The Explorers Squadron

Jo Sinfield and Tom Priday

Jo has been in Franschhoek since 2002 and was raised a few kilometres away over the mountains. The years in between were spent in the UK, Australia, France, Croatia and New York fuelling his desires for adventure, finishing off with a solo sailing trip down the Irrawaddy River, in Burma, and on through the Andaman Sea. Africa has become his base and when there is a reasonable gap he takes off in his trusty ‘Dogcatcher’ to escape to some of the remote parts of the bush, along the path less travelled.

Tom is based in London, with Rachel, Hal and Eleanor, but exploration remains at the heart of his psyche. Whether it be Heli-skiing off a boat in British Columbia, trekking the Simien Massif or paddling like hell to get out of the way of hippos on the Zambezi, he relishes the chance to get away from the city. Tom has some African ancestry and Franschhoek, and latterly Prince Albert, draws him back regularly to the continent.

Tom joined up with Jo on board a 1931 Herreshoff ketch to explore the nooks and crannies of the Croatian coast, in the late 1990’s, led astray by the skipper, a roguish Croat concientious objector sea-dog called Pila. The years passed by and Jo moved down to Franschhoek, settling in arguably the most scenically beautiful wine valley in the world. It was over copious bottles of wine that they eventually started their first project together resulting in the collection of properties under the ‘Explorers Club’ umbrella., an award-winning website dedicated to helping discerning independent travellers find and book exciting and unusual places to stay in some of the world's most beautiful and fascinating locations, have voted the collection into The Boutique Hoteliers Hall of Fame.

And lastly there is Dooley, an androgynous teenage African Grey, who dances to Mozart, shreds anything within beak-range and carries on collecting a bizarre array of sounds and whistles to entertain visitors.

Julia, Archibald, Penny & Heini, Julie, Adrian and Dooley...

Julia, Jo’s mum, steps in to caretake when Jo is off exploring, supported by the woolly Archie. Originally an art teacher/designer, she started designing flowery lingerie in the 1970’s in Cape Town before running a number of Liberty of London branches across the United Kingdom. She has settled back into Franschhoek, after a few years of running Cactus Blue in Prince Albert.

Julie is the source of constant help in Franschhoek and the Rastafarian Adrian tends the gardens. Up in Prince Albert Penny and Heini run the Cactus Blue show.

Welcome to our menagerie…