Active Escapes is a small business that has been fine-tuning naturally good getaways since 2007. We offer a wide range of excellent hiking, slackpacking, cycling, trail running and adventure based holidays, all fully customisable to your interests and energy levels. Whether it's a fast-paced mountain biking holiday, or a break with a cooler of beers and a fly rod, we have a place in mind or a tour to suite.
Our offices are in Hilton, and we're a stones throw from some of South Africa's best mountain biking, an hour from the hiking trails of the Drakensberg, and 90km from the warm water surf of the Indian Ocean. No surprises that we love where we live.
Active Escapes is made up of a few permanent staff, and we rely on a few hand-picked freelance guides for certain tours.
Sarah is the founding member of Active Escapes. She completed her Masters in Geography, case studying different models of community based tourism along the Pondoland Wild Coast and then worked as a tourism researcher for Haley Sharpe SA.
This was followed by some UK stints in events management on various EU initiatives. A fervent traveller, she spent many happy months backpacking around SE Asia and South America with her eccentric sister. These travels provided first-hand experience with many eco and adventure-based tourism operators and inspired thinking on the untapped potential that existed back home. It was cruising down the Beni River in central Bolivia that she decided it was time to trade in her blackberry for bicycles, and start her own active holiday operation.
While Sarah is happiest on two-wheels, she is now Mum to two toddlers, Sophie and James, who aren't quite ready for the single-track yet - although they're well on their way.
Matthew is Sarah's husband, and they met while Sarah was scouting accommodation options for a Midlands MTB Tour in 2007. Matthew has a background in business management and strategy development, however he is a passionate birder and mountain biker which often directs his work. Together with Sarah, Matthew offers strategic direction of Active Escapes, while focussing on the growth of MTB offerings. With his knowledge of the Midlands highways and byways, Matt assists with guided MTB tours and is a regte braai master- always much appreciated by our all-male MTB groups.
Kath is an outdoor enthusiast who was fortunate enough to grow up in the beautiful KZN Midlands. Kath has travelled all around the world in pursuit of fun and adventure, and has a Masters in Environmental Education. She has worked in market research, freelance journalism and environmental education. Kath works with Matthew on a day-to-day basis, and assists Active Escapes with social media and the growth of MTB tours.
Kath ride competitively in the Enduro and Downhill scene, but loves to take long winding rides with clients in the beautiful KZN Midlands.
Originally from Johannesburg, Lore Nel has lived in the KZN Midlands for the last eight years. Before working in adventure tourism, Lore worked respectively in the music, publishing and medical emergency services industries. Lore is well travelled, having explored Europe and America thoroughly. She worked on a Greek island for two years, and then in Israel for three years. At Active Escapes Lore is the go-to-girl for specialised hikes, the Drakensberg Amphitheatre Slackpacking Trail, rafting trips and much more.
Carlos hails from Barcelona, and moved to South Africa in 2005. He is an extremely adventurous person, who met his South African wife in 2003 on a 33 000km cycle trip from South America to Alaska. Once you meet Carlos, you realise this a standard kind of undertaking. Carlos runs his own private guiding company, and is a beast in the mountains whether he's donning a heavy pack and hiking boots or cruising on his hard-tail 29er. For particularly fit clients who want long distance, fast rides - we call in our big guns - and Carlos is our biggest gun!