Wild Rainbow African Safaris began in 2004 as the direct result of Jody Cole’s unbridled passion for Africa. Fifteen years later, we are still owned and operated by Jody. We live by one simple philosophy—ensure every traveler has the time of their life. Jody has traveled to Africa over 100 times. Because of her depth of experience and connection with the continent, we are able to showcase the wonders and beauty of Africa like no other travel company. Like the shifting sands of the Namib desert, every trip is unique in its beauty because we never offer 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.
Creating Memorable African Safaris for 15 Years
Jody has traveled to Africa over a hundred times where she spends substantial time in the bush and at her home South Africa. Jody 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. She has spent much of her life exploring and discovering the wonders of Africa. Her guests are the recipients of her vast knowledge of Africa and benefit from her long-standing relationships with local operators. Enjoy a safe trip filled 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. Twenty-one years later, she continues to share her deep passion for the land, wildlife, and people of Africa.
The Experience and Training to Provide Unforgettable Adventures
Jody has over two decades of travel experience to Africa and 15 years of operating Wild Rainbow African Safaris. Her passion for nature and the world around her have allowed her to refine her skills and expand her knowledge.
Jody has trained with the Kenyan Professional Guides Association, holds Kenya and South Africa Trail Guide Certifications, and has completed advanced rifle handling. She is also an Adventure Travel Specialist and a Master Kenya Travel Specialist (KATS). In addition, she has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro twice, once in 1998 and again in 2011.
Because Jody personally leads and guides all trips, gracious hospitality is a part of every safari. She prides herself on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere at the end of the day, whether it 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 has also served on the board of 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, Shelly has the opportunity to combine her passions for excellent customer service, hard work, conservation, problem solving, community, and creativity into one job. Shelly has 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
Anna Priest, Bookkeeper
Anna’s passion for finances and love for the outdoors makes her a perfect fit for Wild Rainbow Safaris. Prior to joining our staff, she served as the Science Museum Director at the Asheville Museum of Science and as an Environmental Scientist at Anchor QEA (formerly Altamont Environmental). Anna also serves as a financial coach at Mountain BizWorks specializing in non-profits and small businesses. Contact her at: Anna@wildrainbowsafaris.com
Marina Cariello, Office Specialist
Marina combines creativity, organization, and attention to detail as our office specialist. Her background in graphic design, marketing, and corporate productions are invaluable at Wild Safaris, while her background with small businesses and non-profits make her a valuable member of our team. Her willingness to problem solve and think out of the box are her key assets. Contact her at: Marina@wildrainbowsafaris.com
Alison Hawthorne, Airline and Insurance Specialist
Alison is founder and owner of our sister company, Over the Rainbow Travel. She specializes in finding the best flights and the most appropriate travel and trip insurance. Alison has over 25 years of experience in the travel business. She was with us on our first safari when Wild Rainbow African Safaris was formed. Alison is the past president of the Northern California Chapter of the Association For The Promotion Of Tourism To Africa. Contact her at: email@example.com
Pudge, Cuddler-in-Chief, Kitchen Manager and Spiritual Teacher
When yawning Pudge descends the staircase each morning, adoring fans are reminded of Scarlet O’Hara, coming to greet that rascally Ratt Butler. Pudge is blessed with southern charm and the ample hips of a girl who knows her way into any heart and around any kitchen. Everybody loves her–and Pudge loves everyone, including the possum she secretly ushers in through the pet door at night to sip and nibble from her stash. While Mom Jody’s away in Africa, this girl is home cooking up lots of mischief.
Oscar, Captain Crotch Watch, President of PawPals, and Fitness Motivator
As the self-appointed President of PawPals,Oscar writes comforting notes to pets left at home when their mommies and daddies are off on safaris cozying up with other animals. He also keeps the office staff moving by sensing when they have been sitting at the computer too long. Oscar’s favorite sport is “garaging.” Whenever people are around, Captain Crotch Watch is the official greeter, and his snout is a heat-seeking missile that always finds its target. Yup, this sweet friendly guy is full of surprises.