14 Nov Nigel Mason
Nigel Mason – Born and educated in England, Nigel Mason spent some his early years in Egypt with his family. Bitten early by the adventure bug, the 15-year-old left England in 1959 with the “Big Brother Boys Movement” to work on a farm in Victoria, Australia.
For the next four years, he travelled Australia, cutting timber and sugar cane, picking fruit, hunting kangaroos, and helping construct the Sydney-Melbourne standard gauge railway line. He learned to enjoy scuba diving and snow skiing in his spare time, as well as playing classical guitar.
In the late 60’s Nigel moved into sales, which save him later join the recording music industry for a few exciting years, rubbing shoulders with world famous EMI Label artists – including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Chubby Checker and Roy Orbison. After this he launched his own ‘bottled garden terrarium’ business and later a landscape design & construction company, but later returned to music in 1976, this time in retail with the large Brashs chain of music stores. In 1980 he finally decided to give up the ‘rat race’ and flew off to Bali with a couple of old hippie friends and was quickly captivated by the island and decided to stay.
For the start he was involved in a hotel design developments in Lombok and survived by doing small exports to Australia before meeting his future wife, Yanie in 1983.
Since arriving in Bali, Nigel has established numerous business enterprises, his first being Yanie’s Restaurant in Legian, Kuta. He later built the first White Water Rafting operation in 1989 and added other adventure activities as he went along, including his own transport company. The Elephant Safari Park and Lodge are more recent additions to his stable of companies both being firsts for Bali. He also started Helicopter Tours in 2000, but suspended operations in 2002. This will start again in 2011.
Outside business operations, Nigel is well known for his outspokenness, and ‘fight for right’ attitude, and for his Harley Davidson. Over the years he spent much of his leisure hours with his wife and two sons, often working together in his ‘Mangrove Project’, planting saplings to conserve eroding wetlands. Over a ten year, the Masons planted over 100,000 mangrove trees behind their Pesanggaran Head Office and re-established the area to its former state and ecosystem. However a recent government project has destroyed the hectares of the mangroves that the Masons planted, destroying 10 years of hard work in a matter of weeks.
Nigel’s work with elephants has led to his appointment as an advisor and consultant to ‘Flora and Fauna International’ and gained him many admirers throughout the world, including the late ‘Steve Irwin’. Nigel started the Elephant Safari Park & Lodge project in 1997 and has now developed it into Bali’s premier tourist attraction. Over 15 year period Nigel has worked tirelessly to improve the Park and to create not only an elephant experience for guests, but also a magnificent botanical garden setting for people to enjoy. He finished work on the 27 room hotel at the park, named ‘The Safari Park Lodge’.