Former British Army officer shot dead in northern Kenya

Tristan Voorspuy
South African-born Mr Voorspuy was raised in Sussex and served for six years in the British Army. Photo: Offbeat Safaris

Former British army officer Tristan Voorspuy has been found shot dead on a ranch in northern Kenya.

Reports claim the father-of-two was shot dead by raiders involved in a vicious tribal battle between warring militias after he went to inspect the remains of a friend’s home that had been torched by invaders, amid reports that hardcore Samburu militia were still on the rampage.

His horse was found shot dead at noon and his body found a few hours later.

One neighbour told reporters: “He rode out to look at what was left of Richard’s house. He never came back. We flew over the area to look for him.

“The horse had been shot in the leg and he was dead in front of the house.”

Tristan Voorspuy
Tristan Voorspuy, owner and founder of Offbeat Safaris Ltd.

Tristan was born in South Africa but schooled and raised in Sussex, England. After spending a brief period at Agricultural College, he joined the British Army in 1975 for a three year Short Service Commission which he extended for another three years.

His six years in the army including a two year stint as a ceremonial mounted cavalry officer inspired a wanderlust and return to Africa.

After leaving the army in 1981 he drove a motorbike from London to Cape Town for nine months, looking for work opportunities in Africa. Having heard of mounted safaris pioneered by Tony Church in Kenya, he applied for a job and spent six years guiding with Tony before beginning Offbeat Safaris in 1990.

Mr  lead mounted and other safari’s professionally for 32 years in East Africa and ridden in Botswana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Malawi, Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Tristan founded Offbeat Safaris in 1990, initially as a riding safari outfitter, based out of Deloraine House until Piers Winkworth came to work for Tristan in 2002. Piers fell in love with Kenya and by 2005 the pair joined forces to offer a non-riding safaris experience, in the form of Offbeat Mara Camp.

As well as holding a Kenya gold level certificate of the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association, he was also an honorary warden of the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Tristan Voorspuy
Tristan Voorspuy in Kenya.

The ranch where he is believed to have been killed is in the region of Laikipia, once a tourist paradise but now plunged into chaos by warring tribes.

Laikipia Police Commander Simon Kipkeu said Mr Tristan Voorspuy’s body had gunshot wounds.

Speaking to the Daily Nation, Mr Kipkeu said: “The director had just returned from a trip to Nakuru and went straight to a scene where the herders had set ablaze two cottages last Friday. That is when he may have been ambushed by the herders.”

Several Kenyans have been killed or displaced and in recent weeks, cattle herders armed with automatic rifles have left a trail of destruction in northern Kenya in their search for grazing land.

Invaders from the Samburu, Pokot and Masai tribe have rampaged through the area, killing elephants, giraffes, zebras and lions, after stockpiling ammunition made in government factories.

Before his death, Mr Voorspuy had been working hard with other locals to protect African farms against the marauding gangs. On Sunday night, his family abandoned efforts to retrieve his body after being shot at.


  1. […] The South African born British citizen was shot dead by pastoral herders on Sunday (5 March) in Laikipia while inspecting damage to a house on his Sosian ranch, situated 118 miles north of Nairobi, which had reportedly been set on fire. The British government sent an email out to subscribers drawing attention to the incident, in an attempt to raise awareness of the volatile situation. […]

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