Our Family Story by Andrew and Moira Rae
Our children have been born and raised in wild places and have known a freedom few other children ever will. They have walked the game paths and played in the golden fields of an incomparable wilderness. This place, this continent, has shaped all our lives and thoughts and continues to do so every day. One must listen to it often. It speaks to us on the wind and in the storm. It is evident in the birdsong and the call of the jackal, the dust and the grass and it resounds in rhythmic splendour all around us. It is fascinating, harsh and unforgiving, often kind, sometimes cruel but it nurtures and teaches us and is a balm that soothes our sometimes overwhelmed minds. Africa will continue to be all this for my beloved family if they cherish and respect this heritage of ours, spend time with her rural people, learn their language, eat their food and listen to their wisdom. They have a formula for happiness that we have long forgotten. Our tribal mentors have taught us more about life than any college professor could have. We can find our true selves here.May our children never forget, that they are Africans, be proud and tell of their love for their country, its people and wild places. We are so proud of all our children.
Michael, our oldest, has joined the family business as one of the RAE Safaris private guides, after seven and a half years working in the incredible landscape of Madikwe. Mike was born into safari life. His baby chair was tethered to the spare wheel on the bonnet (hood) of our land rover and he probably saw his first wild elephants and lions before he perceived his first traffic light! Mike has a deep passion for the wilds of Africa. We see it in him, see it on the faces of safari clients fortunate enough to be guided by him and in the magical photographs he shares with us. One day, should he wish it, Rae Safaris will continue under his leadership.
Jaydene, Michael’s life partner, born and raised in rural Zimbabwe with a deep seated love for the bush has become a treasured daughter to us. Jaydene trained at Capsicum Culinary School in Cape Town and has worked with and been praised by some of the world’s most renowned chefs. An excellent host and chef, Jadene has provided many of our clients with top class meals on private safaris. We are thankful that our eldest son has found, fought for and won the heart of this amazing, energetic, resourceful and loving woman.
Angela, our eldest daughter, so easily moved by beauty and wonder has already joined Rae Safaris after a year of journalism studies. As she works with us and continues her education her dedication to our family and Rae Safaris is remarkable and will drive our business to further successes. Having spent most of her childhood fearlessly exploring wild places and all their little creepy creatures, it is the African bush that soothes and rejuvenates her soul.
Jessica, the third of our children, is a passionate cook and may go on to culinary school in two years or so when she has completed her high school education. Fiercely independent, Jessica loves to travel, absorb and share the world’s beauty with relish. At the age of seven Jessica guided her first bush walk. Finding guests lounging around the pool our little girl convinced them that she could guide them to a viewing hide about 2km away. It was all hands on deck on the panic ship when we realised that our daughter and our clients were missing. Upon their return however the guests regaled us with stories about all that Jessie had shown and taught them. Needless to say panic soon turned to pride.
Gordon, the youngest member of the family, makes it his business to know more. More about everything. It is never enough to tell him the basics, he wants to know all about it and how it effects the world. At only eight years old, Gordon shared with us his dream of becoming a scientist and inventor so that he can one day solve the pollution problems of the world. His plan is to find a way to turn pollution into clean burning fuel. An avid watcher of nature documentaries, our work is often interrupted by Gordon’s excited explanations of animals and their behaviours. His love for wild things is trumped only by his adoration for his family.
We have watched them with our beloved veld as the backdrop to their lives and have been moved beyond words at the depth of our love for them. They have taught us so much about ourselves and our place in this world and we love sharing the sum total of our experiences with our guests.