A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.
Russell Gammon’s family first arrived in Africa in the early 1820s. He is a popular wilderness guide with more than 30 years’ experience leading expeditions and safaris throughout Southern and East Africa. Russell is also a gifted storyteller and an authority on the life of explorer David Livingstone. He has participated in an expedition with the British Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes that retraced the final portion of Livingstone's journey to the Victoria Falls, and was featured in the National Geographic-PBS documentary The Lost Diary of Dr. Livingstone. For the past five years, Russell has been a Smithsonian Associate, lecturing annually at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., on a wide range of conservation-related topics. When not on safari, he lives in the small coastal town of Knysna on the southern tip of Africa.
National Geographic Big Cats Initiative Grantee and Explorer Matt Becker has spent his life working to protect wildlife and wild places. He is the CEO and Program Manager of the Zambian Carnivore Programme, a science-based conservation organization working on all the large African carnivore species, their prey, and their habitat across Zambia. Matt's parents instilled a strong conservation ethic in him while he was growing up in Montana. This has led to his working across the world for the last 25 years on field research projects from the Arctic to Antarctica and Africa on an array of species ranging from beetles, bison, and bears to penguins, chimpanzees and spectacled eiders. Matt conducted Ph.D. research on wolves in Yellowstone National Park while at Montana State University, where he is also an Affiliate Research Faculty. For nearly the last decade, he has lived in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley.
Bill Branch has been a wildlife biologist at the Port Elizabeth Museum in South Africa since 1979 and has undertaken fieldwork across the African continent, from Ethiopia to Senegal and Madagascar. Bill is also a general naturalist and keen birder. He has described numerous new species and amphibians, received a grant from National Geographic to help fund his research on African reptiles, and published six books as well as several photographs and scientific articles. In 2015, Bill joined a National Geographic-supported science team for the land-based survey of areas around the Cuito River in the headwaters of the Okavango Delta.