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Welcome to the Carolina Safari Co.

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

“Only if we understand, can we care.

Only if we care, we will help.

Only if we help, we shall be saved.”

-Dr. Jane Goodall


If you find yourself wondering “What the heck is the Carolina Safari Co.?” allow me to introduce myself. My name is Zach Steinhauser. For the past 5 years many people have come to know me as “The Purple Martin Guy” because they’ve either gone on one of my guided Purple Martin Tours on Lake Murray or they’ve seen or heard of my documentary “Purple Haze: A Conservation Film.” I am a licensed OUPV boat Captain through the US Coast Guard, as well as a Naturalist working at Wingard’s Market in Lexington, SC. Not only that, but I am also a Wildlife Filmmaker and Photographer who has traveled across the globe chasing & documenting wildlife & wild places, as well as assisting on shoots for National Geographic. One could say “I’m a Zach of all Trades.”

My passion for wildlife & travel began at an early age when I first began watching The Crocodile Hunter on Animal Planet. I was always excited to turn my television on and see where Steve Irwin was going and what animals he was wrangling that day. I was left with such a deep sense of wonder & awe about the Natural World that I wanted to pursue a career that emulated the impact that Steve had on the world. Sadly, his passing coincided with my 14th birthday which I took as a sign from the gods that my life is meant inspire people to care about wildlife.

I attended college at the University of Florida & received my degree in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation. It was in my final year that I began to see a big rift between professional and public knowledge. I moved back home to South Carolina after graduation when I realized I didn’t want to become a biologist, and took a job as a Naturalist at my family’s garden center. In the early months of my time working there I discovered a niche in environmental education that I wish would take the country by storm: gardening for wildlife. I also was playing around with the idea of pursuing a career in wildlife filmmaking. All of the experts I had reached out to inquiring about how to get started told me to buy a camera and find stories to tell. Little did I know I had a very important story sitting right in my backyard in the form of Lake Murray’s Purple Martin Roost. I had come to learn about Purple Martins & their precarious habitat dilemma being dependent on manmade houses to nest & raise young, so I made a feature-length documentary about it.

Ironically it was in the process of making this film that I realized where my passion for wildlife & environmentalism was strongest, and that was guiding people out to the Lake Murray Roost to expose and educate them about this natural wonder. I used this guiding side hustle as a means to fund my documentary travels, but I soon realized that this is what I am best at. Over the five years,it took to film and produce the film, I would take breaks and travel around the Southeast to different places that were home to unique natural phenomena to take photos & videos. The more I dug into this the more natural phenomena I would find, whether that was the stranding Dolphins outside of Charleston to the Elk herds in Smoky Mountain National Park, or the fact that you can snorkel the rivers in the Blue Ridge Mountains and find North America’s largest salamander, the Hellbender. While I love traveling around solo & experiencing all of these different wildlife on my own, I thought how great it would be if I could bring people alongside me & let them experience it for themselves. Maybe that way, they go home and want to do something to conserve that particular species, or at the very least have a greater appreciation for it, and so the Carolina Safari Co. was born.
Now normally when you hear the word “safari” your mind probably jumps to the African Plains, Amazon Rainforest, or Yellowstone National Park. I bet you didn’t believe that you could easily drive a few hours and see the likes of Elk, Bison, Bears, & Dolphins and be home by dinner. I’ve come to fall in love with the wildlife we have and are working to restore here in the Southeast, and it would be my pleasure to take you along with me on these adventures. Currently, the majority of these safaris are day trips, however I plan to increase the time spent on location to provide you with the fullest experience possible in the coming years.

Cheers,
Captain Zach

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