Pilots and pioneering aviation professionals with an unquenchable passion for Africa exploration.
Since that fateful flight up the East African coast in 2009, the Scenic Air brand has developed a sterling reputation for providing uniquely pioneering tailor-made flying safaris and executive air charter services throughout East and Southern Africa.
By far our greatest strength as a company, lies in our team of people and the wealth of experience we can call upon. Our motivation is to do more than simply achieve financial success, it is fuelled by a love for aviation, for Africa, its wildlife, people and its magical landscapes.
We live the dream of Africa. We do what we love and we love what we do. Here’s our team that make it all possible:
A committed wildlife conservationist and private pilot for the past 30 years, Torben has vast experience within International Tourism. He studied Marketing and Business Studies in South Africa, returning to Kenya where he managed Southern Cross Safaris as a partner and Managing Director. A trustee of the Satao community and wildlife trust and past trustee of the East African Whale Shark Trust.
He studied Marketing and Business Studies in South Africa, returning to Kenya where he managed Southern Cross Safaris as a partner and Managing Director until 2017. He is the Chairman of the George Adamson Wildlife Trust in Kenya, a trustee of the Satao community and wildlife trust and a past founder trustee of the East African Whale Shark Trust.
Simon was born to an aviation family in East Africa. His father Capt. Eddie Penfold was a pioneering ‘Wing Safari’ pilot in the 1960s. He read Airlines & Tourism in Glasgow, Scotland, then travelled extensively, before eventually - like the majestic salmon - returning to his spawning grounds in Kenya. (Simon has never come across a river or an ocean he doesn’t love to fish.)
With his passion for tourism and for aviation, Simon first ran a destination management company in Kenya before moving to Scenic Air Safaris to oversee its marketing development programme. Always looking for fresh ideas and markets, he takes particular pride in innovating all-new and utterly unique flying safari experiences, designed to showcase the extraordinary wildlife and landscapes of his beloved continent.
An avid outdoor enthusiast who cares deeply about the protection of endangered species, Simon never travels without his fly rod, or a fabulous sense of humour.
Murtaza ‘Ice Man’ Walijee leads our team of pioneering aviators, with over 7,500 hrs of bush flying in East Africa. He is also a certified flight instructor with an instrument rating. He relishes the challenges of 'bush flying' and in particular, flying and guiding our Ultimate Across Africa flying safari.
A great story-teller with a trove of incredible experiences, Murtaza’s favourite flights are over the wildebeest Migration in the Masai Mara and Serengeti, the Pink Flamingos over Lake Natron and the low level scenic flight over the Mahale Mountains on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
With over 28 years of sound flight operations experience, Jeni earned her ‘colours’ in far-off remote destinations; Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia and of course in her home country, Kenya, where she directed humanitarian aviation relief operations. For both fixed-wing and helicopter operations.
Lucky to have grown up on one of Kenya’s finest beaches at Tiwi on Kenya’s south coast, Jeni is a true eco-warrior at heart. Educated both in Kenya and the United Kingdom, Jeni returned home to East Africa to follow her passion for aviation and to marry Anthony, her Malawian-born husband with whom she has two lovely children. When not directing aircraft, pilots and ground support crews, Jeni is a full-time Mum and not only chairs the Kenya Amateur Dramatics Society, but also sings, acts and dances in her spare time. An avid safari lover and conservation activist, we are proud to have her wealth of experience onboard.
A smooth flier, Sam brings alive what he calls ‘my own Africa’ with expert, engaging commentaries on all that lies below. Sam is instrument rated, and a certified flight instructor with over 5,800 hrs of bush flying experience. He originally wanted to be a doctor but, thankfully for us, chose to become a pilot instead, adapting his calm bedside manner to loftier altitudes.
Sam loves discovering new off-the-beaten-track destinations and unusual game. A favourite with our guests, he makes it his business to get clients up close and personal with the remarkable wildlife of East Africa.
With over 4,000 hrs of bush flying experience across Africa, Aaron’s happy place is undeniably in the sky. Having started his aviation career as an aircraft engineer, Aaron realised he would much prefer to ‘fly’em instead of fixing’em’. He has dropped Skydivers along the beautiful Kenyan coastline, flown for the United Nations in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Chad and finally found his home with Scenic Air Safaris combining his two passions: Aviation and Wildlife.
Born in the Great Rift Valley, he has grown up with a deep affection for East Africa’s unique landscapes and wildlife, from big game to birds, and to the smallest creatures on safari. As your pilot and story-telling host, he will go above and beyond to bring Africa’s flora and fauna closer to you. His favourite animals are Dikdiks, Eland, and he loves his birds! Whenever Aaron is not in the sky, he loves travelling and exploring new destinations with his wife. He plays the guitar and the drums and is an avid sportsman.
A true Nairobian at heart, Sanjay was born and grew up in the hustle and bustle of Nairobi city. Relocating to Canada in 2012, he attained his Commercial Pilots License (CPL) and gained invaluable experience flying through Canadian snowstorms, freezing rain and brilliant sunshine(sometimes all in one day) in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Such extreme flying conditions taught Sanjay many unique skills as a bush pilot. The call of the African savannah brought him home and he continues to follow his dream of lying in Africa.
Sanjay is an active member and guide for the 'Save Our Pride' conservation initiative that provides vital funding for projects that help to conserve Nairobi National Park, working closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service. Through his experience, he has honed his skills as an expert in the wilderness and an exceptional guide and host. Sanjay has a passion for adventure outdoors and for flying to 'off the grid' safari destinations. Up close and personal wildlife encounters and a passion for the big cats of East Africa are what exhilarates him the most.
Known as Jimbo to his friends, he first started overseeing safaris for clients back in the 1990s. A captain and solo pilot (although neither in the traditional sense), Jim landed in Kenya for the first time in the 1980s, falling instantly in love with Africa. He served with the British Army with a commission as an officer in the Grenadier Guards, returned to climb Mt. Kenya and decided there and then to make East Africa his home.
Jim is a familiar face within the safari business, having worked in tour operations in both Kenya and Tanzania. Ecotourism and protecting our planet are important to Jim. A keen and accomplished sportsman, he enjoys solo flying (under canopy) be it paragliding, parachuting and more recently he has taken up kitesurfing. Jim is based in our Vipingo office overseeing all aspects of operations, quality control and sales.
Sharlet is our first point of contact at Scenic Air Safaris. Passionate about discovery and adventure, her travels and experience within the aviation business have enabled her to realise her dream; to mix air travel and wildlife as a career. Her favourite destination above all others is the Masai Mara.
Sharlet holds a Bachelor of Business Management, with marketing and a diploma in Cabin Crew and Ticketing. Her experience is the glue that binds our sales and operations together.
Originally from the western region of Kenya and a graduate of the Kenya Institute of Management, Veena brings nine years of invaluable frontline experience to the sales team based in Vipingo. Having previously studied and worked in Nairobi, it didn’t take much persuasion to move to Kenya’s palm-fringed coastline.
Veena enjoys the challenges of being a dream weaver for our clients and achieves great personal gain in personalised travel planning for individuals, couples and groups. Veena is here to ensure our guests are promptly and effectively well taken care of and supports operations to ensure all runs smoothly. Giraffes are what Veena enjoys seeing the most whilst on safari, together with engaging with different communities and exploring their customs. A dedicated advocate for nature/environmental sustainability, she is particularly inspired by our Flying Green program.
Hilda is our main point of contact for the Scenic Wilderness shared charter flight between Lewa and the Masai Mara. Having studied Travel Agency Techniques in Nairobi, Hilda took the opportunity to move to Kenya’s coast, and our head office, where she handles our flight enquiries, bookings and flight planning. Hilda works closely with our pilots, management, and ground operations to ensure a smooth product delivery for our newest product.
Hilda’s love of African wildlife, culture and adventure, coupled with her experience in aviation has enabled her to realise a dream; of being able to explore the wild from the skies, being able to share her experiences with others and of living on the coast.