As the head of the Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies, Geoffrey Kent brings a truly extraordinary lifetime of experience, innovation and genuine passion to the world’s most exclusive luxury adventure travel experiences. A pioneer of the modern luxury safari, Mr. Kent has taken his company – and his clients – from undiscovered areas of the African continent to the furthermost reaches of the globe. Under his visionary direction, A&K offers hundreds of small group escorted journeys and tailor made private travel to more than 100 countries on all seven continents. The company built its award-winning reputation by being the first to bring unexpected comforts and amenities to remote destinations. The common denominator is an unwavering commitment to service: the unquestioned best in expert guides, luxurious accommodations, safety standards, unique and proprietary modes of transport, and an assiduously-crafted choice of amenities and insider access experiences.
Geoffrey Kent’s life began, really, much as he lives it today – amid excitement and adventure in an exotic location. He was born while his parents, Colonel John and Valerie Kent, were on safari in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Growing up on the family farm in the Aberdare Highlands of Kenya, Kent’s eventful childhood was spent in the splendor and drama of untamed Africa. He attended the then-new Duke of York School in Nairobi, which would ultimately produce many of Kenya’s business and science leaders.
At the tender age of 16, the fearless Kent undertook an initial solitary exploration of the African continent that would in many ways come to define the course of his life. On this momentous two-month trek, Kent became the first individual to travel by motorbike the 5,000 often-treacherous miles between Nairobi, Kenya and Cape Town, South Africa.
After attending the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, Kent saw service in such far-flung countries as Bahrain, Kuwait and Malta. His distinguished armed forces career was cut relatively short as a result of hearing damage from years spent in heavy tanks.
Back in Kenya, the irrepressibly energetic Kent joined his parents in founding Abercrombie & Kent as a luxury safari operation. By 1967, his parents retired and he moved full bore into turning A&K into the internationally renowned luxury travel powerhouse that it is today. With the innate skill of a consummate businessman and the relentless curiosity of a born explorer, Kent created a company that enables travelers to literally discover the world around them – and to do it in a uniquely stylish manner.
In the 1970s, Geoffrey Kent, who by then had long been the Managing Director of the company, entered into partnership with Jorie Ford Butler of Oak Brook, Illinois, to expand Abercrombie & Kent. To this day, they continue to travel the world in search of the kinds of adventures that will surprise and thrill their clients. Under their passionate and visionary guidance — Geoffrey Kent serves as Chairman and CEO, Jorie Butler Kent as Vice Chairman — Abercrombie & Kent represents the uncompromising best at every turn in the road.
A&K plans explorations to such regions of the world as Africa, Antarctica, Australia and the South Pacific, China and the Orient, India, Europe, Egypt and the Middle East, South and Central America and the western United States and Canada. A&K makes the most faraway places in the world accessible, in comfort and in style.
Abercrombie & Kent offers clients unrivaled service with more experts in more places than any other travel company. From an initial consultation to transportation, accommodations, and the ride home, A&K goes the distance. The company owns many of the products it uses to create its unforgettable holidays and has introduced many experiences now considered the best in travel. This luxury portfolio includes Sanctuary Lodges & Camps in Africa, four Sanctuary Sun Boats on the Nile, the Sanctuary MS ‘Yangzi Explorer’ five-star boutique cruise ship in China, the world-famous Royal Scotsman train and the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express trains and river cruisers in Europe and Asia. This “new millennium” approach to travel promotes cultural understanding and insures privileged access for guests on both small group and independent programs.
The Kent formula of providing a “luxury cocoon” from which to explore the world attracts prominent guests as diverse as James Brolin, Kristin Davis, Bill Gates, John Grisham, Tom Hanks, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Goldie Hawn, Lauren Hutton, Sharon Lawrence, Liam Neeson, Rachael Ray, Diane Sawyer, Jane Seymour, Barbara Walters, Denzel Washington and Oprah Winfrey. These high-profile travelers are among the literally thousands of well-known people who have journeyed to the wildest and most remote corners of the globe with A&K.
A keen and abiding passion for wildlife preservation has been the centerpiece of the careers and personal lives of Geoffrey Kent and Jorie Butler Kent. In 1982 they founded Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy, an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting ecosystems and wildlife, while supporting indigenous communities. Working through A&K offices around the globe, Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy makes it possible for A&K guests to give back to the places they visit. Additional details can be found at http://www.akphilanthropy.org.
The two principals continue to travel the world in search of new destinations. In between these expeditions and forays, Geoffrey Kent became a world-renowned polo player; he was captain of the A&K team in the U.S. for more than 20 years and twice won the U.S. Open, the U.S. Gold Cup and the World Cup. He served as captain and patron of the Windsor Park polo team, on which he played with HRH The Prince of Wales. He is past chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council, a global forum for business leaders in the Travel & Tourism industry that include the Chairs and Chief Executives of the 100 foremost Travel & Tourism companies worldwide. In recognition of Abercrombie & Kent’s 50th Anniversary in 2012, Kent was inducted into the British Travel and Hospitality Industry Hall of Fame.
U.S. headquarters for Abercrombie & Kent are in Downers Grove, Illinois. The Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies has 50 offices around the world employing 2,200 travel professionals.