Olaf's enthusiasm is unparalleled for exploring the planet's most remote and dramatic destinations, defined by their unique natural beauty and authentic indigenous cultures. His passion for the history of the world's greatest explorers is what drives him, and he has long been fueled by his deep curiosity about exploring Earth's remaining frontiers with fellow travelers. Olaf founded Explorers' Corner, a boutique adventure travel company that was acquired by Natural Habitat Adventures, and Nat Hab is now the beneficiary of his peerless energy and expertise as our "CEO"—Chief Exploratory Officer. Olaf currently works with Nat Hab on new product development and was instrumental in the vision and creation of Base Camp Greenland. He is an active part of the operations team for our Greenland, Antarctica, and Galapagos hiking and kayaking adventures.
Olaf speaks six languages, has a Ph.D. in chemistry, and a master's degree in international law and diplomacy from Tufts University. He is a former science educator at the University of California San Francisco. A passionate ecotourism activist, Olaf works to promote sustainable tourism in developing countries, in a quest to protect imperiled natural habitats. While he has worked in a such a role in many capacities over the years, the Republic of Georgia, where he now makes his home, is the focus of his current endeavors. Olaf is an international expert advisor to the Department of Protected Areas in Georgia's Ministry of Environment, as well as director of an innovative community-based conservation and development program in select protected areas in the Georgian mountains. He is also head of the external advisory board for a joint private/government-supported training and certification program for outdoor guides in the Caucasus region.
But his greatest infatuation is with adventure. Olaf has been an adventure travel guide for 35 years, leading kayaking trips on all seven seas and hiking and trekking trips worldwide. He has pioneered numerous paddling routes on groundbreaking expeditions, particularly in Greenland, which he has visited more than 40 times. Olaf has climbed mountains, traveled by dog sled and hiked in more than 80 countries. He is a Fellow of the exclusive Explorers Club, an honor bestowed on a handful of the world's premier adventurers.
When Olaf is at home, you'll find him enjoying a rich life in the Republic of Georgia with his family, where they tend a thriving vineyard and hike and ride horses in the Caucasus Mountains. Olaf and his wife, Eka, are the founders of Danieli Winery, an up-and-coming enterprise producing high-quality red and white wines. They recently opened a wine bar in Svaneti, a popular mountain resort region of Georgia.
Praise from Natural Habitat travelers:
"Olaf went out of his way to make our trip special and fun. He made a point of making each person feel welcome, he interfaced phenomenally with the local staff,
and made the evenings around the fire fun. This is my second trip with Olaf and I can't speak highly enough of him."
"Olaf is an excellent leader and is definitely the person one wants to be with in exploring new territory. He is able to work extremely effectively with local personnel and remains flexible and open to optimizing every experience. His extensive wilderness experience has honed his already excellent judgment to the point that I would feel safe with him on an expedition to the moon!"
"Olaf is an incredible asset, He is very experienced and knowledgeable. His leadership style allows local guides to have flexibility in making tactical decisions and build consensus while he guides the adventure strategically... I would chose
to join any adventure/expedition that Olaf was leading in the future."