick was initially uncertain what to do, career-wise. He studied Marketing and Management, but after graduating and working in this field for a short while, he realised that he was not destined for an office job. He moved to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve where he was employed as a barman. While working there at the Shepherd’s Tree and Ivory Tree game lodges, Nick studied towards and gained his guiding qualifications.
After a year in the Pilanesberg, Nick moved on and worked for Nomad Tours, while deciding what he wanted to do with his life. He recalls a visit to a farm in Namibia, where he saw a leopard in an enclosure that was far too small. There and then, he felt and overwhelming urge and need to help and better understand these cats.
Nick moved to the Lowveld where he worked as a guide, first at Nkambeni Game Lodge in the Kruger National Park, where he remained for 8 months, before moving to Thornybush in the hope of seeing more leopards. Nick spent two years at Thornybush before being accepted into Londolozi, where he spent a further four years. It was at Londolozi that Nick gained the most exposure to big cats.
The desire to see more of the world’s wild areas led Nick to travel to the Republic of Congo, Brazil, India and also various parts of South Africa.
Nick has now reached a point in his life where he wants to make a difference in the conservation world. His belief is that by encouraging and allowing people to become interested in and to fall in love with iconic species, they will rally behind efforts to save them. If you save the iconic species, there is a beneficial “ripple effect” for all other species sharing the same environment.
Nick joins the CUS team with the hope and belief that together, rather than alone, we can really make a difference in the world.