By Dan Murphy
Beacon Hill native Hadley Pierce credits her unique career choice as one of the founders and co-owners of a safari company to the indelible impression a family vacation to Africa in 2006 at age 12 left on her.
“The landscape was so wide open, and I’d never seen anything like it before,” the 24-year-old daughter of Carroll and Bob of Brimmer Street said. “I loved seeing all the animals and can just remember the whole magic of it all.”
One year after this first, two-week trip that began in South Africa’s Cape Town and culminated with a safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Pierce and her family went on another safari to Tanzania, during a period of what she described as “a migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra as they follow the rains to better grazing lands.
“Coming from downtown Boston I had never been able to even imagine groups of animals that size in such massively wide open spaces,” Pierce said. “Herds of wildebeest and zebra absolutely everywhere you look. That was when I really fell in love with Africa.”
During high school in 2009 and 2010, Pierce spent the summers working for Children of Kibera Foundation, a self-described “charitable and educational foundation working to create opportunities for orphans and vulnerable children living in Kibera slums in Nairobi.” Both summers afforded her opportunities to go on three-day safaris, further deepening her passion for the African wilderness.
Pierce went on to attend the University of Richmond, where, during her junior year, she studied abroad at the University of Cape Town. After that semester, Pierce accompanied her father on another safari, where she learned of safari training programs from their guide.
Upon earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond in leadership studies with a concentration in international relations in 2015, Pierce completed a six-month program at NJ More Field Guide College, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, earning qualifications in tracking, advanced rifle handling and approaching dangerous game.
In Johannesburg, Pierce met Jomi Krobb, whom she would later partner with to start the luxury safari company Trunks & Tracks. German-born Krobb, who was raised in Dublin and educated at Trinity College in Ireland, was then working at a lodge located on the same national park as her college.
Pierce went on to live and work in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia, prior to launching Trunks & Tracks with Krobb in early 2017. Since then, they have led what Pierce described as two “privately guided, only top-scale” safaris to South Africa and Namibia.
While these initial outings only attracted a handful of customers, future trips could accommodate an extended family of 12 or 14, offering a soup-to-nuts approach from booking the safari to guiding the trip, or customers can instead opt to have Trunks and Tracks just handle the booking.
Pierce, however, advises would-be safari-goers to consider the complete package, allowing them the unique opportunity to see the African wilderness with an American-born guide.
“A safari is a sensational, life-changing trip… and there’s no place like Africa,” Pierce said. “We can help provide peace of mind and take the element of worry out of it.”
To learn more about Trunks & Tracks, visit www.trunksandtracks.com.