Insights from guests on how Jody shares her passion and experience with every guest and tips for planning a successful safari.
Wild Rainbow African Safaris was featured in Passport Magazine. This article goes in depth about Jody and her in knowledge and passion for Africa and all it has to offer. View a pdf of the article here.
Wild Rainbow African Safaris highlighted in Travel Weekly article “Challenges exist, but Africa can be safe place for LGBT travelers“.
This article covers the benefits and challenges for LGBT travelers in Africa. Jody talks about a Uganda gorilla trip that had to be cancelled because of Anit-Homosexuality legislation (later annulled that same year).
By Bonnie Osborn
Philanthropist and LGBT activist Jody Cole didn’t set out to start a safari company, but once she followed her life-long dream to go on safari in Africa, her course was set.
It began in 1998 with a six-week trip to South Africa and Tanzania. “I loved it the moment I got off the plane in South Africa,” she told Outword. “I recognized the smell of the soil; it was a visceral experience. It caught me off-guard.” A year later she returned for a walking safari in Zimbabwe. “That was really the safari that sealed the deal for me and my subtler forms of African nature. She holds a Level 2 Field Guide and Trails Guide certification, with advanced rifle handling, and will begin her Level 3 training, the highest level certification, this year. Her training involved a rigorous, month-long curriculum, learning “everything from ground to sky: soils, botany, geology, animal behavior, insects, birds and more. Although there has been political turmoil in some areas where Wild Rainbow operates, for the most part the unrest is concentrated in urban areas rather than in safari country. The company did cancel planned trips to Uganda in 2014 after its government passed a punitive law criminalizing homosexuality, not only to avoid risk to its safari guests, but to make a political point.
Ten years ago, Wild Rainbow African Safaris led its first custom African trip, taking 20 people to Tanzania. A year later, Jody Cole bought out her business partner and took her first group solo to South Africa for a walking and wildlife safari. Since then, she has provided hundreds of guests with the opportunity to safely experience Africa and all its delights, from stays in five-star luxury lodges and mobile tent camps to cultural exchanges and Cape Town nightclubs.
by Heather Cassell
For a decade Jody Cole, owner and operator of Wild Rainbow African Safaris, has unraveled the continent’s mystery, magic, and complexity for travelers.
Cole, a 52-year-old lesbian, started out before she formed the company, sharing her love for Africa with friends as a safari guide. In 2005, she began taking travelers to Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, to name a few of the countries through which she’s trekked.
Sacramento, Calif., June 2, 2014 – Wild Rainbow African Safaris is celebrating 10 years of creating customized, guided safaris to East and Southern Africa with a completely new lineup of safaris in 2015. Wild Rainbow’s 10th anniversary safaris include an epic Mt. Kilimanjaro climb and Tanzania safari, a Zimbabwe canoeing and walking safari, an unforgettable Rwanda gorilla safari, a classic Kenya and Tanzania safari and a diverse South Africa walking safari.
Wild Rainbow African Safaris was founded in 2004 by African safari expert Jody Cole, and the company took its first group to Africa in 2005. Since then, Wild Rainbow has taken 50 groups and over 300 individuals on safari in a total of 10 African countries and is the world’s only proudly lesbian owned and operated African safari company.
Wild Rainbow creates customized, individualized programs for its guests and offers each of its guests the opportunity to safely experience Africa and all it has to offer. Cole is one of the few American women to have achieved two of the highest qualifications for field guides in Africa, and she personally accompanies each group to help her guests maximize their safari experience.
“It has been the thrill of a lifetime to help my guests experience and appreciate the magic of Africa over these last 10 years,” said Cole. “Africa is a place that you feel in your soul. I’m very honored to have been a part of that journey with so many people already and I’m looking forward to many more great journeys over the next 10 years.”
Wild Rainbow African Safaris’ 10th anniversary year kicks off with a climb to the continent’s highest peak in January 2015 and continues on through five different countries and a total of five unique itineraries over the course of the year.
Kilimanjaro Climb and Tanzania Safari
January 11 – 30, 2015 and July 5 – 24, 2015
Join Jody and Wild Rainbow Safaris for an epic climbing adventure to the Roof of Africa. After three days relaxing and exploring at two idyllic farms at the mountain’s base, guests will spend the next eight days ascending Kilimanjaro’s awesome slopes and taking in the spectacular topography and views. The climb culminates with guests’ arrival at the 19,340-foot Uhuru Peak.
This trip can be booked as “climb only” from January 11-23, 2015, “safari only” from January 23-30, 2015, or both segments together for an epic, 20-day adventure. The same options are offered again later in the year: “climb only” from July 5-16, 2015, “safari only” from July 16-24, 2015, or both segments together from July 5-24, 2015.
Zimbabwe Conoeing and Walking Safari
May 28 – June 8, 2015
There’s no better way to experience Africa than on foot and by canoe. This safari begins a game drive through the famed Mana Pools, which draw a diverse array of animals including elephants, buffalos, kudus, zebras, and impalas, and the predators who pursue them – lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyena. Guests will enjoy three days of canoeing near the confluence of the Ruckomechi and Zambezi Rivers, with three glorious nights camping along the banks in spacious, walk-in style tents with comfortable beds, fresh linens and en suite facilities.
The adventure continues with a plane and boat ride to Matusadona National Park for three days at the remote and rustic Rhino Island Safari Camp on the shores of Lake Kariba, the world’s largest reserve. Guests experience an authentic African bush camp that merges colonial luxury with ancient tribal style in the Zulu warrior hunting grounds of Somalisa Camp in Hwange National Park. Begin or end this trip with an optional day at the iconic Victoria Falls for a trip that’s truly beyond your wildest imagination.
Rwanda Gorilla and Tanzania Safari
June 11 – 21, 2015
This unique safari brings guests up close to the fascinating mountain gorilla and golden monkeys on invigorating hikes through dense, orchid-lined forests in and around Volcanoes National Park. Visit noted gorilla expert Dian Fossey’s research center and tomb and learn why she was so fascinated these gentle creatures.
Shifting focus, the safari turns to Tanzania’s famed Serengeti National Park for sightings of the Big Five – the African lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo – as well as many other animals in one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles. The adventure concludes at the world famous Ngorongoro Crater, often described as the Eighth Wonder of the World, where guests will spend two nights at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge perched on the crater rim.
Kenya and Tanzania Safari
June 22 – July 2, 2015
In the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, guests on this safari explore the wild Maasai plains of Amboseli National Park where they will see a wide array of wildlife within the park’s diverse terrain, including elephants, baboons, lions, cheetahs, rhino and over 400 varieties of birds.
South Africa Walking Safari
September 7 – 16, 2015
Enjoy the myriad of wonders, urban and off-the-beaten path, that South Africa has to offer on this diverse safari. The journey begins in Johannesburg and continues on to Hazyview’s Hippo Hollow, an excellent base of operations for visitors to Kruger National Park. Guests may see the elusive leopard and the charming dwarf mongoose, as well as cultural activities including a traditional Shangaan dance. This visit includes up-close-and-personal time with the majestic elephants, from brushing and cleaning them to a ride on their backs through the lush bush.
From there, the adventure moves on to Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, where guests will enjoy two nights at Angela’s Camp, an intimate, cliffside safari lodge overlooking the Klaserie River. The flora, fauna and insecta rustle, roar and buzz all around in this diverse wonderland. Following a visit to Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, the group returns to Johannesburg for a last evening together at the modern and stylish Rosebank. The final morning concludes with an insightful Soweto tour, home to legendary leader Nelson Mandela from 1946 to 1962.
“At Wild Rainbow African Safaris, every one of our trips is unique, just like our guests,” said Cole. “Whether you’re gay or straight and traveling alone, with your partner or with friends, we pride ourselves on creating an environment where you’ll feel safe, welcome and at home. We take the worry out of planning an African safari to maximize the experience for you.”
For reservations and additional details on any of the above safaris please contact Wild Rainbow African Safaris at +1-800-423-1495 or www.wildrainbowsafaris.com.
About Wild Rainbow African Safaris
Since 2004, Wild Rainbow African Safaris has created custom adventures in Africa for its travelers. Wild Rainbow African Safaris is owned and operated by Jody Cole, one of the few American women with two of the highest certifications for field guides in Africa: Certified Level 2 Field Guide and Trails Guide from the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa. Based in Sacramento, California, Wild Rainbow offers every one of its guests the opportunity to safely experience Africa and all its delights, from five-star luxury lodges, mobile-tented camps and safaris to cultural exchanges and Cape Town nightclubs.
Wild Rainbow African Safaris is celebrating 10 years of creating customized, guided safaris to East and Southern Africa. Wild Rainbow is owned and operated by Jody Cole, one of the few American women to have achieved two of the highest qualifications for field guides in Africa. Wild Rainbow offers every one of its guests the opportunity to safely experience Africa and all it has to offer – from 5-star luxury lodges, to mobile-tented camps and safaris, to cultural exchanges and Cape Town nightclubs.
Many in the tourism industry consider the country of Uganda a jewel, often describing it as “the pearl of Africa.” Wildlife abounds and gorilla tracking is prime. At Oblogdee we warned that notwithstanding the perfection of the safari destination, if the new Anti-Homosexuality Bill became Ugandan law, tour operators would likely start to withdraw business and discontinue to support the Country’s thriving tourist trade. Our prediction was well founded, as before the ink on President Yoweri Museveni’s odious Bill could dry, one world class and renowned tour operator cancelled its Uganda Great Apes safari and condemned the draconian law.
by Heather Cassell
Anyone who knows Jody Cole, owner of Wild Rainbow African Safaris, know she’s passionate about Africa and loves sharing knowledge about the continent, but this time she wasn’t leading the tour, she was being led.
Cole, along with 17 other European and U.S. LGBT philanthropists – including San Franciscans Tracy Gary and her partner Inka von Sternenfels – participated in a first-of-its-kind donor trip to South Africa focused on LGBT issues in January. The trip was organized through Atlantic Philanthropies.