How Lucky we are to do what we do!

We know it – and we are eager to share it!  Our wish is to put you in touch with our passion – nature!

Our experience is matched by a personalized service that keeps our guests returning to travel with us year after year. From the moment you inquire about a location to enjoying your chosen destination – we are dedicated to ensuring your trip is memorable.

Carol Petersen | Mona Keith

Carol Petersen – Owner/Photographer/Tour Leader

Nature Encounters Tours & Travel owner, Carol Petersen, is an avid wildlife photographer and advocate for conservation! Her first safari to Africa was in 1990 and since then has led over 100 safaris to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Madagascar, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Ecuador & Galapagos, India as well as Danube/Rhine/Mekong River Cruises, Antarctica, Baltic, and Greek Ocean Cruises.

The quote “Once you’ve been a part of Africa, it becomes a part of you” best describes Carol’s love for this special part of the world. Whether it be canoeing down the Zambezi River within a few feet of a 5-ton bull elephant, capturing some precious moments with a family of wild gorillas, watching a pair of blue-footed booby’s do their magical courting dance or following the alarm calls of Langur Monkey’s in hopes of finding the very endangered Bengal Tiger…. that is Carol’s idea of spending quality time.

Carol walks the talk by contributing to conservation groups such as The Friends of the Galapagos, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit and Wildlife SOS in India to name a few. Her keen interest in our environment, endangered species and the enhancement of the ecosystems of our planet is a never-ending endeavor. In her dedication to preserving wild spaces, she encourages travelers to walk lightly and appreciate these special places.

You will always see Carol engaging with the people she meets on her travels, developing strong relationships – some 30 years in the making! She has a great love for her “ground” teams. Supporting schools on her travels is very important with the Bride Rescue Program at Kajiado Girls School in Kenya being a special project. She is very proud to have been chosen for a “Woman of Vision” award for her conservation efforts – an honor bestowed to 12 women per year by a Calgary television station.

Carol invites you on one of her groups for a worry-free vacation (she does it all!) or contact her for non-group travel as well!


Mona Keith – Zoo Keeper/Tour Leader

Mona Keith

Zookeeper and Naturalist, Mona has a lifelong interest in the animals of our world. She has a BSc in Zoology and started her career as a Field Biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Federation. She took a job at the Calgary Zoo in 1982 and has nurtured her passion and dedication to the animals under her care ever since. She strives to ensure the animals have the best life possible while they serve as ambassadors for their species, educating people about the crucial role all wildlife plays in our lives and the world we live in.  For 38 years she had worked almost exclusively with African species, dedicating most of her time to Giraffes, Hippos, Lions, Meerkats  and Red River Hogs. She also has the privilege of working with the 5 species of penguins at the zoo. For the last 18 years she has been the supervisor for these areas ensuring the staff are trained and supervised to maintain a high level of welfare for the animals.  Mona enjoys working closely with the individual animals, to encourage them to participate willingly in their own husbandry needs such as voluntary weights, blood draws, or hoof-trims for a giraffe and tooth trims for a hippo.  Monas role as a Zookeeper includes educating the public about the animals under her care. She had given numerous talks, behind-the-scenes tours and many TV, radio and newspaper interviews.  Being an avid birdwatcher, Mona has many lists including North and South America, Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Peru and Africa.  We have been very fortunate to have Mona leading tours for Nature Encounters since 2004 to Africa & South America. She loves to share her passion and knowledge for our animal friends.