Photo by Singita

11.7Africa is an African tour operator that plans and executes travel for everyone ranging from single travellers, families, non-profits, companies and special interest groups. It's 11.7’s mission to break down the glass wall that makes Africa seem so inaccessible to most people. To expose travellers to something they never expected, connect the like-minded, forge mutually-advantageous partnerships, and most of all, prove that Africa is so much more culturally rich, complex and dynamic than generally portrayed.

My story.

"Seeing Africa, is like flattening the construct of your reality and overlooking the edge of the world. I have loved no other place like this." 

My name is Jen Johnson and I live my job. I believe that life needs to remain an adventure, and the next adventure for me as a human being and for 11.7Africa is really about digging into new territories and experiences. Clients want to be inspired; they want to connect to people and places and they want to grow. I work to make that happen for them whether it's via a honeymoon, a technical expedition, a wellness retreat or a non-profit reconnaissance.  

I navigate the Africa travel landscape, contracting out various accommodations, consultants, guides, drivers, logistics, etc. to get the job done as seamlessly as possible. I keep operations small and nimble to avoid being locked into occupancy contacts or allegiances based on the bottom line and still provide a good value for money experience. I have limited overhead, other than living and traveling to various locales in Africa throughout the year. My clients are my marketing budget; 100% of my business is from client referrals. 

My nomadic nature insures that my finger is firmly planted on the pulse and I tirelessly forge and maintain relationships throughout the continent. People think that I don't work, but rather my life is my work. I explore, hike, surf, safari, volunteer, taste, conserve, yoga, sight-see, snorkel, sit, try-on, paddle, talk, luxuriate, climb, learn, breath-in and experience Africa for you. I track trends and see what's worth buying into or simply passing on. I come back to the office, wherever that may be at the moment, to curate and line out your Africa experience. 

At some point people buy what you do, but they also buy why you do it. I want to make sure the feeling of passion and bringing something meaningful to the table is very strong. That I am always enhancing the perception of Africa beyond what common thought accommodates. I work to bring down the barriers and misconceptions that inhibit people from truly experiencing the vast continent. My strength and the strength of 11.7 is to keep the "why" alive. And for me the "why" is always the same: to open people to places they never expected - and to do it with a bit of beauty and style. 

I've handled travel programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Harvard Alumni Association, the Nature Conservancy, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Elderhostel, Road Scholar as well as prominent organizations, government agencies, businesses, media, special interest groups, individuals and numerous Explorers Club members. 

Before starting 11.7, I was the Director of Custom Travel at EXPLORE, Inc. Prior to my foray into the travel industry, I worked for the National Endowment for Democracy coordinating efforts to improve indigenous African organizations by promoting democracy and human rights. I've lived in central Africa to build my knowledge of culture and development as well as humanitarian intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo. From Africa, I migrated to Switzerland and Europe to work as a researcher for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and the Mountain Forum, an organization that promotes sustainable mountain ecotourism.