in a nut shell
Johann, his wife Samantha (Sam) and their two children were all born and raised in Kenya.
Johann refers to himself as third generation Kenyan, his ancestors having moved to South Africa from France and Holland in 1622 and then to Kenya in the late 1800s. During the Boer war in 1850 (CHECK) his ancestors left South Africa, heading North by ox cart. It took them three years to reach Western Kenya on their way to Uganda, where the ox cart that was carrying the volt that had all the valuables from the other 22 families on the trek finally collapsed in what is now known as Eldoret. They could not move the volt nor fix the ox cart, so they decided to build a bank around it. The bank is still operating as Standard Chartered in Eldoret, that used to be called Plot 64 (previously owned by Willie van Aardt, Johann’s great grandfather). Others of his family arrived from South Africa by boat in 1907. Johann was born and raised in Eldoret, where his father was a wheat and barley farmer.
Having completed primary school in Kenya and secondary school in Australia, Johann went to Les Roches Hotel School in Switzerland, then returned to manage camps in Kenya. He has also guided for many years and having been brought up on a 4,000 acre farm his love for the wild and open spaces remains.
Sam is a first-generation Kenyan. Her parents met in Kenya, but had arrived under different circumstances from the United Kingdom. Her mother a farmer and her father a journalist, Sam’s love for wild spaces and conservation came from multiple family camping trips as a child.
After completing secondary school in Nairobi, Sam studied Phycology and Zoology in England and returned to work in conservation research in the Olkiramatian Shompole ecosystem for the South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO) and oversees the Lale’enok Resource Centre in Olkiramatian.
Seyia and Taru were born in Nairobi and live with Johann and Sam in the bush.
Johann’s dream was always to run his own camp one day. Sam has always wanted to work and live in wildlife areas and be involved in community conservation efforts. They feel extremely grateful that they have both been able to achieve their dreams while at the same time living together as a family in a very special part of the world.
Johann du Toit
Co-owner | your host | safari guide
Johann is a 3rd generation Kenyan, brought up on a farm in Western Kenya. He did most of his schooling in Kenya, a little in Australia and then trained in hotel management in Switzerland. After that he came straight back and started managing camps in remote places.
Not only is he the camp co-owner and camp manager of Shompole Wilderness, he is a keen photographer, animal and snake lover, and would love to show you around Shompole.
Sam and the kids
Research and education coordinator SORALO, helps Johann, mother and teacher of two children
Sam works for SORALO and heads up their conservation research and education programmes. In her spare time she helps Johann run Shompole Wilderness and helps teach and raise their two children. Sam has worked in the Olkiramatian / Shompole ecosystem since 2005 and was one of the first researchers in the area.
The children are researcher/guides/hoteliers-in-training, and love showing guests around the camp and telling them about their latest adventures.