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Chaka Travel - About Us

At Chaka Travel we pride ourselves on providing a highly personalised service and having an intimate knowledge of some of the worlds' most exciting destinations, including Mauritius, Maldives, Seychelles, South Africa, Dubai, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali, Cyprus, Morocco, USA and Europe.

Open: Monday-Friday 9am-5.30pm

Phone: 028 9023 2112


Meet the team


Mark Marais : Managing Director

Mark Marais : Managing Director

Originally from Zimbabwe, Mark has a love for the outdoors, wildlife and foreign cultures which prompted him to start Chaka Travel in 1995. Whilst enjoying seeing the company grow Mark is keen to maintain the high level of friendliness and personal service that has made so many clients become 'friends'. His only regret is that his golf game doesn't do justice to the world class courses he has been lucky enough to play! Mark is the proud father of Louise and Emily, both girls are now well seasoned travellers and have both been involved in the company in small ways over the years!


Diane Hamilton: Senior Sales Consultant

Diane Hamilton: Senior Sales Consultant

Diane has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years and lives and breathes holidays. Specializing in honeymoons and weddings as well as family holidays, her meticulous attention to detail and enthusiasm will give every client the confidence to book their special trip with Chaka. Having married abroad herself, she can fully appreciate everything from the couples perspective! During her time at Chaka she has visited Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives and South Africa in order to give clients the best first-hand knowledge for their trip. Diane is happily married to Paul and enjoys socializing, eating out and of course taking holidays of her own.


Jean Collins with her husband

Jean Collins: Senior Sales Consultant

I have worked in the travel industry since 1992, where I started my career in travel as a junior in a small travel agency and worked my way up to manager of a multiple operator before joining Chaka Travel in 2012. Over the years I have been lucky enough to travel to many wonderful places, USA, Middle East, Caribbean, Europe and have been on may cruises and I think without a doubt my favourites places would be Dubai and Mauritius. Experiencing new countries, people and trying some fabulous food is something myself and my husband love doing, and then to come home and be able to pass on my first-hand knowledge to my clients make my job very satisfying.


Stuart Thompson out with his family

Stuart Thompson: Senior Sales Consultant

It is now in my 10th year at Chaka and have been lucky to visit a lot of the destinations we have offer and played some of the best courses in the world. Having been in the travel industry since 1991 it is lovely to be able to mix my hobby with work, as I am able to talk golf every day of the week and be able to share my knowledge of my trips and pass this to the clients to ensure they get the best out of their holiday. I am a member of Scrabo golf club and currently playing of a handicap of 9 which I hope to improve on but only playing once a week it might be a challenge! I'm a proud father of Ben who is keen footballer and Lucie a gymnast and hockey player and it’s always good to encourage them.


Gerard Watson with his wife and kids watching the Belfast Giants

Gerard Watson: Sports Tours Manager

I am married to Caroline and dad to twin boys Logan and Finn who most certainly keep us on our toes. My role in Chaka combines two of my biggest passions, sports and bespoke tours. Every tour is unique and with my knowledge and background I can help our customers create and deliver the perfect trip for their organisation. Please get in contact to discuss your team or groups potential plans.


Kallam Craigs: Taking the handover from Gerard

Kallam Craigs: Sales Consultant

I was born and grew up in Hong Kong so from a young age I started to travel and loved experiencing new countries and cultures. I have been lucky enough to travel all over Asia as well as visiting Australia, New Zealand, North America, The Caribbean and over ten countries in Europe. I’m obsessed with sports and all kinds of activities especially when travelling, highlights being Bungee Jumping in Bali, Paragliding in New Zealand and doing a ski season in Canada. Back at home I like to spend my free time at live music events, playing football, cricket and tennis or golf at RBGC where I hold a handicap of 9. I studied International Tourism at the University of Ulster graduating in 2016. I’m now lucky enough to work at a company like Chaka where I have completed a South Africa Specialist Program. Chaka combines my love for travel, activities, sports and events.


Jacques Gous: Chaka Travel’s PGA Professional

Jacques Gous: Chaka Travel’s PGA Professional

South African born Jacques moved to the UK in 2000 and since then has worked as a PGA Professional in England. Since his path crossed with Chaka Travel in 2013 he has not looked back, in his own words "The guys at Chaka Travel has made my dream come true. They made it possible for me to take groups of golfers to some of the most beautiful locations and whilst playing golf with them and improving their golf through professional tuition”. Obviously South Africa was his first country to visit with a group and since then he has added more countries with groups joining him to Turkey, Mauritius and Spain.


Lesley Marshall on her travels

Lesley Marshall: Administration Manager

Lesley joined Chaka Travel as administration manager, with several years experience in the travel industry, including over 20 years spent in South Africa. Lesley enjoys travelling and experiencing new cultures & cuisines.


Rosie McDonald on her travels

Rosie McDonald: Administration

I love travelling and have visited many many wonderful places throughout the world and I been known to forget to return home from my travels at times (in my younger days)! I love nothing more than planning an exciting journey that captures at times my vey imaginative mind.


Justin Childs, Travelling in the Alps

Justin Childs : Content Designer and Administration

Justin joined Chaka in October 2015, he had previously studied Geography at the University of Ulster and post graduation worked for the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland and also at Harland and Wolff. He is also a keen sportsman, and when he isn’t playing football he can be found shooting, fishing, kayaking or hiking. His sports have taken him around the globe, fishing in more than 10 European countries and also hiking in as many.


Tim McKinstry: Travelling in Italy

Tim McKinstry: Designer & Developer

After graduating and completing an internship I began working at Chaka Travel. With knowledge of design and also development I have been able to deal with both the print publications and design / development of the websites which are constantly evolving and updating. I can usually be found in the gym and more recently adult circus classes and gymnastics. Working at a company such as Chaka Travel I appreciate much more the opportunity to travel and see the world, which is one thing i need to do more.

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