Kirsty Gordon: Mapping Extraordinary Experiences

Kirsty Gordon Exeleon Women

In the tapestry of life, fate often weaves its intricate threads, guiding us towards unexpected paths and shaping our destinies. Such was the case for Kirsty Gordon, a visionary entrepreneur whose journey in the travel industry is a testament to the power of serendipity.

With a multitude of passions and dreams swirling within her, Kirsty embarked on a quest for purpose, unaware of the extraordinary twists and turns that awaited her.

As Fate Would Have It

As Kirsty left school, her heart brimmed with a kaleidoscope of interests and potential career options. From the thrill of professional horse riding to the allure of landscape technology, from the depths of scuba instructor to the compassionate calling of physiotherapy, she pondered the myriad possibilities that lay before her. Little did she know that fate had already set in motion a series of events that would shape her future in ways she couldn’t fathom.

In the midst of waiting to hear if she had been accepted into a landscape technology course, Kirsty went on an adventure—a scuba diving course on the shores of Inhaca Island, nestled off the coast of Mozambique. It was there, surrounded by the azure waters and the gentle sway of the tides, that destiny beckoned. A chance encounter with a kindred spirit led Kirsty to an invitation that would change the course of her life.

A lovely lady, bound for St Maarten in the Caribbean to embark on a sailing voyage, mentioned her friend’s quest to navigate the waters down to Puerto Rico and through the legendary Panama Canal. The friend, in need of a capable crew member, sought a soul adventurous enough to seize this extraordinary opportunity. And in a heartbeat, Kirsty, her spirit ablaze with curiosity and wanderlust, leaped at the chance to embark on this voyage of a lifetime.

As her sails billowed in the warm Caribbean breeze, Kirsty felt an indescribable sense of purpose and awe. Yet, a letter awaited her—a letter that held the key to a different path, a landscape technology course that had accepted her into its folds. But fate, with its whimsical sense of timing, had played its hand. The letter, tucked away and forgotten, arrived too late.

“When I returned home, I found a letter that had somehow not been opened confirming my entry into this course – but they had started this a week before and wouldn’t take my late arrival,” shares Kirsty.

Soon, in a bustling shopping mall, she crossed paths with the mother of a dear friend, who revealed—her friend had recently completed a travel and tourism course and found herself impressed by its wonders. It was a lifeline, a glimmer of hope that guided Kirsty toward a new chapter in her life.

With unwavering determination, Kirsty embarked on a whirlwind journey of exploration and learning. She shares, “All went super quickly, I applied, was accepted, arrived in Cape Town, and ended up with my friend in a ‘dig’ as a room has freed up. This was the start of my travel adventure.” A 6-month course became the gateway to a world of endless possibilities and her foray into the travel industry. Her thirst for knowledge was unquenchable, and she absorbed every nuance and insight with passion.

Fast forward 30 years, Kirsty Gordon stands as an empowering woman in the travel industry. The founding of Anywhere in Africa Safaris, a concierge travel company, was born from her love for the continent, her desire to connect directly with clients, and her unparalleled expertise in the field.

Anywhere in Africa Safaris — A Concierge Travel Company

Today, as the CEO of Anywhere in Africa Safaris, Kirsty weaves together the threads of luxury, personalization, and sustainability, creating unparalleled travel experiences. Here’s how she describes her company, “We plan bespoke, luxury travel packages to Southern Africa, East Africa, North Africa, and Indian Ocean Islands. We don’t do anything off the shelf, as we tailor one-of-a-kind journeys to suit your specific interests.”

In Kirsty’s world, communication is the lifeblood that connects her with her clients. No query goes unanswered, no concern is left unaddressed. While her team works tirelessly behind the scenes, she stands as the face of the company, ensuring that each client receives the attention they rightfully deserve.

From the first planning phase to the final steps of their journey, Kirsty remains a steadfast presence, ensuring that every detail is meticulously planned and executed. She says, “During their trip, I am in contact with them from when they arrive to when they leave making sure that they are happy with their accommodation, all transfers, and flights are running timeously. They’re never left wondering!”

Kirsty’s vision even extends beyond the bounds of the travel industry. She is driven by a profound sense of responsibility, seeking to make a positive impact on society, the environment, and the lives of those she encounters. She advocates for sustainable practices and supports smaller charities that often go unnoticed, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the communities they serve.

Her commitment to fostering meaningful connections extends not only to her clients but to the people and places that make Africa so extraordinary.

Traversing the Industry Challenges

When discussing the challenges of the travel industry, Kirsty’s insight is both candid and reflective. She acknowledges the ever-evolving landscape in which the industry operates, with changing trends, emerging technologies, and global uncertainties. One of the ongoing challenges she highlights is the need for government support and recognition of the travel industry’s vital contribution to the economy.

She believes that collaboration between industry stakeholders and government is crucial in order to foster sustainable growth and navigate the complexities of regulations and policies. Another challenge she addresses is the mindset of African travelers, urging them to appreciate and invest in the wonders of their own continent, rather than seeking experiences abroad.

Moreover, Kirsty recognizes the importance of guide training and education, advocating for a holistic approach.

Despite these challenges, she remains resilient, using them as opportunities for innovation, adaptation, and creating exceptional travel experiences that leave a lasting impact.

Paving the Path for Growth

From Kirsty’s perspective, achieving team goals begins with setting clear expectations from the very beginning. She emphasizes the importance of clarity in communication, productivity, outcomes, and etiquette. By setting these expectations upfront, she fosters a culture of accountability and high performance within her team.

Reflecting on her experience, she acknowledges that no manager can excel in every aspect of a business. She advises aspiring entrepreneurs and managers to leave their egos at the door and recognize the unique skills and strengths of their team members.

She further advises budding entrepreneurs to find a business venture that aligns with their passion while ensuring viable opportunities for financial success.

Kirsty embraces the 80/20 rule as a guiding principle in her entrepreneurial journey. She identifies her team’s best assets, whether they’re individuals, products, or strategies, and focuses on utilizing them efficiently to create maximum value. She understands that by optimizing her resources, she can generate significant results and drive success.

For Those Who Dream

Looking to the future, Kirsty Gordon’s long-term goal is to solidify Anywhere in Africa Safaris as the go-to company for planning trips to Africa. She aims to build a strong brand that is synonymous with trust, excellent service, and unrivaled knowledge of the continent.

She understands that her company’s future lies in the hands of her clients, and she strives to provide them with extraordinary service, unique experiences, and a personal touch that will make them repeat customers and enthusiastic ambassadors for Africa. She says, “My long-term goal is that when people thinking Africa, who do we contact for help in planning a trip, who is trustworthy, who offers the best service and knowledge – they must recall Anywhere in Africa Safaris.”


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