Travel Stories

Ben Simpson, Pilot

Ben Simpson, Pilot

Robert Redford flies again... Ladies of a certain age still swoon at the memory of Robert Redford playing Denys Finch Hatton in Out of Africa. Those same ladies, and a younger generation too, might like to know that there is a pilot currently playing his trade in East Africa who bears an uncanny resemblance to Redford.


Reaches the parts other pilots can't

Even better, Ben Simpson (for it is he who looks just like big blonde Bob) runs the slickest helicopter safari company in Africa, specialising in trips to those hard to reach parts of the Great Rift Valley, from Kenya's Lake Turkana to the Danakil Depression in northern Ethiopia.


Hooked on helis

Born in Hong Kong, Simpson trained as a fixed wing pilot in Florida before moving to Africa and flying for the World Food Programme in Sudan and Somalia. Then he got the heli-bug and hasn't looked back since going into business with the Roberts family - a famous Kenyan family who run many of the best camps in the country.


'I had a heli in Africa...'

Now Simpson's super-high end bespoke heli-safaris offer clients - at a price - the chance to explore landscapes, cultures and wildlife far from the beaten East African track. A bit like old Denys and Karen Blixen did back in the day. Altogether now, 'I had a farm in Africa....'