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about

about

Kutwelo was born out of the passion of Chené and Warrick, who have worked in the luxury safari industry for a combined 18 years.  We aim to create memorable moments and tailor-made experiences, inspired by our profound love for nature and travel. At Kutwelo, we are committed to crafting personalised itineraries, ensuring unparalleled service and exclusivity. We recognise the significance of meticulous attention to detail and infuse every aspect of our work with heartfelt dedication. Our bespoke experiences are based on our intimate knowledge of the industry and the needs of you, our guests. 

Kutwelo is derived from the Xitsonga word which means 'a feeling'. For those who have experienced it will know, one can't quite put into words the spirit of Africa. It is something that has to be felt and experienced through ones own soul. 

Having both been born in South Africa and spending many of our childhood years visiting wilderness areas, our love and passion for nature runs deep in our veins. It was during these years that our curiosity and our deep sense of connectedness to all that is wild was cultivated.

 

our story

Warrick - Co-Founder

Warrick Davey

I cannot quite remember when the love story with the African wilderness began, but I believe it was shortly after I stepped out of diapers. Childhood years spent visiting the wilderness areas of Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, Mkhuze and the Kruger National Park in South Africa, with my parents and grandparents, formed the foundation of my journey of spending the past 11 years working and living in the bush. 

 

After graduating from high school, aspirations of becoming a professional golfer, alongside continuing my education to have a degree behind my name, overshadowed the part of me that longed for time in the wild. I completed a degree in Brand Communications (an advertising and design degree) before dedicating a year of my life to fine tuning my golf game for the professional circuit. Many hours of practice and thousands of kilometers travelled to various tournaments resulted in a fun-at-times but challenging year and ultimately the decision to place a hold on golf. This was about the time an opportunity to spend a winter season abroad came about and I grabbed it with both hands; working and living in a ski resort in Andorra was possibly the best 6 months I had up until that point in my life and it gave me a whole new perspective on life. Returning to South Africa after time spent travelling Europe, I knew the outdoors was in my blood and the wilderness of Africa was calling.

Fast forward a few years and I had qualified as a field guide and worked for two of the best luxury safari companies in the industry, andBeyond and Singita, at various lodges in Phinda Private Game Reserve, as well as the infamous Sabi Sand Game Reserve. After 7 and a half years of guiding, I made the move across into lodge management and spent another 4 years managing Singita Boulders Lodge and Singita Castleton. I learned a new side of the industry, honed my skills in service and what it means to provide people with life changing experiences. Most importantly, I met Chené, my now fiancé, life and business partner, whilst at Singita. After a culminative 19 years of working in the luxury safari industry, we felt ready for a new challenge. New Zealand, where Chené had lived for 16 years before returning to Africa, offered an exciting lifestyle with a myriad of opportunities to explore and spend time in nature. We also still felt the need to be connected to Africa and its beautiful wilderness that had served us so well. With wanting to have the best of both worlds, we created Kutwelo, our way to connect both ourselves and others to the wonderments of Africa. Through Kutwelo, we pour our love and energy into bringing the feeling of Africa to all those who long for its connection and experience. Through Kutwelo, we remain connected to our roots.

Warrick - Singita Boulders
Warrick - Guiding
Warrick - Walking safari

Chené Wales-Baillie

From a young girl, I had always loved the African bush. I was born in South Africa to two very passionate, wildlife loving parents who became artists, carving the birds of South Africa and painting them. They would sell these to national and private game reserves across the country such as the Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand Nature Reserve and so as a young girl, many of my days were spent travelling to and spending time in wilderness areas where my parents would deliver their works. Here I would learn about all of the birds and mammals and a true love for the African bush began. The first book I read in my life and the one in which my mother taught me to read from was a book called “The Game Rangers” a compilation book consisting of a number of stories put together by the true game rangers of the Kruger National Park. The stories fascinated me and as a young girl and with this love for nature, I always wanted to become a game ranger (field guide) myself…

 

At ten years old, my family made the decision to move to Christchurch, New Zealand where my life took me on a completely different path. I completed my schooling and then went on to study a degree in Graphic Design & Advanced Digital Media. It was shortly after finishing my degree that the Christchurch earthquake struck and this opened up a whole new perspective for me in life.

Chené - Co-Founder

I made the move to Auckland and had worked in graphic design & marketing for a few years when a worldwide, online “LOVE AFRICA” competition through Instagram came up to win a fully paid trip to South Africa, staying in Cape Town and the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve. After submitting three 15 second videos communicating why I love Africa, I had made it to the top ten and it was time for the judges to decide a winner. Needless to say, I was about to pack my bags and head back to South Africa on a trip that changed my life path once again.


It was whilst on foot with my guide and tracker at the time, tracking the footsteps of a female leopard in the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve when a lightbulb moment happened and I knew that this was the place for me. My childhood dream of becoming a field guide had once again lit up inside of me and that was when I made the desicion to leave my home in New Zealand and move back to South Africa all on my own, in pursuit of my most soul driven dream. 

 

After now 8 years of working in the luxury safari industry, the most recent five years having worked as a field guide at Singita Sabi Sand where I have been fortunate enough to be given opportunities to explore and guide in some of Africas most saught after destinations. I have spent countless hours hosting people from all walks of life and with this have developed an intuitive and deep understanding for creating life changing experiences for each and every one of my guests. 

 

As our name ‘Kutwelo’ states, Africa is a feeling and there is simply nothing quite like it. For Warrick and I, we feel this true love and passion for Africa so deeply that we only wish for every person that comes our way to be able to grasp this feeling themselves on their own journey to Africa. On my return to New Zealand, I have brought with me a world of knowledge and experience, stories to tell for hours and a love for something that I only wish to impart with each and every one of you.

Chené - Game drive
Chené - Walking safari
Chené - Game drive

our partners

We choose to partner with conservation brands that support sustainable practices and share in our commitment to protecting our natural environment for future generations. Our partners values reflect our values, and together we strive to make a positive impact on our world through sustainable travel. We are proud to be associated with these organisations and grateful for the opportunity to create a better future for our planet.

Singita
Great Plains
andBeyond
Time + Tide
Sussurro

Thank you to our above partners and their photographers for photographs and videos provided

safe travel partner

We are committed to excellence in every aspect of your trip experience, especially when it comes to safety, this is why we are a Global Rescue Safe Travel Partner. 
 

Global Rescue is an industry leader, providing medical and security advisory and evacuation services to travelers around the world. Global Rescue offers field rescue from the point of your injury or illness.

With operations centers staffed 24/7/365 by experienced personnel, when you call Global Rescue you speak to a real person on the first call to get you the help you need.
 

Purchase a Global Rescue membership or IMG Signature Travel Insurance for your next adventure and travel with peace of mind - click here to learn more.

Global Rescue Safe Travel Partner
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