In our second issue of Leading Ladies (our monthly series) we highlight the heroines of nature. The thing that connects all these women is their avid enthusiasm, determination and eagerness to explore and study the natural world and all they encounter within it.
Prepare to be inspired.
P.S Who has inspired you? Cast your vote and send your suggestions to us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Isabella Lucy Bird was a nineteenth-century English explorer, writer, photographer and naturalist. She was the first woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
“There never was anybody who had adventures as well as Miss Bird,” wrote the Spectator of this intrepid woman. From early childhood Isabella was frail and suffered from a spinal condition. Encouraged by her father, a keen botanist, Isabella studied flora with him and her mother taught her an eclectic mix of subjects. Overcoming poor health and the restrictions of a male dominated society, Isabella travelled extensively well into her old age. Far from slowing down she took up photography at the age of 60.
She climbed mountains, stayed in both palaces and slums, visited Australia, America, Hawaii, India, Kurdistan, the Persian Gulf, Iran, Tibet, Malaysia, Korea, Japan and China. She was an accomplished rider of horses and the occasional elephant. Her innate intelligence, curiosity for the world and adventurous spirit is illustrated by her own photographs and detailed accounts in her published books which well document her pioneering travelling life.
“I have just dropped into the very place I have been seeking, but in everything it exceeds all my dreams.” Isabella Bird.
Charlotte Uhlenbroek is a zoologist and BBC television presenter who spent her early working life studying primates. Billed as the next Attenborough, Charlotte has an obvious passion for the natural world and animal kingdom.
Her love of animals began from the age of five when she lived in Kathmandu. Her family kept an extraordinary menagerie of animals including cats, dogs, rabbits and parrots, mostly ‘rescued’ by Charlotte. She said that at eight years old she realised that the Nepalese musk deer were being poached for musk oil and was horrified. From that time on she decided she wanted to work and conserve wildlife in some way.
After her PhD in Zoology Charlotte spent six months in Burundi helping primatologist Jane Goodall set up a conservation project for chimpanzees, followed by four years in the forests of Gombe, Tanzania studying the communication of wild chimpanzees.
We asked Saba to share her thoughts on what motivates her to do what she does, who inspired her, which place she is happiest, her best travel advice and more…
The contribution made to elephant conservation by the Douglas-Hamiltons is renowned and so to spend a week in their company, on their home soil of Samburu and Naivasha is the opportunity of a lifetime. Take walks and game drives along the Ewaso Ng’iro River, escorted by Saba Douglas-Hamilton and Elephant Watch’s Samburu guides.
Explore the wilds of Borneo, Sumatra and Komodo searching for endangered wildlife. Led by Dr Claire Oelrichs, scientific advisor to Save Indonesia’s Endangered Species.
Hands-on participation with AfriCat for a fascinating insight into big cat conservation. Led by AfriCat founder Donna Hanssen who established this foundation from her farm at Okonjima and which has become one of the most effective carnivore conservation organisations.
The Condé Nast Reader Travel Awards 2016 are open for voting, and we’d be extremely grateful if you could vote for Steppes Travel in the ‘Specialist Tour Operator’ category. You can cast your vote here.
Join Saba for an evening of exciting animal stories and intimate behind the scenes tales of life in Kenya with her young family.