Kenya- Aris Grammaticas

It is with great sadness that Atta reports the death of Aris Grammaticas at his home in Karen, Nairobi on Saturday 15th October 2011.

Aris was a legend in the safari business, a pioneer of the Kenyan tourist industry, founding Governors Camp on the banks of the Mara River almost forty years ago,one of the very first luxury safari camps in Kenya. This was soon followed by Little Governors close by, and then the extended Governors Group of Governors' Il Moran Camp, Governors’  Balloon Safaris, Loldia House on Lake Naivasha, Mfangano Island Camp on Lake Victoria and Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge in North West Rwanda.

Aris was a founder member of Classic Safari Camps of Africa and a vibrant, often vociferous member of Atta from the very beginning. He was the backbone of the tourism exhibition circuit, especially in London, Berlin and Durban,tirelessly fighting the cause of the day for his beloved Africa and the Masai Mara from the Governors stand, and then at the end of an exhausting day, always out-pacing the younger members to the small hours!

No one was better when on the back foot, and his quick rhetoric style always managed to turn a problem into a positive. This is so aptly shown in the clip below, taken in the Atta marquee at Indaba, South Africa in 2008 in which Aris skilfully manages to manoeuvre a potentially difficult interview following turbulent times, into a PR triumph for Kenya and the Governors brand. So very Aris!

So many of us in the African tourism industry owe so much to Aris and our thoughts and prayers go to Romi and his four children Dominic, Damien, Justin and Ariana and his grandchildren.

Safari Njema, Aris. (Do n’t argue with the angels about park entry fees!)

Aris at Indaba Exhibition in South Africa, May  2008