Wild Rainbow African Safaris began in 2004 as the direct result of Jody Cole’s unbridled passion for Africa. Owned and operated by Jody, the business runs under one simple philosophy—ensure every traveler has the time of their life. The company operates on the unique business model of never offering the same safari twice. Each safari has its own special fingerprint because it is customized especially for the group. This incredible level of detail is possible because Jody accompanies her guests on every safari and shares her expansive knowledge of Africa.
Guided by Skill, Passion, and Training
Jody has traveled to Africa more than 75 times and is one of the few American women who hold the two of the highest certifications from the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa. She is a certified Level 2 Field Guide and Trails Guide. Her mastery of the African bush and long-standing relationships with local operators promises a safe trip with unforgettable experiences and hands-on attention.
Meet Jody Cole, Owner of Wild Rainbow African Safaris
In 1998 Jody fell in love with Africa, and her life changed forever. Her first trip led to numerous returns, where she fed her deep passion for the land, wildlife, and people of Africa.
A Dedication to Providing Unforgettable Adventures
Jody climbed Mount Kilimanjaro twice, once in 1998 and again in 2011. On every returning trip, she honed her skills and knowledge of the bush. Jody has trained with the Kenyan Professional Guides Association, holds a Field Guide and Trails Guide certification, and has completed advanced rifle handling. She is also an Adventure Travel Specialist and a Master Kenya Travel Specialist (KATS).
Hospitality is important to Jody. She prides herself on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for every safari, whether the day includes relaxing at a luxurious lodge or star-gazing in mobile tented camps. Africa’s wildlife, ecology, and culture hold a special place in Jody’s heart. For this reason all Wild Rainbow African Safaris are lower impact and offer the chance to give back or engage with African culture.
Speaking and Coaching at Local Events
Conventions, conferences, schools and business associations are just a few of the places Jody has presented. Topics include: “Guess What’s for Dinner” focusing on Africa’s predator/prey relationships, “Leadership Skills Learned From the Wild: What Can We Learn From Animal Instincts and Behavior?”, “Africa isn’t so scary!” designed for early education groups, “Boggled by Bird Beaks” presentation on avian beak adaptations, shapes and uses, “LGBT Travel in Africa-Is it Safe?”, and so many more.
House parties are specifically designed for past guests to host friends and family for a light hearted evening of Africa stories supported with a visual presentation. House parties are meant to introduce guests and friends of the host to Wild Rainbow African Safaris. Jody explains what a Wild Rainbow safari is all about. Don’t want to go to Africa? That’s cool, come anyway and still enjoy the stories.
A Life Well-Spent: Volunteering and Advocating
Jody’s enthusiasm for Africa has led her to participate in numerous animal research projects including South Africa’s brown hyenas projects with Drs. Dawn Scott and Richard Yarnell and the South African Transboundary Project with Michelle Henley. She is an active supporter of the Save the Elephants Foundation in South Africa and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust of Nairobi, Kenya.
While stateside, Jody serves as an advocate for human rights and animal welfare. She has received numerous awards for work within the community and spent eight years volunteering at the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands. She currently serves on the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.
“The trip to Africa was fantastic and exceeded our expectations. All of the people were great and so were the accommodations. Thanks to all your “behind the scene” planning, our adventure was effortless on our part and we were literally able to sit back and enjoy the journey.”
“The trip was superb. It was a great introduction to Africa and the game preserves. I am excited about doing another safari. All the parks were great and have their own special attractions.”
“Words are not adequate to convey my deep appreciation for Jody and how attentive she was through out my trip. Because of Jody my dream vacation went “beyond my wildest dreams.”
Meet Our Staff
While Jody personally guides every trip at Wild Rainbow, she has a talented team behind her working to ensure every guest has an incredible journey. Together, they serve you with more than 50 years of guiding, travel, and logistics expertise.
Shelly Hawk, Operations Manager
As Operations Manager at Wild Rainbow African Safaris, Shelly has the opportunity to combine her passions for excellent customer service, hard work, conservation, problem solving, community, and creativity into one job. Before coming to Wild Rainbow Safaris, Shelly worked with Fortune 100 and 500 companies, various non-profits, and small businesses. Volunteering on a Nile Crocodile Earth Watch project in 1996 introduced Shelly to Africa; she is thrilled to help others experience Africa through guided safaris. Contact her at: Shelly@wildrainbowsafaris.com
Roni Schalman, Bookkeeper
Roni joined Wild Rainbow African Safaris in 2015 to assist with the financial duties of the business. A veteran of corporate America, she now owns her own book-keeping and pet boarding business. She is an avid traveler. Her favorite trips include Kenya, an Alaskan grizzly bear safari, hiking in Peru, and sampling chocolate and beer in Belgium. While in Kenya, Roni developed a passion for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Sanctuary and fostering rescued baby elephants. Contact her at: Roni@wildrainbowsafaris.com
Alison Hawthorne, Airline and Insurance Specialist
As the founder of Over the Rainbow Travel, Alison has been in the travel business for more than 22 years. She is the past president of the Northern California Chapter of APTA (Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa), a Master KATS (Kenya Authorized Travel Specialist), and a certified Field Guide with FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa). Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org