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Michael Wright

Owner & Principal Tour Leader


Michael is a passionate naturalist, conservationist and explorer who loves birding, rare mammals, walking trails and photography. He is a registered professional in natural science, nature tour guiding and ecotourism consulting with 23 years’ of industry experience. He has travelled extensively through Southern and East Africa, Mauritius and North America, and further to his great passion for birds; also enjoys animal behaviour, flyfishing, butterflies, herping, trees and wilderness.

Michael currently holds a Southern African bird lifelist of 72species, a Southern African mammal lifelist of 124 species, a South African butterfly lifelist of 104 species, and a South African frog lifelist of 35 species.

​In addition to owning and managing Sustain Wildlife and Birding Safaris, Michael also owns and manages the Sustain Ecotourism and Environmental consulting business.

​Although Michael has developed valuable knowledge and experience in the field over many years, he loves taking every opportunity to immerse himself in nature, to continue to learn from it, to teach others about its extraordinary beauty and value, to learn from those who conserve it, and to share nature-based and adventure experiences with people from all over the world.

His work life has largely been entrepreneurial in nature: relating to the nature guiding, environmental consulting, ecotourism consulting, safari lodge development, operating and marketing fields. When combined with his tertiary education, he has developed significant experience in these disciplines.


Michael has worked in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Eswatini (Swaziland), Mozambique, Lesotho, and the United States of America, and has visited Mauritius and Mexico several times on holiday. During his Southern and East African adventures he has explored 119 National Parks, Game Reserves and Nature Reserves, and to date has stayed in 157 safari lodges, bush camps, resorts, hotels and campsites, while having visited many more.​​

Through the years some of the professional projects Michael has focused on include:

  • Tourism master planning of Tembe Elephant Park, Ndumo Game Reserve and Usuthu Gorge as part of a larger Transfrontier Conservation Area;

  • Developing (with partners) the 60 bed luxury Shepherd’s Tree Game Lodge in Pilanesberg National Park, North West Province, South Africa. The lodge opened in 2010;

  • Development planning of the 240 bed luxury Radisson Blu Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa;

  • Advising the acquisition of the 32 bed Royal Thonga Safari Lodge in Tembe Elephant Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa;

  • The ecotourism financial feasibility modelling of the 10,600ha Kameelhoek Private Game Reserve near Kimberley, Northern Cape;

  • Infrastructural assessments of most of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife's tourist infrastructure;

  • Viability assessments of tourist accommodation for the National Department of Tourism;

  • Facilitating a tourism concessions workshop for Boundless Southern Africa to all SADC stakeholders;

  • Business planning for numerous lodges, game reserves and hotels.

When combined with his dedication and enthusiasm for nature and outdoor adventure, these experiences should ensure that he hosts and guides you with professionalism, skill and care.


Michael has been married for 17 years to his wonderful lady, Natalie, and together they have 2 amazing children, a courageous son aged 15 years and a delightful daughter aged 11 years.

Click on this link to peruse Michael’s CV.

Natalie Wright image

Natalie Wright

Office and Finance Manager


Natalie is an financial and administrative whizz who loves taking care of her family, staying healthy, the outdoors and reading.

Natalie is our office manager and the administrative and financial heart of the company, ensuring its efficient functioning, and keeping all the good checks and balances in place.

Natalie has worked in South Africa and Mozambique, and holds diplomas in Bookkeeping and Nature Conservation, and certificates in financial accounting and payroll.


Natalie also manages Sustain's sister company, a nature tour operating business called Sustain Wildlife and Birding Safaris.

Key Characteristics and Experience

  • Key skills include financial management, administration, organisation.

  • Countries worked in: South Africa, Mozambique.


Professional Qualifications

  • Diploma in Bookkeeping (2003);

  • National Diploma in Nature Conservation - Incomplete (2000).


Additional Qualifications, Certificates and Training

  • Financial Accounts I (Advanced Bookkeeping) (2005);

  • Pastel Partner, Advanced, Payroll (2004).

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