Safaris Unlimited Providing Intense And Unforgettable Safaris For Adventure-Seekers
Based in Kenya and founded on tradition and an appreciation for the land, Safaris Unlimited (Africa) Ltd. since 1971 has provided adventure-seekers with magical, intense and unforgettable excursions into the “wildest corners of the land … deep into the wilderness where there are no other people around.”
Owners Gordie and Felicia Church create personalized safaris for their guests, assembling itineraries based on an initial Zoom meeting where goals and budget are determined.
“Going on safari with Gordie and Felicia is life-changing. It sounds corny, but you reconnect with the most basic elements of life. Somehow, being within 30 feet of a lion, having hippos tromp through your camp at night, watching a cheetah take down a gazelle and having a bull elephant evacuate your lunch spot—it is primal and magnificent. And doing it on horseback makes it feel as if you are part of it all—not just a visitor. Gordie and Felicia are perfect hosts, from the quality of the horses to the food, the tents, the care and attention and the confidence that at every moment they are at home and in charge. If you only take one trip this decade, it should be this one.”
— Rebecca Kourlis, Franktown
Guests can choose from any number of safaris: mobile, horseback, helicopter, photo, fly-fishing or tracking the great apes. Each is focused on giving travelers an unparalleled opportunity to experience big game in their natural habitat in such East Africa locales as Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve Serengeti National Park in Tanzania or the Indian Ocean Islands.
“The beauty of East Africa is that you can go from the snow-capped mountains of Mount Kenya to the vast Chalbi Desert without having to travel too far,” Gordie says. “You can see chimpanzees and gorillas, climb volcanos … the options are endless.”
Gordie and Felicia purchased Safaris Unlimited in 2002 from Gordie’s father, Tony Church, the eldest son of missionary parents. Tony, who grew up on the slopes of Mount Kenya, began Safaris Unlimited by selling a set of golf clubs in order to buy three horses to service his initial customers: crews from British Airways and PanAm who were looking for something to do while on layover in Kenya and seemed to enjoy the day rides on the hillsides west of Nairobi.
In 1985, Tony Church leased his farm and horses from the Safaris Unlimited stables to the crew filming the Academy Award-winning film Out of Africa.
“Africa penetrates the soul! Gordie and Felicia’s spirit, knowledge and professionalism create a lifetime experience. We have been truly blessed to experience Africa and the Congo through their vision and friendship.”
— Kathy and Skip Dines, Boulder
The Churches speak the local language and have some 50 years of “wonderful relationships with the local tribesmen, elders, chiefs and landowners. To be able to show that to our guests is our joy,” says Gordie.
Gordie and Felicia have two children, who “have grown up barefoot and in the bush” and who exhibit the same love for the country that their parents have. “We’re a community,” Gordie says, “a family made up of neighbors and others from all across the land.”
A Safaris Unlimited trip is a time to switch off altogether, to escape the workaday world and the stresses that are part and parcel of it. “To unplug from the increasingly stressful daily routines that we are all used to is really part of the luxury,” Felicia says. “Your biggest decision of the day is to ride a horse or take the Jeep.”
She adds: “Watching our guests start to unwind is really a joy for us. From the time we pick them up at the airport to when we drop them back off, they are different people—for the better.”
Safaris Unlimited offers trips of various luxury levels, depending on your budget and wants. “You can go from the most beautiful private homes that sleep 10-12 guests, with chefs, waiters and staff, to sleeping under the stars, says Gordie.
Private mobile camps are purposefully set up away from any others. “These camps are carefully curated with all the amenities, the personal touches one might expect or need. Candlelit dinners with grand conversations, children building fires with help from the safari camp crew, night drives, bush breakfasts, learning the cultures … there is no more special way to see this land,” Felicia says, adding: “Our safaris aren’t just another trip, and this sets us apart from other outfitters.”
Elizabeth Hamilton is the group publisher for Colorado Expression, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles and Mountain Living. She and her husband had the pleasure of riding through the countryside in Spain with Gordie and Felicia Church last spring.