Andre Van Kets
Meet Steve Conradie and Andre Van Kets, two South Africans whose passions are to share Africa’s most incredible safari experiences.
They’ve both done a considerable amount of travelling in Africa, and have met some pretty amazing destination experts along the way. With their help, Steve and Andre hand-picked each and every accommodation, activity and tour operator that’s on our safari menu – all of which satisfy an appetite for quality, safety and ethics.
Based in Cape Town, with partners all over sub-Saharan Africa, the Discover Africa Group has helped travellers discover Africa since 2002. With more than 40 years’ collective experience in the African travel industry, we have the expertise to make sure you enjoy Africa at its best.
What happens when you contact us?
One of our travel experts will be in touch with you personally within 24 hours. We know that planning your safari is part of the journey, so we'll communicate any way you feel comfortable.
If it's convenient for you, we'd love to telephone and discuss your safari, but we're just as happy to talk on email.
Who will you speak to?
Alice is Discover Africa’s Sales & Product Manager, responsible for managing the Discover Africa Sales Consultants as well as all the product and itineraries that we promote. Born in South Africa and passionate about anything travel related – Alice’s bucket list is purely travel/experience related. Loves sampling the different food and drink of each country.
I'm passionate about Africa and love exploring the fantastic offerings out there.
Meet Megan. She’s our Southern Africa Concierge expert. She can tell you what thread count a set of bed linen is, just by looking at it. Megan has worked in the travel industry for more than 10 years and has travelled extensively in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho.
I think it's about fun. If you have fun, you will never forget it.
Matthys is our senior travel consultant, boasting with 10 years experience in the travel industry. Lived all over South Africa, loves the beach, bush and braai (South African better version of barbecue).
I'm a bit more of a traditionalist but I like mixing a bit of adventure into the mix.
Karl has been exploring Africa for most of his life, having lived and worked in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt and Zanzibar. Outside of Africa, he’s also lived in the Caribbean and the Solomon Islands.
What I love about Africa is the unexpected, you never know what is around the next corner in terms of wildlife, people and culture.
Our story started way back in 1976, when founder Steve Conradie's grandfather Henry took him to the Kruger National Park for the first time.
Back in those days, there were no fences around the camps, and hyenas came right up to the rondawels at night, sniffing for leftovers. Once, Steve fell asleep at a window, waiting to see them. He was woken by the stench of a hyena’s breath, its jaws just centimetres from his face. Instead of terrifying the young boy, this became a pivotal memory.
20 years of exploring
Throughout Steve's childhood, his grandfather took him on dozens of trips to South Africa's parks, teaching him about animals, birds, plants, landscapes and the lore of the bush.
As an adult, Steve continued exploring, criss-crossing sub-Saharan Africa in his Land Rover. In 2002, he set out on a six-month drive that took him all the way to the Serengeti in Tanzania. On his return, he met Andre Van Kets.
Steve and a Zambian border-post official stand in front of his Land Rover Defender during a 6-month overland trip through Africa in 2001
The computer geek and adventure seeker
Andre Van Kets had completed a business and computer degree at the University of Cape Town and worked on websites during the dot-com boom. Then, with money saved and no commitments, he started travelling.
In three years he visited five continents: backpacking through Mozambique, snowboarding in the USA, exploring Europe, trekking through Thailand and living in Australia. Andre discovered what really matters to travellers when they're planning a trip and on the move.
Andre Van Kets having fun on his worldly travels
A serendipitous meeting
Andre really wanted to travel in Africa. He knew how to make websites, whereas Steve knew everything about African travel and wanted to set up an online travel business. Andre had the tech skills; Steve had the African expertise.
There weren't many online travel companies at that stage, so the duo got to work. They launched their first website Drive South Africa in 2002, offering car, 4x4 and motorhome rentals for people who wanted to explore as Steve had.
In 2006, they created Overlanding Africa, a budget safari site for the same kind of European, Australasian and North American backpackers whom Andre had met on his travels.
By the time the FIFA Soccer World Cup kicked off in South Africa in 2010, the business had grown to a well-respected company of 25 travel-loving employees.
Andre and Steve at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa
Selecting Africa's best experiences
In between their work responsibilities, Steve and Andre made time to visit Africa's most desirable destinations. They visited the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Namibia's Skeleton Coast, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, the Serengeti in Tanzania, and many other African destinations – both on and off the beaten path.
Sometimes they travelled Steve-style, by Land Rover; at other times they did it Andre-style, in overland trucks. But they also started travelling in classic safari style, flying into remote luxury lodges surrounded by wildlife and wild landscapes.
Steve and Andre, Discover Africa co-founders
It was during those trips that the vision for DiscoverAfrica.com was born: a website to curate Africa's most incredible safari experiences.
With the help of experts across the continent, Steve and Andre hand-pick tour operators and lodges that meet their strict criteria of quality, safety, ethics and value. The pair want to maintain an impeccably high standard for discerning travellers, so only carefully crafted, beautifully presented and flawlessly executed African safaris make the grade.
A gift worth saving
Both Steve and Andre recognise that Africa is a unique and precious gift to humankind. As Africans bringing people from all over the world to experience this heritage, they believe it's their duty to do so ethically and mindfully.
Why? Because everyone’s grandchildren should have the chance to discover Africa’s wonders as Steve did all those years ago.
Well, that’s our story in a nutshell.
Now that you’ve met us, we’d like the chance to meet you…!
What people say about travelling with us
Thank you for putting together a trip of a lifetime at such short notice. Everything was exactly how we wanted it to be. The organisation was superb, which allowed us to maximise our trip. There is nothing I would have changed and I felt like you really set the trip up specifically for our style. We could not have asked for a better trip and can't wait to go back.Justin Vanning
from USA visited Cape Town, South Africa - January 2013
Discover Africa delivered the dream trip! It was a pleasure dealing with Matthys at Discover Africa from start to finish. He made everything as simple and easy as possible. Our trip was tremendous and we would fully recommend anyone planning a safari trip to Africa to use Discover Africa. Well done to the team and sincere thanks from all of us in “the Wood party”!Craig Wood
from visited Botswana and Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) -