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Heritage Africa is an independent family business founded by Michael Giles and Bernadette Moffat. Michael is an expatriate American and Bernadette is a South African who left the apartheid regime to go to college in the US.
We met at Columbia Law School, after being undergrads at Havard and Wellesley respectively. After practicing law in Washington, DC we moved to South Africa at a time of great change. When we started Heritage Africa back in 1993 our business endeavors attracted news stories in publications like Newsweek, The Washington Post and Fortune Magazine.
As the London Sunday Times put it “[With] missionary zeal [to] make their contribution to the new South Africa…Bernadette Moffat and her husband Michael Giles sold their house and gave up six figure salaries as lawyers in Washington.” We’re so glad we did that. For me and Bernadette (and by extension our daughter Maya who is also involved in the business today), there is just no comparison between what we do now and practicing law for big city law firms.
Conservation isn’t just at the heart of what we do – it’s why we started Heritage Africa in the first place. Sadly in today’s world wildlife has to “pay” its way and safaris do just that. People pay to see wild animals in their natural habitat. This creates jobs for locals who are trackers, guides, chefs, game rangers at safari lodges and camps. Safaris are a critical source of employment and help communities become activists. Without people like you going on safari, poaching and natural habitat erosion – already huge problems – would dramatically increase. Threatened animal species would soon be extinct. You can read more about our approach to safari and conservation on this page.
We are happy. We get to do what we love. Obviously we have a love for nature and wildlife – you don’t start a safari business without this burning desire to protect and preserve. Every day we see the vital role that wildlife safaris play in terms of preserving animals and habitats – something that gives us great pleasure. Most importantly, we experience the satisfaction of seeing our safaris making people happy.
And that really makes us feel good – seeing people reconnect and bond again as families, spouses, friends. Or connect in ways that they never connected before. No trip does that better than an African safari – where everyone is in awe of the majesty of nature and wildlife. Creating precious life long memories. And in a practical and sustainable way, helping to save Africa’s wild habitats and wild animals. For more than a quarter of a century we’ve been privileged to see safaris transform the lives both of those who go on safari, and the locals who host them.
Conservation isn’t just at the heart of what we do – it’s why we started Heritage Africa in the first place. You can read more about this here.
Happy guests is another reason we keep doing it. Take a look at our testimonials to get a flavor for what we do.
So that’s us – Michael and Bernadette at Heritage Africa. We’d love to hear more about your passions and dreams, and help plan a life-changing safari for you.