June 27, 2022
Luxury Safari Magazine interviews Elena Danilova
Topguides Bush Camps offers a distinctive take on safari’s classic essence, breathing fresh simplicity and elegance into the timelessness of the wild. They are proud to deliver an experience that is authentically immersive and true to nature, and also true to you. Here we find out more from one of the Executive Directors, Elena Danilova.
What is your biggest aspiration/goal that you would like to reach?
The biggest goal is to make an impact and to leave a legacy for generations to come.
What is your favourite place to be and why?
I love to be in nature, especially the mountains, lakes and fields of flowers. I grew up in Georgia, so I love the moderate climate and limited horizons framed by forests and mountains.
What is the best part of managing the inner workings of Topguides Bush Camps?
The best part of Managing Topguides Bush Camps is meeting new people from all over the world, learning new things and actually teaching staff and developing them to their full potential.
How many countries have you visited, and which is the one you liked most?
I’ve lived in 4 countries in my life: Georgia, Russia, USA, and now Tanzania. I’ve visited about 20 so far. Each country has something special to offer, so its hard to choose the favourite, but the most memorable to date was Peru.
What was the vision behind your company?
We wanted to create a unique experience in the bush concentrating on a high level of service, great cuisine, and special activities like walking safaris and night game drives. We also use about 90% of locally made furnishings and try to source everything locally or at least from the African continent, therefore providing jobs for Tanzanians.
Where do you want to take the company in the future?
I would like for the company to stay boutique, maintain the level of service that we have, and improve it even more. Each property that we have now only has 7-8 tents. Any new coming properties that we are planning on will not exceed 15 rooms. I would like to keep the model this way and stay very hands-on. I would also like Topguides Bush Camps name to become a model in the industry for great service, highly trained staff, strong environmental / conservation programs, and great guiding.
What is the best sighting you’ve ever had in the bush?
It was just last year at TAASA conservancy. We saw lions kill and eat a female ostrich right in front of us on the game drive. We sat there watching 11 lions feast on 90 kg bird just 3m from our open vehicle.
What is your strongest passion?
I have two. First is designing camps with my partner, since my background was in interior architecture. The second is designing itineraries. Itineraries are like puzzles that need to be put together correctly. Each client has their own needs and wants and I usually look to accommodate all those needs and wants by trying to get them the best experience they need, even if it means not booking clients in our camps.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My family. My husband and my son are my biggest achievements and the most important people in my life. I would not be here without them.
Is there anything else you would like to add/share?
Live life with no regrets. It’s better to try and fail than not try and wonder what would have been.
Well said Elena, we couldn’t agree more, thank you for your time answering these questions.