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Meet the pack…..

The Ride Wild pack consists of 3 different teams - each of them committed to giving you the experience and adventure of a lifetime.

Behind the scenes, and the initiators behind, Ride Wild are the cycling-mad wildlife-enthusiasts, or wildlife-mad, cycling-junkies (we are never quite sure which it should be), Debby Thomson and Jane Frampton.   Debby and Jane have had the exceptional privilege of spending many of their weekends cycling with friends in the Timbavati and other reserves getting close and personal with Africa’s iconic wildlife and it was after a weekend of exceptional experiences that they decided this is something they need to find a way to share with the rest of the world, and so the idea of Ride Wild was born……

In addition to this dynamic duo, there is a team of highly qualified cycling trail guides that are even more excited about sharing their two major passions with you.  Each of them is highly qualified as a lead trails guide or a back-up guide.  They will be responsible for taking you out on your daily cycles and bringing you as close as possible to the amazing world of wildlife.

Supporting these wild cyclists, are a team of highly dedicated camp and field staff at each of the camps that Ride Wild is teaming up with and they in turn spend their days ensuring the comfort and safety of all their guests.  All in all, This brings you a team beyond measure.

Debby Thomson Jane Frampton

Jane is the “creative cookie”in the pack.  

Also haling originally from the “big smoke”of Johannesburg, she made her way down to Hoedspruit in more recent years, and she too is now a converted and committed Lowveld Resident.   Jane comes from a very artistic background opening one of the first Art Galleries to hit the sleepy town of Hoedspruit and now running a very successful framing business (Frampton Frames) as the preferred framers for some of the best Wildlife Artists in the region.   

Attention to detail is crucial in this business and she continues to bring this through to all we have to offer you with the Ride Wild adventures.

Her creative genius and artistic flair bring a very special edge to the Ride Wild package.  Together Debby and Jane make a fantastic team.

Growing up with a “twitching” (bird loving) father, Jane has spent the majority of her childhood and her adult holidays in one game reserve or another and as such as developed a deep and personal love of all things wild.  It was inevitable that she would end up choosing to make a life immersed in it on a day to day basis.

Much to Debby’s chagrin, Jane is also a whiz on uphills on her bike and can tackle any hill like a little mountain goat!

Debby Thomson has been living in the Hoedspruit Region since 1991 - having moved here from Johannesburg shortly after finishing school and completing a year and a ½ of world wide travels,  for what she thought would be a 6 month holiday job.  After 6 months came and went, Debby seemed to remain and  still finds herself in the same area, in love with all that it has to offer and is quite well established as a permanent lowveld resident.  Coming from a conservation background (she obtained her National Diploma in Nature Conservation whilst  working in the bush), she has lived in most of the major reserves in the region including Manyaleti, Timbavati and Klaserie Private Nature Reserves and in more recent years, Debby  now lives on the edge of the Blyde River Canyon in a little rural hamlet called Kampersrus.   

Over the years, Debby has used her vast knowledge of the area and the environment we live in towards a number of different conservation objectives.  As part of the initiating, and then driving team, behind the registration of the greater region as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, she has contributed towards an holistic and balanced outlook on conservation over the greater region.  The K2C (Kruger to Canyons) Biosphere Region was successfully registered with UNESCO in 2001 and  was recently listed as the 11th most successful Biosphere in the world (there are over 600 Biosphere Reserves/ Regions registered with UNESCO)

In later years Debby has worked with BBC and other international Production Companies to produce a variety of Wildlife, Travel and Science Documentaries and in more recent months is working with a Canadian based production company to produce a fictional TV Series (think CSI Hoedspruit)  based on poaching and anti-poaching and the life facing one living in the bush today.

Debby is also the master-mind behind the now highly successful Rotary K2C Cycle Tour that looks at taking 100 cyclists 100km through Big 5 reserves from the edge of the Kruger Park into the Blyde River Canyon.  All funds raised go towards Anti-poaching activities in each of the reserves traversed as well as towards social development projects implemented by the Hoedspruit Rotary Club.

The success of each of these developments over the years is indicative of the organisational skills that Debby brings with to this partnership and that you can be assured of her utmost commitment and passion towards the development of Ride Wild as a leading activity on the Southern African Tourism circuit.

Meet our guides - those super duper people that will be taking you through the bush on your Ride Wild Adventure (This is the first few- we have more to come :) ) Joris Bertens Stefan Horn Ashraf Sayed

If we can get Joris off his bike for long enough, we will share with you some of that personal and “little-known” info on him as soon as we can …

In the meantime, just know that Joris is a keen cyclist and bush lover.  Having haled from that little Orange country - the Netherlands, Joris has spent most of his adult life falling in love (again and again) with the African Bush

Another ex “city-slicker”, born in Potchefstroom and living in Johannesburg South, Ash was fortunate enough to have parents that took their kids to the Kruger on any occasion they could and needless to say, as most people do, Ash fell in love with “all that is Wild”   

Growing up he always knew he would end up in conservation one way or another and aspired to “Greats”, the likes of Mike English and Trevor Dearlove, and it would not long before he too found himself standing in the Kruger National Park , proudly dressed in his green SANParks eppauletted uniform, with rifle in hand and about to lead his first eight guests into the bush.   It was a dream come true for him.

Having spent many years doing what he loves, ask him what he still feels passionate about in the bush and he will tell you:

“I love the feeling of being surrounded by pure wilderness. No man, no machines. Just you and solitude; where the mind can wander; where the soul has can be soothed; where you can bring yourself towards yourself; where you can share this with people who come as strangers but leave spiritually uplifted; where you can change peoples lives. That is my passion.”

In line with this passion, he considers his greatest achievement to be his solo trip into Africa – just him and his landy for 100 days…. Just him and his solitude!

As a committed father his # 1 passtime is still to spend time with his gorgeous family.  He will waste no time to tell you “The twins fulfil my life like nothing else ever. They are my Bushkids you see. So even when I’m reading my field guides or catching butterflies, they are ever present to share in the learning and make life so worth living. #bushkid1 #bushkid2 VIVA!”

Ask him what his life’s ambition or what “rocks his boat” is and again his family takes prime spot as he gushes:

To live long enough to teach my kids the importance of helping those less fortunate. To conserve and respect nature. And that must be their life mission. For this means the world to me.

Changing people’s lives goes beyond rocking my boat. It’s my calling he will add.

Cycling with Ash he will introduce you to his life’s quote – IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING!

Stefan is born and bred only a stones throw away from the Kruger National Park in the mining town of Phalaborwa.      Coming from a family of bush lovers, he has spent the majority of his life in the bush either in Kruger or any other location around Southern Africa.    At the age of 39, Stefan joined the SANParks HR Corps and thereafter completed his training to become a full trails guide.

“The unpredictability of Nature!!!”  That is what Stefan will reply to you if you ask him what he loves most about the bush, this and the fact that is really pulls at all your senses and makes you totally aware of everything that surrounds you.   Stefan is taking every opportunity to pass on this love and respect of the bush to his young daughter who he is bringing up as a single father and who, he claims, successfully keeps him out of trouble and for whom it is his biggest passion to be a great father to her.

In his time off, apart from finding Stefan on his bike somewhere in amongst the mopane trees or acacia bushes, you might also find him, competing in adventure sports, bird watching or travelling and exploring new places.

His motto for life ….. Whatever you do for today, make sure you enjoy yourself!

Ryan Thomson

Born in the big smoke of Johannesburg, Ryan’s parents moved out to Hoedspruit when he was all of the tender age of 6 years old and spent the rest of his childhood playing in amongst the acacia bushes and waterholes.   Having obtained a degree in Business Management and Marketing, he thought it a great idea to head back to Johannesburg and try his hand at the whole corporate world thing, but realized very quickly, that there was only one place he belonged….. in the bush!

If you ask him what his best experience riding in the bush is and he will tell you that it involved a series of big feet and trunks – only meters away.   Cycling with a group through the bush, they came around a corner and found themselves face to face with a breeding herd of ellies.  A very lengthy wait ensued as neither party wanted to give way to the other and eventually Ryan and his guiding partner managed to squeeze the group with the ellies only meters away and with Matriarch Mom keeping a very close eye on the cycling squeezers.

Ask Ryan what really rocks his boat and his answer is simple – anything to do with Wildlife – although the term wildlife photography is thrown around with a little more keenness than anything else, however, as long as he is doing anything active in amongst wildlife, you will find the man smiling.    Looking longinly at the bush around him, he quotes from an unknown source ….   "Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money."