The Company We Keep is a column on the CN&CO blog that profiles some of the most interesting people in our networks. Here we share the details of the lives of people we know, showcasing the extraordinary diversity of our society and proving that people truly are at the heart of everything we do.

We love it when people in our networks succeed by following their dreams. Take John Holley, for example. John is Josie’s cousin and friend to a few people in our circle, including Justin Naylor of ITOO and Matt Fendick of the sponsorshop. Carel also often bumps into John and his wife Teneale at gym. According to Carel, they are both machines. According to Josie, however, Teneale is smarter, faster and nicer than John. But that’s another story for another blog…

John followed his passion for the African bushveld to co-found a business called Iconic Africa, which packages bespoke tours across sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.

“I grew up exploring Africa with my family,” he explains. “On completing my articles I bucked the trend of moving deeper into finance and decided instead to follow my passion into the African bushveld.”

In 2009 John was fortunate to become a game ranger at Londolozi Private Game Reserve, arguably Africa’s greatest private reserve.

“I learnt from Africa’s best conservationists, witnessed awe-inspiring wildlife encounters and fell more in love with Africa’s wildlife and her people. It was a taste of what Africa has to offer and thus a natural progression to later co-found Iconic Africa – a boutique company of African specialists.”

Although based in Johannesburg, Iconic Africa has a team in Atlanta, USA, which helps to prepare clients before they travel, and another in Kenya to ensure there is always someone close at hand for guests while they are travelling.

In 2017 Iconic Africa received the Best of Atlanta award for a tour operator to Africa.

“The award is significant in that in reemphasised the fact that our boutique service and hand-crafted luxury African safaris set us apart from our peers,” says John. “And because of the volumes we send to our partners and our fantastic relationships across Africa, we are able to source market-beating rates.

“We have grown up visiting Africa’s premier reserves and spent many years in the industry. We know the owners of the properties and as such are able to prepare special experiences along the way. In a nutshell Iconic Africa prepares and adds boutique elements into our itineraries that normal travellers cannot add themselves. It is these little touches that form the memories our travellers treasure from their time in Africa.”

John and Teneale

Iconic bucket list

Each year the team carefully chooses a selection of experiences for the Iconic Bucket List. Iconic Africa’s 2018 Bucket List showcases many of the incredible properties that make up the Iconic portfolio.

“If you’re thinking about taking a trip up into Africa, we would be delighted to help prepare your customised holiday,” says John. “We’re currently offering a phenomenal East African special to witness the Rwandan gorillas and the great migration. This is a life-changing experience, not to mention a fantastic holiday.”

To find out more, visit the Iconic Africa website and follow Iconic Africa on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Iconic Africa co-founder Terri Abadi (based in Atlanta, Georgia) says the company is a labour of love designed to entice global travellers to African destinations that have inspired her over a lifetime of travel to this great continent. Terri’s uncontainable enthusiasm for Africa – her wildlife, her people and her wild spaces – borders on obsessive and this passion runs in the veins of the Iconic Africa team. *This photo was (obviously) not taken in Atlanta, Georgia