Africa Travel Week
Dr Louise de Waal

Behind the Mic with Dr Louise de Waal

With an academic and research background in environmental management and a passion for Africa and wildlife conservation, Dr Louise de Waal’s career focus has evolved over time.  

Starting her career in 1990 in academia, Louise later founded Baobab Travel in 2002, a tour operator fully dedicated to providing sustainable tourism services in Africa. Following the sale of the business 12 years later, she continued as a freelance sustainable tourism consultant with Green Girls in Africa assisting tourism businesses to travel the road to sustainability.  

During this time Louise spearheaded the #HandsOffOurWildlife campaign in response to the many unethical and often cruel captive wildlife encounters on offer in our South African tourism space. The campaign aimed to create greater awareness around these issues by educating the public and the tourism industry at large.

Since 2020, she is the Campaign Manager and one of the Directors of Blood Lions, a campaign to bring an end to the commercial captive breeding and keeping of lions and other big cats in South Africa and its associated spinoff industries, such as cub petting, walking with lions, voluntourism, canned hunting and the lion bone trade. 

Q&A with Louise

What are you hoping could ignite enthusiasm on what you’re going to speak about? (without giving away too much)   

A sense of optimism in terms of ending the commercial captive lion breeding and keeping industry and its spin-off activities such as cub petting, unethical voluntourism and canned hunting. 

What have you missed with regards to face-to-face contact in the events speaking space?   

The connection with people that virtual meetings can never achieve. 

Based on your five senses, what are you looking forward to most at the show this year: 

  • See: old friends and colleagues and connect with new ones
  • Taste: Cape Malay food 
  • Feel: Excited 
  • Hear: happy and passionate voices 
  • Smell: fresh roasted coffee 

What makes Africa Unique? 

Wow! Where should I start. Its diverse and passionate people, its unique cultures, and incredible landscapes and wildlife. 

What is the first thing you will do once you set foot in Cape Town? 

Salute Table Mountain 

Find me at WTM Africa:  

Topic: The Commercial Captive Lion Breeding Industry in South Africa – What you should know 

Date: 11 April 2022, 17:00-17:30 

Stage: Global Stage 

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.