Harry's interest in travel initially stemmed from a world map pinned to his bedroom ceiling, and various artefacts and souvenirs, which his parents had collected on their travels. This inspired him to embark on a six-month trip at 19 encompassing South East Asia, Australasia and South America. He really caught the travel bug during this journey, and it wasn't long before he was planning his next trips to Central and North America.
After spending two years living in Spain studying in Madrid and teaching English, Harry returned to his West Oxfordshire roots to work at Audley in the Latin America department for three years. However, gradually it became apparent that there was one huge expanse that he had never visited: Africa.
During a six-month sabbatical he travelled from Addis Ababa to Cape Town, via Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Namibia, and fell in love with this astonishing and enchanting continent. Particular highlights included gorilla trekking in Uganda, snorkelling with whale sharks in Tanzania and relaxing on the shores of Lake Malawi.
Upon his return, he rejoined the team at Audley, specialising in travel to his new favourite country, South Africa.
I'll never forget when…
I have been fortunate enough to visit many of South Africa's major game reserves, which have included numerous sightings of elephants, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, rhinos and even wild dogs. However, my favourite animal (and often the most elusive) is the leopard. Whilst I was staying at Marataba Lodge in the Marakele National Park we glimpsed some movement off to the right of the track. As we slowly approached in the vehicle, we realised that there was a leopard in a tree, waking up from a nap.
As we quietly watched, she stepped out of the shadows and into the late afternoon light, revealing her beautiful colours and spots. I was struck by how she seemed to possess all the elegance of a cheetah, yet the strength of a lion - leopards are very powerful animals, and can drag a kill twice their bodyweight up into a tree to protect it from other predators.
When she looked at me directly in the eye, my heart skipped a beat, and we watched her for a few minutes as she stretched, paused to have a final look at us, before slinking off into the twilight. We were the only vehicle in sight, and having this experience all to ourselves was an incredibly special moment, and one which will stay with me forever.