A PERSONAL NOTE FROM JOHN MARTENS:
Ker & Downey first came to my notice after watching the Academy Award-winning film, Out of Africa, a romantic drama starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Usually, I am exiting the theatre when film credits are showing but for some reason on this occasion I stayed until the credits were through and noted that a company, Ker, Downey & Selby had made all the arrangements in Africa for the film.
A year or two later my wife and I decided to visit Botswana and immediately made contact with Ker & Downey in Houston who subsequently arranged our visit to Mombo Camp and Chobe Chilwero.
Born in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa I have long had a passion for travel probably starting when, as I child, I was taken on a grand family tour of Europe to visit my Grandmother in Yorkshire. Later, after spending time in London studying Hotel Management, I returned to South Africa and began, instead, a retail career in Johannesburg. During these early years I also lived in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth before returning to Johannesburg as General Manager of South Africa’s leading retail establishment of the time, Stuttaford & Company Limited , a long established Cape Town company.
After a 1973 meeting with Mr Stanley Marcus in Dallas, I joined Neiman Marcus in 1974 living first in Fort Worth then Dallas and St Louis before being named VP /GM of the flagship Beverly Hills location in 1980.
Throughout the years, clients have asked me about travel to Africa and South Africa in particular and I have always referred Ker & Downey. Very recently, the Neiman Marcus CEO asked me for a recommendation for a possible visit to southern Africa and, again, Ker & Downey was suggested.
Having just retired from Neiman Marcus after a 35 year career, I realized many people I know were thinking of an African adventure so, with that in mind, I made contact with Ker & Downey in Texas.
During all this time I have never lost my passion and appetite for travel and have visited some 40+ countries throughout the world including Rwanda, Mozambique, Lebanon, Turkey, India on several occasions, Sri Lanka , Russia, Argentina, Brazil , Chile and most countries of South East Asia and Europe. Most unusual of all was a night at a semi-secret American naval base on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia due to an emergency landing of our SAA 747 flight from Johannesburg to Hong Kong.
So when next you are contemplating travel to Africa, India, Australasia, Turkey, South America or Southeast Asia, I would really appreciate you giving the travel experts at Ker & Downey an opportunity to create an itinerary especially for you. Their reach is great across the globe and their exclusive experiences cannot be found anywhere else. Additionally, Ker & Downey is able to arrange first or business class air travel at the most competitive rates on a number of worldwide providers, including British Airways.
I look forward to the opportunity to discuss with you the amazing experience of Ker & Downey.
Many thanks and all the best.