Ralph comes from a long line of African pioneers and adventurers. His family have guided safaris for four generations, the first guide being his maternal great-grandfather, Major Richard Granville Nicholson, who escorted Princess Eugenie to see her son’s grave and the site where he was killed in the Zulu War on 1 June 1879. Ralph’s father, Jack, grew up hunting crocodiles in Tanganyika with his father and was one of the first Great White Hunters to turn his back on hunting become a conservationist.
Ralph studied Nature Conservation and did his thesis on the Wattled Crane as an Indicator Species of Wetland Destruction. He furthered his studies at the International Crane Institute in Wisconsin under the famous George Archibald, who captive bred the whooping crane back from extinction. Ralph then worked with his mother to establish Botswana’s first Wildlife Orphanage and Education Centre and upon Jack’s tragic death in 1992 built Jack’s Camp (with his partner Catherine) in Jack’s memory (on the site of Jack’s original, and considerably more rustic camp from the 1960s). In 1998 Ralph co-produced and presented a sixteen part series for the Discovery Channel entitled “Uncharted Africa”, which was filmed in Botswana, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania.