Meet Our Experts


Arnie Hydamaka | Africa Specialist

Who is Arnie:
Arnie is the Africa Specialist here at Great Canadian Travel Company. We call him our Dr. Africa! He has been to Africa about forty times (he’s lost count) as a tourist, travel agent, and tour leader, and has slept on the ground under the African skies and stayed at some of the most exquisite safaris camps imaginable. Arnie grew up in Flin Flon, Manitoba and has a PhD in Food Science (so, he really is a Dr.!). Growing up he had an uncle who always threatened to send him to Timbuktu when he misbehaved at home. Later, he found out that Timbuktu was a real place and yes, he has now been to Timbuktu and back 2 ½ times. Introducing people to Africa is a passion of Arnie’s.

Top 5 Travel Experiences:

  • Being a trailblazer on first trip to Africa – Destination was Lake Turkana (Northern Kenya)
  • Lunch of fish (and sand) overlooking the dunes at Timbuktu
  • Witnessing the Migration with wildebeest crossing the Mara River and crocodiles awaiting lunch
  • Riding the Ougadougou Choochoo
  • Market day (Mondays) at Djenne, Mali

What is Arnie’s closing comment:
Arnie has a bad back and says it is because he has lugged over 50 elephants back from Africa (they’re wooden, of course!). When friends say “Wow, that means a lot of dusting” he asks them, “Who dusts elephants?”

New from Arnie Hydamaka

Africa on Safari

July 06, 2020 | Arnie Hydamaka

namiri-plains-cheetahThe more special your travel dream, the more we can help you get there! That was the motto of the Great Canadian Travel Company when it began in 1980 and was when I became associated with the company. I had a dream travel destination – Africa, and more specifically the legendary Timbuktu. Great Canadian Travel has since provided me the opportunity to travel to Africa on more than 30 occasions. My dream has earned me the designation of Africa Expert in the company.

My passion for Africa has enabled Great Canadian Travel to become a leader in planning African safaris.  Through developing close relationships with leading Africa tour companies and with first hand safari experiences, we provide you with expert and reliable travel advice and special pricing. Read More >

Nine Tips for Planning a Trip to Africa

January 15, 2016 | Arnie Hydamaka

Here at Great Canadian Travel Company we pride ourselves on being the best at making your travel dreams come true – because we know a LOT about our destinations.  Arnie, our Man-About-Africa who has considerable knowledge about planning the perfect vacation to Africa, has some great advice to help you plan your trip. Read More >