Born and raised in South Africa, Terry decided to come and visit the USA to learn more about where his mom was born and where his father had studied. As a teacher, he spent 4 years taking positions all over the country. During the summers he spent his time working at a summer camp outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. After 4 great years however, it was time for Terry to head back to his motherland, but a chance meeting of a fine young lady pleasantly interrupted this decision.
Wanting the best of both (Africa and Holly) – it seemed a natural decision for him to start a travel company specializing in Africa. Shortly after a wedding and honeymoon in South Africa in 2001, Destination Southern Africa (DSA) was born in Tucson, AZ – Holly’s hometown.
Almost 15 years later Terry continues to convince everyone around him that South Africa is the best vacation spot on the planet. His wife and 3 young kids have had the great pleasure of joining their dad on numerous African expeditions. When not travelling to Africa, or some other great international destination – road trips across the USA that include awesome camping and hiking are how he spends his time relaxing. Having graduated from Stellenbosch University in South Africa – the heart of the wine lands – it is no surprise that great red wine accompanies any opportunity Terry has to braai (grill) or make a campfire. Passionate about places and people – Terry enjoys planning trips to Africa that meet and exceed one’s expectations.
Chief Financial Officer
Grant Yoko is a South African with extensive experience in financial management after having run his own successful businesses in Africa for the last 22 years, ranging from Global Exports to Construction and Mining, as well as a five-year stint as a restaurant part owner.
Leisure time was occupied with his interests in Off Road racing that took him to various continents and countries as support crew in the worlds most prestigious racing events like The Paris to Dakar, The Australian Safari rally, Corsica and Baja Aragon and The Baja Mexico 500 and 1000 milers. This as well as extensive leisure travel has Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Libya, Chad, Dubai, The United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Monaco, Portugal, Italy, Corsica, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, The United States and other exotic destinations. Grant has recently immigrated to the USA to take up his position at Destination Southern Africa Inc. as its CFO.
Holly von Guilleaume
Holly was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She was a Rotary exchange student in Finland for a year and did a study abroad in Bali, Indonesia during her undergraduate years. These experiences encouraged a love of traveling in Holly and every chance she could she was off to explore another place including Europe, Mexico and Central America. Also from the age of 15 she also spent every summer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming attending and working at a summer camp. During these summers she became interested in education and completed a M.A. in Special Education in 1996 and spent 12 years in the classroom before joining Terry full time in the business as the CFO.
Holly fell in love with Africa during her first visit in 1999 to meet her, then boyfriend, Terry von Guilleaume’s family. During that trip Terry had to borrow money from his sister to take her on her first safari. When they were married in 2001, in South Africa, Terry planned their honeymoon safari and included all of their American guests. Now 15 years latter all three of their children have been to Africa and on numerous safaris. It has been obvious from the beginning of their relationship that both Terry and Holly love Africa and thrive on sharing it with others. Owning a travel company has been an adventure and allows Holly to work with a wonderfully diverse group of like-minded people. It has been wonderful to see her dreams of sharing her love of travel blossom into a thriving business.
Agency Sales Director
Cheryle is the team’s travel industry’ “veteran” with over 33 years in the travel industry.
Originally from Virginia, she grew up in Tallahassee, FL where she was a travel agent and travel agency owner. She ended up in New York where she was national Director of Sales for a major tour operator. Having traveled the world, her first trip to South Africa was in 2002 and became “hooked” on the destination. Returning home she changed direction in her career by representing hotels, game lodges, ground operators and car rental company in both in East and Southern Africa for the next few years.
Cheryle joined the company in October 2010 and holds the position, Director of Agency Sales & Industry Relations for South African Airways Vacations. Her unique background allows her to provide expert assistance in assisting travel agents create that perfect dream vacation for their clients.
Rori Lubeck is Arizona born and raised and still finds the sunny state a great place to live. After 5 years in Boise Idaho her and her husband Devin moved back to Arizona when Devin was stationed in beautiful Tucson.
Her journey into travel really began after spending an extended summer in England with side trips to France, Germany and Belgium where she fell in love with experiencing different cultures. Her favorite travel memory was dancing with Devin by the Eifel Tower under a blue moon in Paris.
She is an outdoor enthusiast with a love of activities including hiking, boating and camping but her passion in life is skiing.
Tamah is a Tucson Native, who has been in the Travel and Tourism Industry since 1995. Starting with American Airlines, then a brief stop over in the financial industry and then back, with her 10+ year career at Madden Media; where she wore several different hats including Sales, Marketing and Business Development.
Her love of travel started young, when her parents would take her and her sister yearly, to Mexico and California with friends and family. She has been fortunate enough to continue this tradition with her husband and 3 children.
Her favorite travel quote is-“Travel- It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a Storyteller.” Appropriate, as her job here is to tell breathtaking stories to encourage people to go, fly, roam, travel, voyage, explore, journey, wander and discover!
Karym-Danae Lopez is an Arizona native, a sister to twin boys, and a daughter to first generation citizens. She has played tennis since she was 7 years old and enjoys hiking the natural wonders of Arizona on her weekends.
Having grown up in Phoenix, Arizona she fell in love with the city’s diversity and has since dreamt of traveling the world to mark off items on her extensive bucket list. Her top 4 items are to attend the U.S, Wimbledon, French, & Australian Opens.
Currently, she is the administrative assistant here at DSAV & SAAV and is studying marketing in hopes of moving her way up the travel industry. Her peppy spirit and skills in customer service makes her a great new addition to our team.
Cathy is a travel advisor because she loves to experience the world and there’s nothing she enjoys more than sharing her experiences with clients as she builds unique travel itineraries for them. Some of her most cherished memories come from trips her and her husband have been on with both family and friends. She draws on her personal experiences to create customized itineraries, whether it’s crafting the perfect family vacation, romantic getaway, or active vacation adventure. She thoroughly enjoys gathering knowledge to ensure your next vacation is perfect. She loves to help people make their dreams come true.
Leigh Ann Simpson
Leigh Ann was born in San Francisco and grew up in Virginia Beach. She’s new to Tucson having just moved here in October 2018. She is looking forward to exploring this side of the country.
Her travel highlights include a trip to the UK where she visited Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey, Canterbury, Hampton Court, and many more. She took her first cruise through the Caribbean in 2017 and can’t wait to do it again. She has also been to the Philippines a handful of times.
Leigh Ann and her husband are huge football fans and if you meet her, you will quickly get to know just how much she loves her San Francisco 49ers.
Jerry joins us as a South Africa Specialist, and seasoned group travel professional and is excited about sharing his extensive experiences with our clients to bring them their custom tours of a lifetime.
He has traveled to Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, Monaco, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica, Virgin Islands, Grenadines, St. Martin, Windward & Leeward Islands, Mexico, Hong Kong, Macau, China, & Tahiti. He has also captained sailboats in the Pacific, Mediterranean, and the Caribbean.
Jerry has designed many custom tours and takes particular pride in assisting his clients in creating the very special memories associated with the unique and exciting experience of a safari, in addition to the many other special places to see and things to do in South Africa. He particularly remembers being stranded in Rome airport for 24 hours as tour leader of 120 travelers on a custom tour.
Unabashedly hooked on travel and an unrepentant foodie and oenophile, Jerry finds that Southern Africa offers like-minded individuals a cornucopia of possibilities, and he always looks forward to satisfy his client’s every travel whim
Airline Sales Manager
Jessica is originally from San Francisco, but has lived with her family, in Tucson for most of her life. She has always loved travel and chose a career doing this for over the past 20 years. Jessica worked at the airport for Southwest Airlines for 16 years, then wanted a change and took the job as Airline Manager at DSA Vacations. Their change in career paths has been great and Jessica has been able to expand her list of visited destinations including Africa and the UAE.
From Jessica’s love of travel, she has been fortunate enough to travel many places around the world – this is one thing that she loves to share with her clients and assist them with planning their dream vacations. She helps them coordinate their flight schedules to coincide with their land arrangements. She enjoys sharing her own travel experiences and love of South Africa with her clients which results in a wonderfully personalized vacation of your dreams.
Joanne Elam is Operations Manager for South African Airways Vacations (SAAV). Originally from New York City, Joanne found her love for travel while in high school when she took her first international trip to Italy. From that point on, Joanne made it a point to travel to different destinations whenever possible.
After many years working in the Human Resource field, Joanne decided to change careers and work in the travel industry. Having relocated from New York to San Diego, where she lived for 10 years, she moved to Tucson to work with Qantas Airways. During her 16 years at Qantas, Joanne travelled many times to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji as well as many other countries.
When Qantas Airways relocated their Tucson office to New Zealand, Joanne was fortunate to be able to stay in Tucson and work in the travel industry at DSA Vacations, the parent company of SAAV. Joanne worked as a sales consultant planning trips of a lifetime for many clients. Joanne then moved on to a Sales Manager position before transitioning to her current position of Operations Manager.
Joanne and her husband are avid sports fans who love to cook, read and, of course, travel.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Lacy resides in Arizona with her husband and two four-legged animals. She enjoys being with family and friends, fanning out to her favorite sports teams, and being outside in the beautiful Arizona sun.
Lacy is a lover of all kinds of travel. From relaxing on calming beaches, the hustle and bustle of the big cities, even the stunning gushing geysers, she is up for anything!
Lacy loves combining her passion of travel with her clients’ curiosity and sense of adventure to ensure they have the trip of a lifetime.
Maritza Valenzuela joined SAA Vacations in January 2012 as our Office Manager. Her role as office manager is to ensure all files are complete and in order prior to clients traveling. She assist our sales staff in offering administrative support and is always cheerful and happy to help answer any questions. This experience has given Maritza the foundation for her position as Africa Specialist ensuring that all clients are always served and happy.
Kristina hails from the Midwest. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she has also lived in various parts of the country including Vermont, Alabama and Arizona. A graduate of Scottsdale Culinary Institute, this former chef has also dabbled in commercial insurance and home health care management. Her personal passion and pursuit of travel, combined with years of customer service roles, have led her to embark on an exciting career in the travel industry.
Kristina has fond memories of family travel while growing up. Even though most of the trips were embarked upon in the family conversion van and highlighted by the much overused “Are we there yet?”, she recognizes that her love of travel stems from these early experiences. She truly believes in the adage “Travel is the ONLY thing you can buy that makes you richer”.
Kari is originally from Seattle, she met and married her Australian husband in 1992 and lived there for the past 27 years. She has now moved back to the states and settled in Arizona to be close to her mom and dad. Kari became a travel agent in 2000 and enjoys all aspects of the travel industry and has a passion for travel. She loves to help her clients plan that dream vacation. She prides herself in going above and beyond and exceeding client expectations. In 2008 and 2010 she was a finalist in the Australian Travel Weekly awards for “Best Regional Travel Consultant”. On both occasions she was number one finalist in Victoria, Australia.
Past destinations that she has been to include: Australia, Kenya, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, USA, Canada, London, Scotland & Norway. She has also enjoyed several cruises.
Mark is originally from Kansas, and moved to Arizona to get his master’s degree in fine art.
Mark worked for Canyon Ranch Spa Resort in Tucson as the director of their Outdoor program for 18 years, before expanding his skills into the adventure travel industry as a mountain guide in the Alps of Western Europe and Iceland.
That passion for travel and guest service led Mark to South Africa Airways Vacations in 2011 as an Africa Specialist, where he designs custom itineraries in South and East Africa.
Richard was born in Durban South Africa. He feels blessed to have lived in many beautiful places. Cape Town, San Francisco, England, France, Hawaii and the ski resort of Vail Colorado.
He moved to Tucson in 2015. He has travelled the world extensively and is now following his passion for Africa by helping others enjoy its natural abundant wildlife, nature and beauty at SAA Vacations.
Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2016, her husband Eric’s job in professional hockey brought their family to Tucson. Nicki and her family are avid sports fans, but have a passion for hockey.
As a child, Nicki remembers spending her Summers traveling with her parents and grandparents. One of her most memorable trips was a two-week driving adventure “Out West”, all in the same car! As an adult, she has been able to take several cruises, travel within the United States, Canada, Mexico and Germany.
Nicki prides herself on doing whatever it takes to make her clients happy. She is looking forward to helping her clients plan a vacation of a lifetime.
Hallah is originally from Los Angeles, California. After 25 years in the Golden State, Hallah’s curiosity for adventure brought her to Arizona, where she has happily lived for the last 6 years. With a degree in photography, Hallah thoroughly enjoys being outdoors, seeing new places, and creating memories she can smile about for a lifetime. Her personal passion for art and travel, combined with an extensive background in the sales and customer service industry, has led her to pursue an exciting new career in the travel industry.
Hallah began traveling at the age of 2, when her parents took her on her first trip to Israel. As Hallah grew up, her parents made it a priority to make sure her and her brother would be given the opportunity to see the world, and they did a mighty good job! To date, Hallah has traveled to areas including Israel, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, France, and Italy, as well as enjoyed many gorgeous views from the decks of cruise ships all over the United States. Her bucket travel list includes Greece, Ibiza, and seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland. Hallah looks forward to sharing her passion and experiences in order to help her clients enjoy the vacation of their dreams.
Lupe was born and raised in Southern California. While growing up she travelled to different locations in Mexico where her parents are from.
In 2005 she moved to Tucson. She has lived in breath taking Colorado with it’s Garden of the Gods and the Rocky Mountains, in Odessa/Midland, Texas, home of “Friday Night Lights” and oil fields, and finally, lush green Louisiana, the home of crawfish boils, gator bites, Cajun Food filled plates, the Creole accent, rains and flooding, and if there’s a reason, they love to celebrate with their colorful parades – most famously Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Between 2012 and 2014 vacations were done on motorcycle. She travelled from the state of Texas, to or through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, W. Virginia back down through Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Sturgis, South Dakota started it in 2012.
Been back in Tucson since February 2017, to be close to family.
In 2017 she took her first trip overseas, and chose to go to Ireland alone. She spent 8 days finding her way around Dublin and Galway. That trip was the beginning of her desire to keep traveling and enjoy new adventures.
But meanwhile, here in Tucson, she has been fostering animals, through a non-profit organization, until they are adopted.
Her favorite quote, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”, and I’m living for those moments.
Scott joined us as an African Travel Specialist after working in the destination marketing field for a national advertising agency. Prior to his work in the marketing field, he spent eight years as a journalist in Arizona and Southern California. His favorite memory as a journalist was covering the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl in Phoenix.
His passion for travel was developed on long summer road trips across the country with his grandparents and exploring small towns and random roadside attractions. His favorite place to visit is Alaska and recommends everybody take the Alaskan Railroad up to Denali National Park.