Marleen Byron has spent the last decade involved in the fields of tourism and environmental sciences. Two years gapping it through the UK and Europe after school brought her to the realisation that the great outdoors was her motivation, and she returned to South Africa to complete a degree in Zoology at the University of Pretoria. Upon completion, she became involved in the tourism industry and after a short guiding stint in the Timbavati she moved to Botswana to join Simon and become a camp manager for Okavango Wilderness Safaris and other companies. She spent just under 5 years being bush based in the Okavango. During this time, she completed a Masters Degree in Environmental Sciences on a part time basis, and in 2010 completed her thesis on the Amphibian Diversity and Breeding Behaviour in the Okavango Delta.

Motivated by a passion for the ultimate safari experience together with a drive for the conservation of wild places and a lifestyle intertwined with the great outdoors, Marleen established her destination management company, Safari Essence (together with friend and colleague Silvia Bottoli Hill) in 2013, and has been building bespoke itineraries and combining unique products in Africa – predominantly Botswana – ever since. She is based in Maun, Botswana, with her family.


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