Together we create extraordinary experiences.
Meet our team
Meet our team
Elizabeth is Derek's wife and the glue that hold it all together. Born on the West Coast of Ireland, she came to Kenya having spent 9 months driving an old Land Rover across Asia and the Middle East. She is a very talented artist and when not painting helps Derek & Tom with all safari correspondence and logistics while safaris are in the field. Elizabeth & Derek have two sons, Thomas who mainly leads our safaris in Tanzania, and Nick who works in Uganda.
Tom was raised in East Africa, to a family in the safari business, and attended University in the UK where he graduated with an Hons degree in Zoology and learnt to fly light aircraft with the RAF reserve. After wrestling with the idea of joining the Air Force full time, Tom instead chose to follow his passion for life on safari and took a job deep in the wilds of Southern Tanzania, where he continues to spend much of his time. Between guiding and organizing safaris, Tom persues his other great passion for boat building and fishing.
Your guide is the most important factor in a good safari. He is host, driver, teacher and friend. He has had years of experience in the bush. He knows the country — the animals, birds and plants that you will see — and he enjoys sharing this knowledge with you. Bush experience means your guide can predict the weather, handle a spanner and help you out with settings on your camera. Years of experience in the bush have given your guide a temperament that is agreeable, patient and cheerful. Your guide is Derek Dames. Derek joined Ker & Downey in the early 80s, although his family’s connections with the firm began in the 50s through his uncle, professional hunter Peter Becker. He takes private safaris into Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and throughout most of southern Africa, including Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Derek was born in 1951, a second-generation Kenyan who spent his childhood exploring the bush, learning Swahili, and gaining a deep appreciation of his surroundings. After attending the University of Nairobi, where he graduated with an honours degree in design, he was awarded a scholarship to Yale University to study architecture. Derek has worked as an architect, in both America and Kenya. He redesigned the Ker & Downey tents and his own vehicle. He believes the philosophies guiding architecture and safaris are very similar: creating wonderful spaces for people to be in! Derek and his wife Elizabeth live in Karen, Nairobi, on what was originally part of Karen Blixen’s farm.