December 12

Dear 2023: A Letter from Rhino Africa’s Founder and CEO


By David Ryan on
December 12, 2022

2023, you'll be arriving in just a few short weeks, so I thought it important for us to understand where things are before you descend upon us. Your predecessors haven't been too kind – from wildfires to toilet paper shortages and chaotic streets to weather events, 2020 and 2021 have certainly taken their toll! On the other hand, 2022 has provided some much-needed light at the end of a very dark tunnel. And we're relying on you, 2023, to continue that shine.

Ready for 2023: Man and woman looking at view from Silvan's pool

We're ready for 2023

Reviving Tourism

There's no denying that the pandemic decimated our beloved tourism industry, but 2022 has certainly lifted the bar and once again set us free. Guests are gleefully reaching for their passports and heading back to Africa as Covid-19 travel restrictions dissipate and flight frequencies continue to improve.

Across our industry, post-pandemic occupancies are once again being reached and breached, as travel profoundly impacts Africa's recovery. And, in turn, Africa profoundly impacts the lives of its guests.

Looking Back on 2022

As we reflect on 2022, I'm reminded of educator and philosopher Paulo Freire's quote, "Reflection and action must never be undertaken independently." 

So, as we fast approach the end of 2022, there's much reflection being conducted within our Rhino Africa team, alongside some exciting planning and action in the form of continued developments in our guest experience, as our plans for 2023 get underway. 

CSR will remain important for us in 2023: Founder and CEO David Ryan at The Good Work Foundation 10th anniversary

2022 has been important for our Impact Partners

Rhinos Charging Ahead

2022 has undoubtedly been an exciting year of recovery for Rhino Africa, albeit a challenging one at times. Despite this, we have remained diligent, focused and continue reaffirming ourselves as the World's Best Safari Company. Our singular high touch, bespoke focus to ensure that we have our clients' best interests at heart in everything we do, has, as we anticipated, been the primary driver of our 2022 recovery.  

As we predicted a rapid increase in the commencement of travel in the latter half of 2022, in the first half of the year, we enthusiastically focused on rebuilding the capacity and skills of our Rhino Crash. To ensure that our clients' and our teams' best interests remain at the heart of everything we do, we also returned Rhino Africa to 100% private ownership during the first half of 2022. 

Rhino Crash in Italy

We attended the IGLTA conference in Italy

To Infinity and Beyond 

With 120 passionate Rhinos now leading this recovery, the increased talent density is apparent to all, as we closed out our third quarter, on 30 Nov 22, at 95% of our pre-Covid revenue. But our greatest pleasure is to share our passion for Africa with our guests once again, particularly those returning, of which there were many.

As a web-based company, we're conscious that we're only as good as the passion and knowledge of our people, products and the destinations with whom we partner. This is "collaboration" in its finest form and has been a joy to witness.

My greatest thrill is waking up daily and reading the countless threads of guests' feedback and the profound impact Africa has had on their lives. It's indeed a great privilege for us to be able to play a role in that journey. 

Luxury is in The Detail

A term we often use at Rhino Africa is "Luxury is in the detail". This phrase underpins our understanding that there is much more to African Travel than simply building and quoting an itinerary. We know, understand and care about the challenges and pleasures that come with a bespoke tailor-made trip to Africa. 

Hence, in the second half of 2022, our attention again returned to increasing the vast reservoir of expert destination and product knowledge of our African Travel Experts. In addition, we've innovated to improve the booking experience with Rhino Africa and ensure our guests' holiday investments remain secure.

We can't wait for the travel year 2023

We can't wait for the travel year 2023

We're Ready for You, 2023

And so, we'll be heading into your year, 2023. A year, as we'd like to term it, "of clear vision". We look forward to welcoming over 12,000 foreign guests to Africa and will continue to deliver on our promises to our guests.

We know that our guests have choices, but we like to think that Rhino Africa is not just any travel company! With 18 years of experience under our belt and founded on family values, the purposeful commitment to uplifting communities and protecting Africa's wildlife truly remains at the heart of what we do.

I wish everyone a very enjoyable festive season, whether it be with family and friends or otherwise.

Roll on 2023 – we're ready for you!


David Ryan,

CEO and Founder of Rhino Africa

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About the author 

David Ryan

David makes things happen! With a canny inability to sit still for a minute, it’s a miracle he actually sat down long enough to finish his degree in economics. David is a brave and pioneering entrepreneur with a true passion for Africa - especially Africa's wildlife. With his African Grey parrot by his side, there is more than a hint of the Dolittles about our intrepid leader. Before founding Rhino Africa David spent a number of years earning his stripes and cutting his teeth in the industry. David’s interests include photography and travel, and having travelled extensively through Africa most of the images on the Rhino Africa website hail from his well organised image library!

  • so i am a rhino africa groupie – my wife Sue Columbia Travel does a lot of work with Alison ( she is amazing) and i cant wait to read your Blog and plot our next trip
    we have been fortunate to have visited a number of lodges – many – and without a doubt Silvan tops the list – no second
    david ryan you and your team are amazing

    • Hello Alan,

      This comment was a delight to read. Thank you so much for brightening our day – and Alisson’s.

      Likewise, our Client Experience team will look forward to reading all about your next trip. Thank you and your wife for your support.

      Silvan definitely tops the list and we hope to see you there soon.

      Best regards

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