Wanderlust World Guide Awards 2018
Article 04 October 2018

The world’s best guides: Winners of the Wanderlust World Guide Awards 2018 revealed

The incredible, unsung, kind heroes of travel were celebrated tonight at the Wanderlust World Guide Awards 2018. Here are the deserving winners…

Gold Award: Julie Gabbott

Gold Award: Julie Gabbott (Dragoman)

Gold Award: Julie Gabbott (Dragoman)

Where she guides: Worldwide

Booked through: Dragoman

Julie has led countless tours all over the world, but one thing remains constant: her dedication to making every trip unforgettable. Her passion and talent shone through in every testimonial we received, and it’s clear that she always goes beyond the call of duty.

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She leaves a trail of happiness wherever she goes, and as a mentor she is unrivalled

Silver Award: Neil Rabjohn

Silver Award: Neil Rabjohn (G Adventures)

Silver Award: Neil Rabjohn (G Adventures)

Where he guides: South America

Booked through: G Adventures

It’s his attention to detail and excellent rapport with his clients that marks Neil as one of the top guides in the business. The testimonials were full of stories about his warmth and wit, and we were amazed to learn that he writes personalised postcards to each of his guests at the end of their trip. He has encyclopedic knowledge, but he’s often spotted with his head in his books, learning even more about the destination’s history and culture.

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He inspires you to do good in the world, to better yourself and keep exploring

Bronze Award: Abderrahim Oukioud

Bronze Award: Abderrahim Oukioud (Intrepid)

Bronze Award: Abderrahim Oukioud (Intrepid)

Where he guides: Morocco 

Booked through: Intrepid 

Abderrahim’s passion for his native Morocco is infectious: your anecdotes were filled with tales of how he went the extra mile to connect travellers with his country. While his tour itineraries are already packed with memorable experiences, he takes the initiative to organise more: a sunset camel ride, for example, or the opportunity to simply sit down and chat to local people.

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Abdu looked after me like I was family: I always felt safe, comfortable, and cared for. His knowledge is endless and his love for his country contagious

Top Safari Guide: Garth Hovell

Top Safari Guide: Garth Hovell (Abercrombie and Kent)

Top Safari Guide: Garth Hovell (Abercrombie and Kent)


Where he guides: Worldwide

Booked through: Abercrombie & Kent 

Whether he’s leading sunrise game drives or mixing sunset cocktails in the middle of the bush, Garth is tireless in his pursuit of the perfect tailormade safari holiday. Our inbox was full of testimonials about his ability to make clients feel connected to the landscape; to spot even the most camouflaged wildlife from afar; and to enthrall everyone, whether they’re aged two or 92, with tales of the African wilderness. “By the end of the trip, we were calling him ‘Indiana Jones’, wrote one of Garth’s previous clients, “because we felt we were on an amazing journey of discovery with him.”

Read more about Garth Hovell

We run a tourism company in South Africa, and deal with hundreds of guides. Garth always stands out for his knowledge, professionalism, and excellent care of each one of his guests

Top UK Guide: Alex Graeme

Top UK Guide: Alex Graeme (Unique Devon Tours)

Top UK Guide: Alex Graeme (Unique Devon Tours)

Where he guides: UK

Booked through: Unique Devon Tours 

“Every day I’m out with guests is a treat for me,” enthuses our top UK tour guide, Alex – and it’s clear that the feeling is mutual. His clients love that he puts a personal twist on each tour, taking them not only to Devon’s best beaches, prettiest landscapes and most fascinating historical sites, but also revealing many of the region’s hidden gems. His knowledge about the area is far-reaching and impressive: whether you simply want to find the perfect cream tea, or follow in the footsteps of your Devonshire ancestors (as many overseas guests want to do), Alex is your man.

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We run a B&B, and many of our guests go on tours with Alex. Without fail, they are blown away by their experiences with him

Top Conservation Guide: Pablo Valladares

Top Conservation Guide: Pablo Valladares (Galakiwi)

Top Conservation Guide: Pablo Valladares (Galakiwi)

Where he guides: Ecuador

Booked through: Galakiwi 

Pablo, a native Ecuadorian, has made his home on the Galápagos island of Isabela, where he has become one of the highest-regarded conservation guides in the business. Whether his guests are regular holidaymakers or eminent wildlife scientists with an intimate knowledge of the islands, Pablo always has the ability to surprise and delight those who travel with him.

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Pablo’s knowledge was deeprooted and sophisticated. He created a rich and fascinating experience that lasted right through to the final farewells

Special Award: Unseen Tours

Also on the evening, a special award was given to Unseen Tours in recognition of the tremendous work they've been doing to help homeless people for the past eight years. The Social Enterprise provides paid work to homeless, ex-homeless, and vulnerably housed people by training them as tour guides. Today, they have 20 guides giving fantastic tours in 5 locations across London: Covent Garden, Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Camden, and London Bridge.

Unseen Tours was brought to Wanderlust's attention through MakeMyDay, a new app of carefully curated experiences by Wanderlust contributor Nick Boulos. 

Read more about Unseen Tours