Bio Christian Grosch
Christian Grosch is the creator of Airboat Afrika, a South African business selling and operating airboats. Christian was born in Stuttgart / Germany and raised in – well, a lotta places. Early years and kindergarten in Tokyo / Japan were followed by schools around Germany.
After a high school diploma in Florida / USA and Abitur (matric) in Darmstadt / Germany, Christian decided to stay mobile (too bad for that professorship in nuclear physics) and got his license as a travel agent (Reiseverkehrskaufmann) in Frankfurt / Germany.
What followed is unclear – historians still argue about some events – but, to the great surprise of a few frustrated school teachers, survival included learning French.
No better place in the world than Paris / France. Work at La Fugue, ‘spécialiste des voyages musicaux’, allowed Christian to experience travel, music and the cultural hotspots of Europe. Operas, art festivals and retrospectives culminated in the World Expo in Sevilla / Spain of ’92.
Christian then participated in the creation of Episodes, a Paris based operator setting out to make affordable cultural travel available to the common mortals. Through his involvement in the group Accor’s Club Horizon Europe (a continent-wide study of outstanding management examples), he slipped into preparations for the Paris-Dakar Rallye and spent more and more time in Africa.
Sun, sand & fun – in 1997 Christian came to Johannesburg and took over the well-reputed inbound operator Incentive Touring. A few years down the track, Christian got railroaded to head up the African train cruise operator Shongololo Express.
With a passion for languages – Christian is fluent in English, German and French, and he gets by in Spanish, Italian and other bits and pieces – people, their culture and their way of life are a life-long passion.
Widely traveled and ever curious, Christian aims to seek out new ideas and different ways of doing things. “It’s a bit like playing in a jazz band”, he explains, “you get a great band together and everybody’s bringing different experiences and viewpoints with them. A great band leader manages to get them all to play at their very best – combining their virtuosity.”
“And you can very well apply that to business. It’s just another form of human society. Innovation and management work better when everyone wants to play at their very best. Play around with ideas – and you’ll hit the right note.”
The Airboat Afrika Company is a first for Africa. From a concept pioneered and refined in the swamps of the Floridian Everglades, airboats have become firmly established in eco-tourism and the wider leisure industry. Airboats’ amazing versatility as all-terrain vehicles have also made them indispensable for search & rescue operations, wildlife & habitat conservation and other applications.
“Africa’s rivers are notoriously difficult to navigate”, Christian says, “where Europe, Asia and the Americas see most of their big cities on the coast or major waterways, Africa’s geography doesn’t always provide for that. As a result, Africa’s interior is forever struggling to catch up. A great solution to generate income, provide jobs and promote a positive image to the world is tourism. It’s fantastic to use airboats to explore Africa’s hidden treasures and enjoy game viewing in the most environmentally friendly way possible”
Christian lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, together with his favourite wife and their five quadrupeds. “The only 4x4s we’ll allow – and they run on biofuel.”