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Tom LaRock

Tom LaRock

 

Dr. Terry L. Maple

As the former Executive Director of the Friends of the National Zoo, Tom has an understanding and love of wildlife and helps manage sustainable and responsible travel for his clients. To help potential travelers identify their personal priorities, Safari Professionals relies on Tom’s extensive knowledge of wildlife, safari guides and accommodations to craft an itinerary that meets or exceeds expectations.

“My fascination with Africa really began in elementary school when East Africa was the subject of geography class. I still remember those first photographic images of abundant African wildlife and colorfully dressed people. Visits to a small, nearby zoo focused my interests on the animals of these far-away lands, especially lions and elephants. I still have the same reaction to a male lion’s roar that I had as a child – the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

My adult career eventually led me to a city with a great zoo. Starting as a volunteer fund-raiser, I got involved and, in time, I changed careers to become the zoo’s marketing and fund-raising director. As part of a zoo travel program, I conducted my first African safari to Kenya in 1983 and have enjoyed helping others experience the wonders of Africa’s wildlife ever since.

In addition to African wildlife viewing safaris, my experience includes designing and conducting tours of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica and Venezuela. As fascinating as these places are, I’m always drawn back to Africa with its unique wildlife and engaging people.

Africa is the best place in the world for wildlife photography. Having worked and traveled with professional wildlife photographers, I love helping people bring home that “perfect shot” – whether they are experienced photographers or simply want a great record of their adventures.

As Managing Director of Safari Professionals, my responsibilities include the daily operations of the company, as well as our affiliation with the same family-operated African safari company since 1983. After helping potential travelers identify their personal priorities, my extensive knowledge of wildlife, safari guides and accommodations enables me to help them craft an itinerary that meets or exceeds their needs and expectations. I’m grateful that several of our travelers have chosen me as their personal safari guide, giving me the opportunity to share in what many say is a truly life-changing experience.”