Meet the Team: Harry, HA General Manager

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What’s your role at Holiday Architects?

I’m the General Manager here at HA.


Why do you love travel?

I grew up in Oman and my earliest memories tend to involve travel in some form or other – whether that was exploring the mountains and coast of Oman with my family, or the slightly more prosaic rigmarole of flying to and from the UK for school, which I still loved doing. I’m old enough to remember air travel having a whiff of allure about it, or it may just be selective memory, but I do remember peeking out of the window as we were coming into land at Muscat, catching a glimpse of a huge pod of whales swimming in the Indian Ocean. Things all came back down to earth with a bump when my family moved back to the UK after 25 years. It felt a bit soon to be retiring from travel and – lovely as the UK is – I felt that there was quite a bit more of the world to be seen.


How did you come to work in travel?

I studied languages at university (Spanish and Arabic, but please don’t test me!) and loved my time in Granada and Cairo as part of my course. After university I found myself interpreting for the army in post-invasion Iraq, which doesn’t really count as “travel” but was still a pretty good encapsulation of it – plenty of excitement, lots of encounters with interesting people and some memories that you just couldn’t get anywhere else. My years in Oman and speaking Arabic has meant that a lot of my travel career has centred on the Middle East and North Africa – I love Morocco and Egypt especially. I’ve been working in travel in some shape or other since 2004 though and have managed to scratch off a few other countries on the map. Namibia was a standout for me because I am a sucker for a good landscape.




What do you love doing when you’re not keeping things running smoothly at Holiday Architects?

When I’m not at work, it feels like I spend most of my time trying to wrangle my kids into their school uniform or pyjamas – depending on the time of day – or walking the dog. I have an OS map of my local area and am trying to walk all of the footpaths and bridleways on it – it turns out there are a lot! I also spend far too much time reading recipes and not enough time cooking them which is a source of constant regret because I love food.


We’re big foodies here at HA. What would be your dream three-course dinner?

Short answer is that I will eat anything that doesn’t include beetroot or sardines. Long answer? I’d go for a starter of mixed Lebanese mezzes and salads, then for main I’d take a Bengali Gosht curry with limitless naan and paratha. If I’m still conscious, I’d finish with a rum baba. How’s that for fusion?


What’s your karaoke tune?

‘Mr Jones’ by Counting Crows, but I need a hand with the high notes in the chorus.





Tell us more about Namibia…


What makes it special?

As mentioned above, I am going to represent team Namibia. I’m one of those weird people that actually enjoys being behind the wheel (!) and with the amazing scenery there it feels just like you’re driving around in a 4K slo-mo shot from Planet Earth. It’s pretty immersive! The lodges are in some stunning locations too, and there’s a great variety of things to do; you’ve got your traditional African safari elements, as well as some fantastic hiking, stargazing in Dark Sky reserves, kayaking with seals…  and just a wonderful sense of how big the world can feel.


What’s your favourite memory from your time spent there?

I was staying at Desert Rhino Camp and had enjoyed a wonderful day getting close up with the critically-endangered black rhino (not too close though – they are massive). Relaxing back at the camp with a cup of tea, I could hear an approaching crescendo of rustling, twig-snaps and snorts as a herd of elephants announced themselves, swaying out of the bush in front of me and filing right past my chair. I did say that Namibia was immersive!


Where’s your favourite place to visit in Namibia?

It’s not exactly a hidden treasure as almost every visitor to Namibia will go there, but for me it’s the dunes at Sossusvlei. I love photography, and it’s one of those places where time loses all meaning and I can find myself snapping away for hours. The way the dunes change their colour and tone over the course of a day is magical – everyone who visits will take pretty much the same shot of a withered tree at Deadvlei (you know the one I mean), but I’m still very proud of my effort!


Tell us something most people don’t know about Namibia

Namibia is the second-least densely populated country in the world (behind Mongolia) and most of the tiny population lives in the very northern border area, where tourists rarely visit. Basically, if you’re someone who appreciates a bit of solitude and identifies with Jean-Paul Sartre’s famous quote about “other people”, it’s perfect.



Harry’s adventures