Sikeleli Travel & Expeditions are a reasonably young company, and our roots in Africa and Asia run deep. Our founders, Daniella, Maddelena and Mark are all part of the Zimbabwean born and raised Ponter family, who have lived all around the world and share a passion for travel and exploring the world.
How it all started
It all started on a dining room table in snowy Vancouver with the dream to share their passion for Africa and its wildlife. Danni’s professional experience, previously spent managing the most select and elite camps and lodges in Southern Africa and being a sales and marketing representative for camps and lodges from Zambia and Zimbabwe, has given her an eye for detail and a clear understanding of what our guests expect.
After many years of working in the industry, it was time for Danni to progress her skills and the knowledge she gained and work with them in her family business. So she sat down with her father, Mark – who was in finance and knew very little about tourism, and they started to draw out in diagrams how a travel agency works, from the inception of an inquiry all the way to having a family out on safari in Africa. And from there at that table in mid-winter, snow-covered Vancouver, a bespoke, luxury, safari company was born.
What does Sikeleli mean?
The name Sikeleli comes from the ex Zimbabwean, now Southern African, national anthem “Nkosi sikelel’ Afrika”, which means “God bless Africa”. We chose this name because we felt very fortunate, travelling is our passion and to be able to share our home continent and all the wildlife and adventure it holds with others is a true blessing. We know that eco-tourism and conscious travel is one of the foundations of longevity for Africa and her wildlife. Again, we are blessed to be able to facilitate this longevity with our guests’ sustainable travel.
Our Core Values
For almost 7 years, Sikeleli has been respected as a family-founded and run business that specializes in individually tailored luxury travel in Africa. We are very grateful for our loyal guests who have travelled several times with us, in some cases up to seven times! Sikeleli is Canadian born and heavily regulated by the BC state and Canadian government which gives our guests the peace to know they are protected when they travel.
Our way of working with our guests is open, respectful, honest, courteous and transparent. We are fully committed to sustainable models in our partners in Africa and opening the eyes of our guests to conservation and exactly what they are doing to help the community and wildlife. Guests that travel with us with immerse, experience, understand and conserve.
As a family business, we tread the business as a part of the family. We all know we are facing very difficult and unprecedented times, YET we are still expanding and growing and adding new destinations to our portfolio. Conservation relies on us, communities rely on us, our guests rely on us and Sikeleli is here for the long run.
We have extraordinarily strong bonds with our local partners, the lodges, hotels, safari camps and more. We carefully research the experiences we provide for our guests so that we can be confident that they are at the forefront of protecting their wildlife, supporting local communities and have an ethos that mirrors ours. Sikeleli’s external strength comes from the bond with those operators. Internally, we have a strong travel expert team! Danni, Karen and Fungai have been on multiple safaris and trips around Africa and Asia and they will continue to travel as soon as the gates to the world are open!
To conclude, we are moving forward and continuing to grow the Sikeleli brand, you will now see us changed from Sikeleli Safaris to Sikeleli Travel and Expeditions and we are so grateful to each and every one of you for the support, the continued travel plans and looking toward to future!