Safari Couple Settle On Cape Cod
March 2, 2021
By Abigail Nehring
Like many newcomers to the Cape this year, Hadley Pierce and Jomi Krobb are finding ways to bide their time as they await the reopening of their business.
They arrived in Woods Hole last fall with little more than their two rucksacks, their Vellies, and a Rwandan dog named George. The couple spent the last six years living in Africa, where they met while training to be safari guides, and in 2017 founded Trunks & Tracks, a boutique safari agency that plans luxury vacations in the African savannah.
Companies that operate safari lodges are cutting their losses during the pandemic as international tourism has collapsed. Ms. Pierce and Mr. Krobb joined other American and European expatriates last year in leaving Africa for the time being. They first went to Dublin last spring, where Mr. Krobb grew up, before making their way to Falmouth, the summertime playground of Ms. Pierce’s childhood.
Ms. Pierce is from Boston, but she fell in love with Africa on a family vacation to South Africa and Botswana when she was 12. As the family drove from the airstrip to their lodge in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana, they watched a pack of wild dogs give chase to a herd of impala.
“We were part of the pack as they hunted the impala,” Ms. Pierce recalled. “These are endurance animals. I saw how much work the wild dogs are putting into this. You understand these animals need to eat. You can’t conceptualize what it would be like. We had no idea what to expect and we were blown away.”
It was the first of many trips Ms. Pierce would make to Africa. In high school, she traveled to Kenya with the Children of Kibera volunteer program. And as a college student at the University of Richmond, she spent her junior year studying abroad in Cape Town.
“Once I was in Cape Town, there was no turning back. I said, ‘This continent is where I’m meant to be,’ ” Ms. Pierce said.
Ms. Pierce and Mr. Krobb’s paths crossed in 2015 while training to earn a safari guiding license. They have zigzagged the continent together, leading safaris in Botswana, Zambia and Namibia. They also shared a stint in Rwanda managing the staff of an opulent lodge outside of Volcanoes National Park.
The couple founded Trunks & Tracks in 2017 with a vision to use their knowledge of Africa’s parks and safari lodges to curate expeditions for individual clients’ needs and provide private guides.
“We’re very small, so it’s very personalized,” Ms. Pierce said. “We’re not travel agents. We’re safari experts and have worked at these lodges.”
The company partners with Wilderness Safari to offset the carbon emissions of their bookings with donations to a reforestation program in Rwanda, home to a population of just more than 1,000 endangered mountain gorillas.
There are smaller game on the walking trails of Falmouth, which Ms. Pierce and Mr. Krobb have been exploring in recent months with their adopted dog, George.
Although Ms. Pierce spent summers on Cape Cod as a child, winter has presented her with new terrain. The couple are using a camera trap in a location near their home to capture the local fauna.
“In a week we had seven animals!” Ms. Pierce said. “I had never heard of a fisher.”
Their camera has also captured images of a fox, skunk, opossum, raccoons, mice, squirrels and numerous deer.
Ms. Pierce and Mr. Krobb last April started a podcast called “Safari Stories,” in which they regale listeners with adventures from the bush. They are poised to begin booking safaris again as soon as borders reopen and the industry resumes. Ms. Pierce said they have even made a few bookings for 2022 already, with “the understanding that it will be after the vaccine.”