Dr Helena Fitchat and Mrs Judi Gounaris, owners of Wild At Tuli Safaris are two unique women who share a spirit of adventure and undying passion for the magic of the African Wilderness and its wildlife.
As Trustees of one of the biggest Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres in South Africa both, having spent decades saving wildlife, realised that the only way to really make a difference is to PRESERVE HABITAT. In 2007 Judi and Helena purchased a large tract of wilderness in Botswana’s ‘Big Five’ Tuli Block and relocated to live there permanently.
Since they dedicated this land to wildlife it has become a safe haven for all wildlife passing through. This is the legacy they will leave to conservation.
To date, developments include having built roads, drilled boreholes for water, equipped boreholes with pumps, constructed waterholes and hides and built a camp from which they run a very successful Conservation Project which welcomes over 100 eco-tourists every year. They ran a successful tourism venture on a neighbouring Reserve for 6 years with great Tripadvisor reviews and have now moved the tourism venture to a reserve called Limpopo River Lodge, nearby, which offers stunning accommodation, the same great food and fabulous game drive experiences.
The latest adventure they have taken on is to show people ‘their Botswana’ which will include accompanying guests on a trip through Botswana to visit their own favourite places. They know where to go, they know what to look for, they never tire of wildlife and wilderness and they never tire of spreading their conservation word!
You will not find anyone more knowledgeable than Helena who has spent over 30 years on and off in the wilderness. She is an expert tracker, has crossed the Kalahari desert on her own and lived with the Bushmen for a year. She is also a pilot, a biologist specialising in Animal Behaviour (for which she obtained her PhD) , and she single-handedly navigated her way through the vast Okavango Delta in a leaking boat and survived! For 10 years she was the Operations Director of The Centre for Rehabilitation Of Wildlife (CROW) in Durban, South Africa during which time an estimated 40,000 animals will have been admitted. Helena is a mine of information and will enthral you with her fascinating stories about life, adventure and the world of wildlife.
Judi worked for more than 30 years in the corporate IT world and always volunteered her spare time to help animals. Apart from numerous creatures needing help, she has looked after baby cheetah, helped Helena rear two lion cubs who were featured on Animal Planet and spent several years with two Cape Clawless otters that learnt to swim and fish before being released back into the wild. Aside from the lions cubs, one of her favourite animals is the bush baby and she has hand-reared a number of these rare little creatures. For more than 8 years Judi was a Committee Member and latterly Chairperson of The Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) in Durban South Africa.
Helena and Judi have spent many years working and travelling together and reared and released many animals back into the wild. They have experienced some incredible adventures travelling in Botswana. These include sleeping on top of a vehicle surrounded by 26 lions, sitting amongst a herd of 300 elephants, being stranded for days in the middle of nowhere because their vehicle broke down, tracking elusive leopards, chasing hyena through camp because they had pinched their wine, and fishing in a mokoro (a type of canoe made out of a large tree stump) surrounded by hippos and crocodiles.
Wild at Tuli Safaris is their way of sharing their passion and what they have experienced, with others.
Everyone should experience the magic of an African safari once in their lifetime!!