Brett Palser

Brett has been working at Bench for 4 years and within the travel and tourism industry for over 30 years in various capacities of a support nature. He is our guy behind the scenes keeping our reservations system ticking over nicely and making our lives so much easier; ensuring our Africa experts have all the support they need.

Eric Vos

Eric grew up in Cape Town, in South Africa and moved to Australia in 2011. Since then he has been back to Africa over 15 times, mostly on safari. He has been with the Bench team for over 2 years and promoting Africa as a destination for 20 years. Nothing compares to being on a safari and once Coronavirus is over and it is safe to travel he just can’t wait to head out to Africa. Doesn’t matter where – just somewhere out in the African bush.

Jordan Stanford

Jordan is our youngest team member. She recently graduated with a tourism and events management degree and has always loved the adventure of travelling, exploring new cultures and exploring out in nature. She has been fascinated with wildlife and nature since she can remember and always feels happiest outdoors. Jordan was fortunate enough to travel for the first time to Africa at the start of 2020 and has been itching to go back since. From bungee jumping off the Bloukrans River Bridge, Sleeping out in the wild, getting tipsy on the Franschhoek Wine Tram, having to opportunity to see so much wildlife on game drives, on foot and by boat, Jordan couldn’t imagine a better area of the world to explore.

Katelyn Quinlan

Katelyn has been with the Bench team for over 5 years. Her love affair with Africa began on her first overland adventure through South Africa and Botswana. Katelyn has since been to African another 4 times, and is still left wanting more. Once this Coronavirus nightmare is over, Katelyn can’t wait to hop on a plane to visit Kenya and Tanzania on safari, and then head to Rwanda to trek with the Gorillas – a lifelong bucket list experience!

Lyndal

Lyndal first travelled to East Africa in 1997. Setting off on a basic camping safari, nervous and excited to be sleeping under canvas, she headed into the unknown. On Lyndal’s first day on safari, in the Masai Mara she spotted so much game that she said that she could have gone home happy! Nevertheless, she continued her trip, through Tanzania and on to Rwanda, where she had her most memorable travel experience, coming face to face with a silverback! She has now visited 26 of the 54 countries in Africa!

“No matter how many times I go on safari my experiences are never the same!”

Lara Behrens

Lara was born and raised in Kenya and spent several years living in Ireland and England before migrating to Australia. Lara has worked at Bench Africa for over six years and previously ran an events company bringing with her a fantastic new insight and a wealth of marketing skills to Bench. Lara’s family owns and operates safari camps in Kenya so she grew up on safari and has travelled extensively around Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Africa.

Maria Tropiano

It had always been Maria’s dream to travel to Africa on a safari, and after her first trip she knew she would just have to keep going back. Maria’s first African experience was joining a 7 week tour through Africa. Visiting East Africa, Maria was lucky enough to experience her first ‘Big 5’ safari in Tanzania which included a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater. More recently Maria visited Namibia for the first time, self driving around this huge country with its amazing landscapes, game viewing in the mind blowing Etosha National Park, but the biggest achievement of the trip was summiting Namibia’s highest sand dune “Big Daddy” – as Maria says “it was a killer, but definitely worth it”.

Julie De Palo

Julie is Bench Africa’s longest serving member of the team, having worked for Bench for over 20 years. Julies love for Africa first began when she experienced her first safari to South Africa and Botswana.

“Words cannot express what it felt like – it’s not only about the animals, that is a bonus. It is about the people, the landscape, the simplicity of life and how you realise the simple things in life are what ground us and how we forget that. Once you have gone there, you come back with a little piece of the magic that stays with you and makes you want to go back.”

Cameron Neill

After travelling the world for close to 7 years, Cameron finally made it the continent he had been dreaming of from the beginning and spent three months exploring the different areas of Africa. From then on he was hooked and has since returned many times to explore and experience the many different adventures that Africa offers. From trekking with the gorillas in Rwanda, scuba diving the Red Sea, climbing a sand dune in Namibia to an encounter with a wild elephant from his front deck in the Okavango Delta, he never gets tired of seeing what there is to offer and considers himself lucky to be able to share his experiences with others for a living. He firmly believes that you haven’t really travelled until you have experienced Africa and although there are still some small pockets of the world he hasn’t been to (and would like to) he travels back to Africa any chance he can. In fact he was in the middle of a gorilla impersonation when he met his wife and believes this may have been what set him apart from many other suitors.