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Anyone For A Safari (Posted On: Tuesday, August 24, 2010)

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Gary Clegg is not your typical traveling companion. Just ask any of the brave adventurers who have joined him on one of his expeditions in some of the most interesting nooks and crannies in Africa.

Towards the end of August, Gary is bringing a group of 38 people on a monumental motorcycle journey traversing 10,500 kilometres, 80% of which consists of gravel and sand off-roading terrain.

The 22 bikes are quite conveniently being shipped over ahead of time. The expedition, a far cry from Gary’s usual smaller group size of 6 to 8 participants, will include 3 deserts spanning South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. And this time around, professional filmmakers will be coming along for the joyride to shoot what should translate into a very compelling documentary. But for those who are too curious to wait to see the finished product, the entire trip will be blogged as it happens on the Shumba Tracks website.  Updated daily with Gary’s humourous comments and photos, family and friends will be able to follow along and live vicariously through the participants. To cite one fine example of the unpredictable but entertaining nature of these expeditions, Gary recalls a stop at an ostrich farm on the last trip where one inquiring-minded lady decided to fulfill her nagging ambition to sit on one of these flightless creatures. From what we understand, both lady and ostrich were unscathed in the encounter.

Gary and family moved to Collingwood from Zimbabwe in the early 2000’s as a result of political upheaval in their home country. Seeking a quiet family-oriented area to raise children, Canada’s reputation as one of (if not the) world’s safest haven to engage in such an undertaking beckoned. In 2004, the Cleggs opened a retail store in their new hometown and called it Zebra Crossing, primarily selling imported and exported African artwork including jewelry and stone sculptures. Given their background and natural affinity for life in the wild, it was an obvious transition when their business expanded to include running safaris all over southern, central and eastern Africa. Not only did this enable the Cleggs to remain close to their faraway roots, it also provided an opportunity for them to bring awareness to this part of the world as to what’s happening in Africa. The fact that Gary and his wife Karen are both involved in charities is part and parcel to this. For example, Karen currently supports an orphanage in Zimbabwe from which she has many tales to tell.

In an effort to spend more time with their children, the Cleggs eventually closed their retail store and moved to Meaford. All the while, the safaris were just too much fun to abandon, so they continued offering their rare expertise to the public in custom-designing any kind of safari imaginable from walking and horseback riding to motorcycling and canoeing. Now known as Shumba Tracks, Gary plans expeditions, luxury tours and everything in between. On average, there are between 15 and 20 tours a year and 1 expedition. For those who aren’t aware, ‘shumba’ is an African word for ‘lion’ derived from the Shona African tribe. It only makes sense that if you’re heading off on a wild safari, you may as well follow the king of the jungle’s ‘tracks’!

Learn more about the African safari adventures of Gary and family at their website or call 519-538-1107.       

Submitted to by: Jamie Pettit


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