This month, Michelle Barker from Jayes Travel sat down with Lisa Pagotto – the founder of boutique tour company Crooked Compass. You are constantly inspiring the team at Jayes Travel with your passion for and knowledge of “off the beaten track” destinations and jaw-dropping experiences. What does your company specialise in? At Crooked Compass, we uncover the world's best-kept secrets through small-group touring and customised itineraries. I created this boutique tour company to inspire, educate and encourage travellers to understand responsible tourism by providing culturally immersive experiences that support local communities and to see the destination through the eyes of a local, uncovering a side they didn't know existed.
What can we expect when we travel with Crooked Compass? Travelling with us unfolds a new world and the chance to delve deeper into cultures and local lifestyles in destinations that are still very much off the radar. You can expect to be the first to engage with diminishing tribes, educating other cultures with your western world knowledge while also learning from those who live a primitive and untouched lifestyle. Our style of travel is all about cultural exchange - fuelling the curiosities and intrigue between different worlds that leave you moved and humbled.
We know you operate across five continents, but we would have to say our favourite experiences are your signature African Tours. What types of ‘live like a local’ travel experiences do you offer those taking the 10-night Remarkable Rwanda journey – which is a girls-only trip of a lifetime? Our travellers have such a range of activities they can experience. They could cook with Rwandan villagers, search for berries with the Ju’hoan tribe, bond with a baby baboon or go wildlife telemetry tracking!
On the Remarkable Rwanda Tour, you can experience unique wildlife and learn about the remarkable story in our inspiring and memorable tour. Driven by strong female leadership, Rwanda has evolved from ruin to being one of the most progressive countries in East Africa with the greatest female representation in national parliament in the world.
Our groups can immerse themselves in the daily lives of Rwandans – try their hand at sisal basket weaving or shop for ingredients at colourful markets before learning to cook in a local’s home. They also visit the Faith Foundation and are both challenged and inspired by the Gisozi and Ntarama Genocide memorial sites.
The group visits rare and magnificent mountain gorillas, including a behind-the-scenes interaction with Dian Fossey's Gorilla Doctors. They embark on a boat safari of Lake Ihema followed by a game drive for the chance to see wildlife like giraffes, water buffalo, waterbuck, baboons and zebras.
We hear that your 11-night Raw Namibia journeys have proven to be life-altering experiences for travellers – how so? The Raw Namibia Tour is really the ultimate conservation experience and is best suited to those who are captivated by Africa’s most majestic creatures or fascinated by nomadic cultures. Wildlife lovers can contribute to the preservation efforts for cheetahs and leopards while being educated and enlightened on their place in the ecosystem.
Some of the countries you take groups into might not be on the top of travel bucket-lists, sometimes due to bad-press or just a lack of knowledge. How do you address that with your tours? One of our challenges and the reason why we exist is to break down stigmas of destinations that are portrayed negatively and provide an accurate understanding of the world around us through the eyes of a local. Our Iran, Papua New Guinea and Palestinian Territory itineraries are right at the top of our most popular tours. We think we are making a positive change, helping people to understand a destination which is often misconceived, and continuing to build relationships with those who want to share their story, culture and lifestyle.
At Jayes Travel we are happy to partner with Crooked Compass to share these
amazing destinations with our clients, giving them the opportunity to travel through
countries they’ve only dreamed of. Let Jayes Travel introduce you to the world of
Crooked Compass – book by January 31 and receive a 5% discount off any tour!