PARTNERS > PETER GIRAUDO
Listen to Peter Giraudo describe his days as an antiques trader living next door to the palace of Haille Sellasie, the sounds of court lions roaring, sumptuous descriptions of a Byzantine-like Christian culture with claims of having descended from the line of Solomon himself, and you are in the presence of wild, living, breathing history. Hear him talk of the extraordinary otherness of Madagascar, "quirky, baffling and enigmatic" home to a "retro and gentle people" and scene of a Darwinian experiment that has resulted in species found nowhere else, and you are held enraptured by a mind for whom difference is the essence of life. Follow his boyhood tales of growing up under the bush-as-classroom tutelage of his father, the son of one of the select group of licensed professional hunters working at that time, and you are suddenly thrust into the sensual visceralness of wild East Africa, an interactive habitat, a way of being that relies on an awareness primed by the senses.
This is not a piece of hyperbole. Schooled in Kenya, the product of a World War Two romance in Britain, Stanford attendee, semi-professional rock musician and onetime electronics guru, Peter is one of Africa’s most respected and idiosyncratic safari guides, a man for whom the "tented safari" is as normal a condition of living as the suburbs are for many of us. Having begun to earn his spurs in 1986, working for US adventure companies and on many a San Diego Zoological Society trip, organising safaris throughout East Africa, he started working with Royal African Safaris in 2000. He is responsible for designing, leading and developing safaris to his beloved and "mysterious Madagascar," a country which perfectly fits his aim to avoid "at any cost" what he calls "boilerplate destinations and experiences."
Thus, rather than consider it his duty to simply teach his guests what he knows, Peter’s preferred method of guiding is to use words and actions as a rich and fascinating overflow of experience. The end result is an adventure that has in places managed the almost impossible: to capture, in his words, those "numinous moments, those magical fractions of time" that constitute being somewhere truly different, somewhere away from your normal self, and so, conversely, back in touch with a part of you that sees the world through awestruck eyes. A special individual, no doubt.
Peter lives with his Malagasy partner, Mirella, and young son Gabriel, in Nairobi. He also has a son from a previous marriage, Michael, who works as a federal law enforcement officer in the USA.
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