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About Timeless Africa safaris

At Timeless Africa Safaris our greatest passion is curating experiences that create lifelong memories of the beautiful African continent. Africa offers the space and privacy that allow people the opportunity to unwind and clear their minds – from its towering dunes, dramatic mountain ranges, pristine beaches, thick jungles, to its vast tracks of open plains. You can also find your perfect African holiday in any of its refined and bustling cities, like Cape Town.

Our history

Our founder and CEO, Marco van Embden’s lifelong love affair with Africa was set aflame on his first visit to the Kruger National Park over 30 years ago.

With a penchant for organising, he soon found himself helping to arrange safaris for friends and even friends of friends. An active YPO member, Marco was inspired by the only-in-YPO approach, sourcing the most incredible destinations, planning the most extraordinary experiences and completing them with special details and thoughtful touches that made each safari unique.

Now, with more than 25 years’ experience in travel and YPO\WPO event creation, visiting over 50 of Southern Africa’s most exclusive game lodges, and personally experiencing safaris on over 120 occasions; he has an unsurpassed first-hand knowledge of Sub-Saharan Africa and everything the discerning traveller desires.

In 2002, Marco turned his hobby into Timeless Africa Safaris. Since then, the company has grown, attracting a wonderful team of equally passionate souls who share Marco’s commitment to looking after guests, giving them a once-in-a-lifetime journey, and sending them home richer in spirit and memories.

Timeless Timeline

Championing Africa since 1976


Marco's wife Gwen introduces him to safaris at Kruger National Park.

An up-close encounter with a female lion, yellow eyes blazing, powerful muscles rippling, was the wildlife encounter that sparked Marco’s lifelong love of Africa. A born-and-bred South African living in Cape Town, this experience transforms Marco into an avid safari lover, leading to his habit of regularly introducing friends and family to his new favourite pastime.

Championing Africa since 1976


The birth of Marco's first child.

Once Marco became a father, he starts to explore the idea of what it truly means to leave a legacy to his children and future generations.

Championing Africa since 1976


Marco and Gwen organise the YPO Cape Town University.

A sensational event for YPOers from all over the world, the event leads to people asking Marco for help with their travels to Africa. What begins as an act of love for his friends soon turns into a full-time job. Marco’s YPO forum suggests that he employ someone to help him manage.

Championing Africa since 1976


The birth of Timeless Africa Safaris.

Marco and his first employee, Yuesrey, work together to formulate the tone of Timeless Africa Safaris, which focuses on putting the guest first and going beyond expectations to create incredible memories. The company begins to include donations from the proceeds of each guest’s trip to worthy African conservation and community upliftment programmes.

Championing Africa since 1976


Marco develops personal relationships with lodge owners.

With a deep respect for the industry, Marco begins to establish wonderful friendships with several lodge owners including Londolozi, Singita, the Varty family, Luke Bailes and Nicky Fitzgerald and family. Well known for his larger-than-life personality and natural charisma, Marco develops his signature approach to business and relationships, “What you put in is what you get out.”

Championing Africa since 1976


The rise of Africa Ambassadors.

Guests continue to refer their friends and family to Timeless Africa Safaris to experience the magnificence of the African continent. Marco develops the in-house concept of “Africa Ambassadors” to define individuals who support Africa in their own nations by sharing their positive African travel stories. Africa Ambassadors also encourage their networks to travel to Africa, thereby contributing to its conservation and the upliftment of its communities.

Championing Africa since 1976


Casey van Embden returns from India to join the family business.

Marco’s daughter, Casey, returns home from her travels and joins Marco at the helm of the family business. With so much exposure to the continent through her father, Casey is a natural addition to the company as she already espouses Marco’s value for intergenerational African travel.

Championing Africa since 1976


Marco’s leads his first expedition to Rwanda.

Rwanda is emerging onto the world stage as a desirable tourist destination. Marco is at the forefront of a move to encourage international tourists to experience this beautiful region for themselves.

Championing Africa since 1976


Marco invited to showcase Timeless Africa Safaris at the YPO Global Leadership Conference.

A Hickock award winner, Marco is personally invited to all the events, bringing some of his team along to showcase Timeless Africa Safaris to the marketplace. The invitations continue until COVID-19 interrupts gatherings and world travel.

Championing Africa since 1976


Marco’s first grand daughter is born.

Marco’s first grandchild, Leah is thrust into safari vehicles as an infant and soon inducted as a child safari expert. She becomes Timeless Africa Safari’s top model, appearing in the company’s marketing materials since birth. The concept of a multi generational legacy realised through the next van Embden generation solidifies Marco’s resolve to mould his granddaughter into a nurturing, Earth-loving human being through regular safari experiences and exposure to philanthropic work on the continent.

Championing Africa since 1976


Marco celebrates his 60th birthday at Londolozi.

Marco strategically invites his close friends from all over the world to join him at Londolozi in South Africa to celebrate his milestone birthday, in an attempt to make them fall in love with Africa and get involved in conservation efforts.

Championing Africa since 1976


Timeless Africa Safaris expands its product offerings.

A natural networker, Marco is presented with a variety of opportunities that lead to an expansion of the business, including destination weddings and exclusive tours for patrons of global art museums including the Guggenheim, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou and The Israel Museum.

Championing Africa since 1976


Team grows to more than ten people.

The Timeless Africa Safaris team expands to include a wonderful group of people who all carry the signature guest-first DNA and have a deeply rooted passion for Africa.

Championing Africa since 1976


Timeless Africa Safaris selected as the preferred travel partner for YPO conferences in Cape Town.

Timeless Africa Safaris becomes the preferred pre- and post-conference travel specialist for YPO members attending the GLC and Edge international conferences in Cape Town. During the same year, Marco helps to establish the Rhino Bill of Rights and assists in funding the building of two classrooms at the Boithatelo Crèche in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Championing Africa since 1976


Timeless Africa Safaris retains its full staff complement during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic hits the world. Timeless Africa Safaris moves to retain its full team of 14 people, without losing its boutique-style, family-business DNA. The team works together to tide the business over during the hard lockdown periods, ensuring they are poised to support guests when they are ready to resume travel to Africa again.

Championing Africa since 1976


Marco firmly entrenches his love for Africa and safaris into his three grandchildren.

Marco always takes his three grandchildren along on safaris, building a deep love for Africa into their hearts. They are so mesmerised by the beauty of the continent they even call themselves birders. Timeless Africa Safaris regularly features their photographs in marketing materials, as required.

When you travel to Africa with Timeless Africa Safaris you leave a lasting legacy. We encourage each guest who travels with us to become an Africa Ambassador, sharing their love for the continent with their networks to help increase the amount of protected land, strengthen anti-poaching measures and support the local communities who serve Africa, while enjoying its majestic beauty.

The meaning behind the brand

‘Timeless’ describes something that is not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion. We have dedicated ourselves to curating Timeless experiences of Africa that will become Timeless memories to be cherished forever.

The African elephant is a significant part of the Timeless Africa Safaris logo for good reason. Steeped in myth and majesty, elephants are evocative and highly sentient journey animals. The elephant has also long been a part of the van Embden family and was on Marco’s father’s company logo. Elephants, too, are family orientated, which resonates with how we treat our Timeless team and guests – like family.

We all know the old adage about how an elephant never forgets. For us it is a symbol of conscious and elegant travel, a commitment to longevity and a salute to our essence of creating Timeless memories.

Our Purpose and Values

Legacy has become a pivotal value for us.

At Timeless Africa Safaris, we believe our legacy is the preservation and conservation of Africa and the changed lives a curated visit leaves in its wake.

We spend time, energy and resources inspiring all generations to visit Africa so that they fall in love with the people and the destination and prioritise its conservation. Tourism is simply our tool.

Even our slogan ‘turning dreams into memories’ touches on legacy. Every visit deposits something in our guests’ hearts, minds and souls, enriching them and bringing them joy – long after they have left our magnificent continent.

Our passionate Timeless travel managers are not just travel managers. They are ‘Africa Ambassadors’ of the highest order, as every trip to Africa directly contributes to this magnificent continent’s conservation and sustainability.

We remind ourselves daily that our work directly benefits Africa’s wildlife and her special people, and that we – and our guests – are forever changed through encountering her raw and rugged beauty.

Why Book With Us

One of our highly experienced and well-travelled team will consult with you personally to arrange the ideal itinerary for your journey into Africa. From initial flight arrangements, private charters, transfers and tours to a host of novel activities such as walking bush tours, private bush dinners, wine tastings, hot air balloon rides and much more. In addition, our long-standing relationships with all of our trusted suppliers ensure excellent value as well as the highest level of service for all our guests. A level of service you will undoubtedly become accustomed to from our expert consultants, who will be ready to assist you from your initial enquiry right through to your flight home.

Meet the team

Every trip to Africa is a contribution towards its conservation. Our team is gripped by their desire to preserve this glorious continent and see lives changed through every visit. As ardent Africa Ambassadors ourselves, we believe becoming an Africa Ambassador is simple. It’s as easy as sharing your love for Africa with others and encouraging people to experience its beauty first-hand.

Our partners

We only book our guests with lodges that care about our guests needs and Africa’s conservation as much as we do.

Conservation and community

Tourism is a big part of championing the African continent and contributing to its conservation. When done right, tourism can provide much-needed jobs and income, while also helping to protect Africa’s wildlife and natural resources. Visiting this continent and its incredible game parks, cities, and people is one of the most impactful ways to love on, and invest in, Africa!

our Ambassadors Initiative

Timeless Africa Safaris is a family business that has grown largely through referrals from past guests. Our CEO and founder, Marco van Embden, wanted to find a meaningful way to thank people who had referred friends or family to travel with us, recognising the immediate positive impact each guest’s visit to the continent had on African conservation efforts. Instead of a thank you card, the Timeless team decided to donate funds towards significant projects in the name of our Africa Ambassadors.