The Office Team
Adam Riley is the Managing Director and co-founder of Rockjumper Birding Tours. He is a qualified chartered accountant and his keen business sense, customer care and attention to detail has been a major factor in making Rockjumper one of the world’s premier bird tour companies. Adam spends approximately half the year overseeing Rockjumper’s operations and the remainder guiding or scouting new destinations for future tours.
Alison Wakelin grew up with a passion for conservation, wildlife and the outdoors, and spending as much time as she could in the African bush it is no surprise after a few years spent in the corporate world that she should find herself involved in a company such as Rockjumper. She is extremely talented in handling the complex logistics of running tours to a mind-boggling diversity of countries with a keen eye for detail and her commitment for service excellence; she has built a great relationship with our clients who have high praises for her handling of all their pre-tour support and communications. Alison has moved in a new direction within the Rockjumper team joining Cuan Rush in managing our Private tours department, with her years of experience in the business she will no doubt be a valuable addition to the Private Tours team.
Candice Jack was born in Pietermaritzburg where she lived her entire life. After Varsity she went on to work in the UK where the travel bug bit her! She has been in travel for 9 years and has been fortunate to have traveled the world during this time. She is now based at our Rockjumper Headquarters where she assists in our busy travel department.
Crystal Brookraised in Johannesburg and has long nurtured a passion for nature. Her childhood years were brightened with countless encounters with the natural world, including playing with Lion cubs and shadowing shark researchers on the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal! When you book a tour with us Crystal will be the first member of our team you communicate with and you can rest assured that she will handle your booking inquiry in a friendly and efficient manner. When she takes a break from making the tour of your dreams become a reality, she can occasionally be found cage diving with Great White Sharks!
Cuan Rush earned a conservation diploma before launching his career in bird related work as curator of birds at Umgeni Bird Park in Durban. He then spent several years developing birding multimedia products and has also worked as a lodge manager and guide in Zambia. Cuan divides his time between heading Rockjumper’s custom tour department and leading tours throughout Africa and Asia.
David Kaplan has been an ardent lover of birds and wildlife as long as he can remember. After studies in the Natural Sciences he ran a string of his own small businesses before joining Rockjumper in 2009. David wears many hats for Rockjumper, managing our website, facebook page, itineraries, photos and trip reports, amongst other tasks.
Keith Valentine completed a degree in Financial Management but decided to follow his dream to become a bird tour leader. Keith guides throughout Africa, Asia and Madagascar and has an in-depth knowledge of the region’s birds and wildlife. Keith also plays an important role in the management of Rockjumper and ORYX Wildlife.
Lorna Symons discovered her love of travel whilst spending a year sailing on a yacht off the South American coastline with her family as a child.The travel bug bit and she has travelled extensively through South and North America as well as Europe and of course Africa! Lorna has over 11 years experience in the travel industry and now works in our Scheduled Tours department assisting in pre-tour support.
Michelle Wells obtained her diploma in Travel & Tourism after being bit by the travel bug while living in London in her teens. She worked in tour operations, travelling extensively, and she brings a wealth of experience to Rockjumper. Michelle is now based at our head office where she is responsible for numerous administrative functions essential for our tour operations
Mick Travers was born and educated in Australia, and has spent most of his life travelling the world to enrich his passion for natural environs. Mick represents us and our sister companies to the Australian market, so if you stem from that part of the world, then please feel free to contact him at email@example.com with any inquiries or questions about our various tours, and he will enthusiastically assist you.
Praniel Dhanesar spent all of his informative years in Pietermaritzburg; life’s lessons and marriage resulted in him making a home closer to the very scenic Midlands Meander. A qualified Professional Accountant (SA), his joining the Rockjumper team has seen him make the bold move from spending almost 17 years in a professional accounting practice to rolling up his sleeves and getting more involved in the day-to-day financial and administrative affairs in a challenging corporate environment.
Sarah Dell was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg. She obtained an Honours Degree in Accounting from the University of KwaZulu Natal. After completing her articles she then contracted to Eskom under their Revenue Recovery department. She has always had a passion for nature, be it plants, animals or birds, and enjoys the outdoors. In her spare time she loves to garden, sew, cook and read. Her attention to detail sees her involved in various roles at the Rockjumper office, including pre and post-tour support, and assisting in the operations and finance departments.
Sue Anderson worked for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (then Natal Parks Board) for 14 years, followed by 7 years with BirdLife South Africa before joining the Rockjumper team, where she assists in the Operations Department.
Yuraisha Chavan was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and holds an Honours degree in Marketing and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Prior to working for Rockjumper, Yuraisha spent the last 8 years working internationally in three different countries, namely the UK, UAE and Denmark, for both the private and public sector. Yuraisha is responsible for Rockjumper’s key marketing initiatives and strategy. In her spare time, she loves travelling, fashion, gardening and playing the piano.