Andre Van Kets
Andre is co-founder of Discover Africa Group. He's explored Africa in almost every way imaginable: Mozambique and Malawi via public transport, South Africa on numerous road trips, Botswana and Namibia in overland trucks, 4WDs and charter planes, Zimbabwe with locals as guides, and Tanzania in a Land Rover Defender.
Andre is a first-generation South African. With a mother from The Netherlands and a father from Belgium, it’s no surprise he loves cheese and beer.
Proudly Capetonian, Andre attended school and university in Cape Town, usually holding down two or three student jobs at a time, saving for his annual ‘big trip’ which the student schedule allowed. It was during one of these 'big trips’ in 1998/1999, that Andre had his first real taste of Africa. He travelled through Mozambique and Malawi on public transport for 6 weeks -- and loved every minute of the bumpy, eye-opening ride.
In 2002 Andre was on a round-the-world trip, when he received the sudden news that his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It was an easy decision to cut his trip short and head home. Not long after returning home, Andre met Steve Conradie, and the pair started their first travel company Drive South Africa, sister company to DiscoverAfrica.com. (Read more about Steve, Andre and the Discover Africa story here.)
Since 2002, Andre has travelled somewhere new in South Africa every single year. He's visited all of South Africa’s neighbouring countries.
Andre is a trustee on the Tourism Community Development Trust (TCD Trust), a non-profit organisation that raises funds for community projects in and around Cape Town. He is a member of the Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club and has logged hundreds of hours as a volunteer lifeguard on Cape Town's beaches.
Andre's hobbies are surfing, running, swimming and basically anything that keeps him active and outdoors. Above all other personality traits, Andre values empathy.
Q & A with Andre
What is your favourite place in Africa?
It's just not possible to have a single favourite place in Africa. But my top three (in no particular order):
#1 The Okavango Delta in Botswana -- Why? for the complete immersion in nature (and separation from modern society, cell phones etc.)
#2 Namib Desert, Namibia -- the 'nothingness' of this sparsely populated, hot, dry land is difficult to describe in words. But being there does something invigorating for the soul.
#3 The Mozambican coastline: Warm water. Good waves. No crowds. Fresh fruit. Friendly locals. And right on our doorstep. I will keep going back.
You are an expert in which African countries?
South Africa (every year somewhere new since 1998) Mozambique (1998, 2007, 2011) Botswana (2006, 2007, 2012) Namibia (2006, 2011) Zimbabwe (2006) Tanzania (2005) Swaziland (2004) Malawi (1998)
What do you love about traveling in Africa?
When something unexpected happens, that’s when the best memories are formed.
With whom do you love to travel?
My wife: whenever, whereever.
My guy-friends, anywhere with surf or snow.
If there is only one item you could take on a journey, what would it be?
I always pack a light and effective medical kit. Every day spent sick on a trip, is a day lost.