Jane Michaelides Smith

Jane Michaelides Smith was born in Tanzania, the descendant of Greek immigrants to East Africa. She lived there until age 3, when her family transitioned to Kenya to manage a coffee farm they lovingly referred to as Kianzabe Estates. Seven years later they emigrated again, this time to the United States, taking up residence in Idaho. Jane, always a wandering soul, eventually settled in Arizona.  Despite having lived in the U. S. for many years now, East Africa remains her spiritual home. Viewed from this perspective, her deep engagement in Africa’s conservation issues represents nothing more than a return to her roots.


The impetus for Jane’s now frequent visits back to Africa was a basic desire to preserve what remains of wild Africa. Although her efforts comprehend the gamut of the continent’s fauna, she is particularly focused on the plight of the elephant. Inspired by the images of Nick Brandt, she has developed a close working relationship with the Big Life Foundation, an organization headquartered in southern Kenya with a dedicated anti-poaching mission. She has also developed an association with a number of other conservation oriented non-profit organizations, including Elephants DC, with whom she coordinated her efforts to propose and implement a global ban on the ivory and rhino horn trade.

Jane’s life focus at this point is preservation of species and habitat on the African continent, but she also takes great joy in arranging travel for visitors to Kenya and Tanzania. A skilled photographer, she designs safaris with an educational and conservation perspective, believing strongly that anyone who has ever experienced Africa in person is very likely to take a profound interest in the security of its wildlife.  

Jane’s passion for all things Africa was instilled in her by her father, who was also born in the East African nation then known as Tanganyika. His commitment to conservation of land and preservation of species was an essential element in her upbringing.  She is eternally proud to be her father’s daughter and to follow in his footsteps.

Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer’s paradise …  an escapist’s Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one. To a lot of people, as to myself, it is just ‘home.
— Beryl Markham