Luangwa Valley Zambia

Our Team

A company is only as good as its staff

Management Team

Dave Wilson

David Wilson

Managing Director and Co-owner

I was born and bred in Zimbabwe and have always had a strong affinity for the bush. After finishing school and doing a gap year in Central America, I completed a BSc (Hons) in Wildlife and Agribusiness from the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. After university I attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and commissioned as a British Army officer serving as an Infantry Officer in both the Parachute and Duke of Wellington's Regiment. I resigned my commission as a Captain in 2006, my desire to return to Africa called and it was time to return home.

The Luangwa Valley in Zambia had always held a huge appeal for me since I was a boy; stories about the beauty of the place, the teeming wildlife. I was initially brought in to run our four small exclusive bush camps; in 2009 I was fortunate enough to be offered the role of Managing Director.

Luckily I still manage to find time to pursue my passion for the bush; I have a Grade 1 Professional Walking Guide’s License and am an Honorary Ranger, appointed by the Zambian Wildlife Authority.

I also sit on the board of trustees of the South Luangwa Conservation Society which is an incredible NGO responsible for snare removal, education and anti-poaching operations in the South Luangwa National Park.

Read my account below of our Return to the Wild activity:

Bush Camping - "Return to the Wild"

Shaddy Nkoma

Shaddy Nkoma

Bush Camp Operations Manager & Senior Guide

I was first trained at Chinzombo Camp as a guide under the supervision of Phil Berry. In 1993 I obtained my guiding license and guided at Chinzombo and its Bush Camps until 1997 when I joined Wilderness Trails, while there I did a lot of mobile safaris. I have been with Norman Carr Safaris since 1998. I managed Nsolo Bush Camp for over 15 years, and over the years this became my second home. In 2012 I took up the position of Bush Camp Operations Manager and I now oversee the building and running of these camps each year. Apart from guiding I also render my services to the South Luangwa Guides Examination Board and am a trustee of the Kapani School Project. During my career I have helped many guides with their training but the highlight for me was when I helped to train Rose Jere, who was the first female Zambian guide.


Mindy Roberts

Sales and Marketing Director

Being from Australia, I've always loved the bush. However it took me many years before I found a role which allowed me to combine career and the great outdoors. After completing a Bachelor of Commerce (International Finance and Marketing) at Melbourne University in 1999, I spent the next five years in Australia, managing strategic human resources programs mainly focused on graduate recruitment and development.

I moved to London in 2004 and worked for two different consultancies advising large corporations on assessment and development of both graduates and middle level management across Europe and Africa. It was in London that I met our Managing Director, Dave and his wife Kate. They were married in the South Luangwa in 2008 and I came out for the wedding ceremony and my first safari. I went home to London, decided there was more to life than the corporate rat race, packed up and six months later in May 2009 I landed back in Zambia ready to work.

In my first season I hosted guests at Mchenja Bush Camp before moving into the Sales and Marketing Team based at Kapani, where I've been ever since. I still pinch myself every now and again, especially when elephants walk past my bedroom window and think, 'Wow, I'm living in Africa – who would have thought I'd end up here'.

Cosam Phiri

Cosam Phiri

Senior Accountant

I was brought up in the Valley and have lived in Mfuwe basically my whole life. I was fortunate to be sponsored through the Kapani School Project, which was set up by NCS, through my high school years and also through College which I attended in Lusaka, completing a Diploma in Accounting.

During my course, on school holidays, I undertook part time voluntary work with the Kapani School Project helping with administration. In 2004, after graduating and gaining my Diploma, I was offered a role as Assistant Accountant with Norman Carr Safaris. This is where my journey in the Company started, and as my role has increased over the years, I was assisted by NCS to pursue further studies. In 2009, I was extremely happy to be offered the role of Head of Accounts.

Thanks to all who have continued supporting the Kapani School Project to date, of which I am a Board Member. I have really enjoyed working with NCS and witnessed the great vision of our legendary leader, the late Norman J Carr being fulfilled.


Abraham Banda

Abraham Banda

Staff Investment Manager & Senior Guide

It is an honour and a great privilege to be able to work in one of Africa's best National Parks. Trained by the legendary Norman Carr I have over 20 years experience in the bush. Many a time, guests will ask if I enjoy guiding this many years on; and I still do! For one, the book of nature is so vast; there is always something new to see if one is observant enough. Meeting people from all walks of life, sharing with them what the bush can offer and catering to their varied interests is a lot of fun. One of the things I'm told guests like about me is my genuine enthusiasm about nature. The love I have for the bush goes way beyond just doing a job; it is like a continuous "bushman's holiday". In my spare time I take my wife and kids into the Park.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel overseas, once to California in the USA and three times to England. My travel experience has tremendously enhanced the love of what I do. Though I love everything nature has to offer, I have an intense passion for bird life.

I was fortunate enough to win the prestigious Zambian Guide of the Year Award at the Zambian Tourism Awards 2009. I have also won silver in the Wanderlust and Daily Telegraph Guild of the World Award 2010.

Besides guiding I am also co-director for the Kapani School Project and the Abraham Banda Student Scholarship Fund, Board Chairperson at Mfuwe Day Secondary School and Chairperson for the South Luangwa Guides Association.

John Njobvu

John Njobvu

Maintenance Manger

Mfuwe has always been my home and along with my twin brother Jason, I was sponsored by the Kapani School Fund through most of my schooling. When I finished secondary education I decided I wanted to be an electrician so I went to college to study Power Electrical and Norman Carr Safaris offered me a job in 2010. Over the years I’ve worked in general maintenance as well as electrics and fixed problems from hippos standing on cables to hyenas chewing through pipes and this year I was promoted to Maintenance Manager for all six Norman Carr Safaris’ Camps. I’ve also been mistaken for my twin brother by most of the company at one time or another.

When I was young I used to play volleyball and football and during my spare time I used to read different books and I love elephants and wildlife in general. I was married in 2010 to my wife, Pamela and we have a beautiful daughter by the name of Mayamiko who is 3 years old. Her name means blessings.


Camp Managers

Aubrey Njobvu

Aubrey Njobvu

Kakuli Manager

I joined the world of tourism through National Hotels in 1980 where I worked as a spotter for ten years. I later moved to Savannah Trails where I continued spotting and in 1994 I joined Wild Zambia Safaris, a mobile safari company, and it was here that I finally got my Grade 2 guiding certificate in 1996. I had done enough of spotting and felt I needed to climb the ladder a little higher. I have been with Norman Carr Safaris since 1999 - over a decade....time really flies! I started off as a Walking Guide and since 2005 I have been managing Kakuli Bush Camp.

I was chosen to go to Canada on a Guide's Exchange Program in 2010 to develop my skills, broaden my horizons and also see more of the world where our guests come from. I consider myself fortunate to be a Guide; through guiding I meet people from all parts of the world and still continue learning a great deal from them. The entire world basically comes to me. What a blessing! Being a Guide is such a rewarding and spectacular experience.

John Kasonga

John Kasonga

Mchenja Manager

John Kasonga is a true Norman Carr Safaris success story, born in Kitwe, he returned to his motherland of Mfuwe when he was 11 years old. In 2004, John started working at Kapani Lodge as a casual worker - helping us build bushcamps and with general maintenance - but his heart was always in guiding. He took his exams 2 years later and is now our Bushcamp Manager and Guide at Mchenja.

His true passion is introducing people from all over the world to the wonders of African wildlife. He has witnessed some amazing sightings including a leopard, hyena and lion feeding together. He is famous for his animal sounds and can imitate almost anything. The only thing he may struggle with is keeping a straight face when asked if a hippo can climb a tree!


Philemon Banda

Philemon Banda

Nsolo Manager

Philemon grew up in Chipata but came to Mfuwe and the South Luangwa as a child. He’s always had a passion for nature and was a member of the Chongololo Club set up by Chipembele (www.chipembele.org) which teaches local Mfuwe children all about wildlife. He has a particular interest in ecology and the ecosystem. He dreamed of becoming a guide and in 2005 completed his exams.

Since then he’s seen some amazing sightings, but for him, nothing beats the time he saw a Leopard steal an impala straight off a wild dog and within seconds whip it up a tree! Philemon loves to hear all about his guests’ homelands and travels – it makes him feel like he has travelled the world with them! His wife Dorica owns a restaurant in the village called Dorphil’s – a favourite haunt for all the locals and ex-pats.

Lawrence Banda

Lawrence Banda

Luwi Manager

Lawrence was born and bred in Mfuwe. He has always loved nature and tracking animals, especially on walking safaris, so it was no surprise when he took his guiding exams back in 1999. To him, walking around the South Luangwa, looking at the birds and animals, is his idea of the perfect job.

One of his most memorable days was when he heard the sound of wild dogs whilst in the Park and for the pack to walk towards the group he was guiding - some exceptional photographs were taken! Lawrence is married with 4 children and just this summer became a grandpa!


Mario Vos

Mario Voss

Kapani Manager & Reservations

Born in Germany, I spent my early childhood in Ghana, where my dad was posted as a doctor in the remote north of the country. Even though we had to return to Germany for schooling, my whole family had fallen in love with Africa. Consequently we returned on many occasions and drove through various countries such as Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and in 2001, for the first time, into Zambia, where I discovered its beauty in the remote north of the Luangwa Valley.

Due to my passion for nature and wildlife I decided to study zoology, but meanwhile I returned to the Valley every year to volunteer at Kafunta Safari Lodge to learn more about this industry. After finishing my MSc degree I managed the same Lodge for four years until I finally joined Norman Carr Safaris, whose history, people and camps I had already got to know well over my last eight years in the South Luangwa. I’m very happy about having joined Luangwa’s original safari company and excited about looking after the daily running of Kapani, Norman’s last home, and our guests from all over the world.

Yaliwe Banda

Yaliwe Banda

Chinzombo Manager

Born and raised across Zambia, I couldn’t be prouder of my homeland and my heritage. After studying business administration my first position was working for a lodge in Livingstone. When I heard about the opportunity to work for Norman Carr Safaris in the South Luangwa, I jumped at the chance and am proud to have been the first female Zambian Assistant Bush Camp Manager and now Camp Manager of Chinzombo! I feel women in communities across Zambia are starting to be more empowered to seek employment and represent our country. I am pleased to have such an amazing job in such a beautiful place.

My first role was at Kakuli Bushcamp where I spent a season living in the heart of the Park with Aubrey and the team and from there I moved to Chinzombo which I now manage. I love living in the bush, surrounded by wildlife and making sure our guests have a magical trip with us. What I enjoy the most is seeing how much guests from across the world love my country and the simple beauty of nature.

The funniest wildlife moment I can remember was whilst at Kakuli, watching a male lion chase a herd of 500 buffalo. When the lion was about a hundred meters away, the buffalo herd realised he was on his own against hundreds of them! They turned and gave the lion a run for its life – you should have seen the fear in this cat! I think he thought one of his nine lives was up!

The Engine Room

Enoch Mtonga

Enoch Mtonga

Front of House – Kapani Lodge

I began working in the Valley back in 1984 where I started as a crocodile handler at the Luangwa Crocodile Farm. I was later promoted to stores clerk and worked here until 1990. After working with some other Lodges in the Valley and gaining experience as a kitchen porter and waiter I finally started with Norman Carr Safaris in 2004. I worked at Luwi Bush Camp as a chef, waiter and camp foreman for 6 years before being promoted to Front of House Manager at Kapani Lodge in 2010. I'm really enjoying my new role with NCS and look forward to greeting guests for years to come.

Vicky Austin

Vicky Austin

Reservations and Marketing

I’ve always had a passion for travel, and when I wasn’t on holiday I was always planning my next! I was working in Graduate Recruitment before I moved to Zambia, and when a friend pointed out that I was only working to be able to plan holidays, I thought it was time for a career change! I had been to the South Luangwa two years earlier, fell in love with it, and when I heard there was a position in the reservations and marketing team I just had to apply.

A few months later, after being selected for the role, I packed up my life in London, and moved out to this beautiful country. I wake up with the sunrise every morning, I pass baboons, bush bucks and the occasional elephant on my ‘commute’ to the office, and I spend my day putting together the holiday of a lifetime for people. What’s not to love?!


Vanessa Mbewe

Vanessa Mbewe

Reservations

It takes years for a house to become home, but I guess I have already found a home with NCS. I was born and bred in Zambia and studied at The Hotel and Tourism institute in Lusaka in 2008. To assist my study, I had an attachment with the Zambian Tourism Board in Livingstone, and this is where it all began...

After a few years of working as Front Office assistant with a safari lodge in Livingstone I took up distance learning and studied Business Administration with the University of Zambia. I then joined Livingstone Adventures in central reservations and later became more in involved in the day to day running of the company working in marketing and staff training. Last year I moved back to Lusaka running a traditional Zambian restaurant and working with Fabulous Zambia in reservations and tour coordinating for World Bicycle Relief.

This experience made me love nature more and I realized I wanted to get away from all the traffic and lights of the big city. Now having to sleep with elephants outside your window and getting a wakeup call from monkeys jumping on my roof is the best experience ever and I love it. Norman Carr’s legacy is something I want to be part of and the beauty of nature gives me the peace we all need!!!

Delene Dempster

Delene Dempster

Reservations

Originally from Zimbabwe, I moved to Kariba in 1992 with my husband and two young boys and in 1997 started working in the safari industry as a travel consultant for a locally based Tour Operator. After some years, they moved their head office to the UK and I continued to work for them for 16 years, mainly from home in Kariba, and later in 2004, from the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.

I gained a vast amount of knowledge of the industry and had the privilege of travelling to various tourist destinations in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana.

In 2014 I began with Norman Carr Safaris in the Reservations team; this has presented me with new challenges and I am learning daily. We have a great team of which I am glad to be a part of, and I’m also happy to be back in an office environment after so many years working from home. I regularly encounter wildlife on my way to and from work; buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, a variety of antelope and lots of giraffe. It's impossible not be amazed and in awe of my surroundings and it’s a great excuse when I’m delayed getting to work.


Jason Njobvu

Jason Njobvu

Head Chef

Jason Njobvu is the Executive Chef at Norman Carr Safaris, having risen to this position after starting his career with us as a casual worker in 2006. He moved into the kitchen in 2007 and held the position of Kitchen Porter for a mere forty-five days; his talent shone through and he was promoted to Trainee Chef, then Head Chef for Nsolo Bush Camp in 2009 and finally Executive Chef for the entire NCS operation in 2012. He is also Executive Chef at Africa’s Best New Camp (2014) Chinzombo.

Mfuwe born and bred, he has always had a passion for food, and is well known for his attention to detail and incredible ability to make a delicious meal out of minimal ingredients. When he is not busy in the kitchen, he is constantly reading recipes, absorbing as much knowledge as he can and teaching others; including the chef for the Vice President of Zambia. He’s also the twin brother of our Maintenance Manger John Njobvu.

Delene Dempster

Jackson Mvula

Accounts

I was born and raised in Mfuwe and as I grew up I enjoyed education and watching movies! I studied a BSc. In Production Management and was sponsored through my secondary schooling and much of my tertiary education by the Kapani School Fund. Because of this, I knew many of the team at Norman Carr Safaris and was able to secure a position in early 2012 as a stores and accounts assistant. A year later I was promoted to full accounts assistant and work under Cosam, who also came through the Kapani School Project.

Growing up I always had an interest in wildlife, so it’s great to be part of a safari company; my favourite animal is a Honey Badger! I have a wife and son, his name is Confidence – I named him this as it defines my personality “self-confidence”, although I’m not very good at smiling for the camera!

Get to know the Guides

Here is a little snapshot of our wonderful guiding team and some of their quirks and areas of interest! They are all experts of the South Luangwa National Park and most have grown up in Mfuwe. Everyone has excellent knowledge about the different bird and mammal species of the Park and the various habitats in the area and the information below is intended for you to learn a little more about the individuals behind the team. We can arrange a private guide if you request it, details of additional costs are in our Rates section.

safari guide shaddy

Shaddy

  • Based at Chinzombo, Bush Camp Operations Manager
  • Managed Nsolo for 15 years
  • Concentrating on private guiding
  • Worked with Norman at Chinzombo
  • Participated in a Guides Exchange to the Lower Zambezi
  • On the Board of Examiners for the SLNP Guide’s Exams
safari guide abraham

Abraham

  • Based at Chinzombo, Bush Camp Operations Manager
  • Trained under Norman
  • Award winning guide
  • Has particular knowledge on the Thornicroft Giraffe
  • Manages the Kapani SchoolProject
  • Chair of the South Luangwa Guide’s Association
safari guide aubrey

Aubrey

  • Manages Kakuli
  • Participated in a Guides Exchange to Canada in 2010
  • Extreme love of snakes
  • Manages to find scorpions everywhere
  • Likes to ask guests interesting questions at mealtimes, such as ‘Who invented toast?
safari guide lawrence

Lawrence

  • Manages Luwi
  • Extremely good with kids
  • Participated in a Guides Exchange to the Lower Zambezi
  • Is an excellent bird mimic
safari guide charles

Charles

  • Based at Kapani
  • Brand new addition to the safari guiding team
  • Very enthusiastic
  • Has guided a few international film crews in the past 12 months
safari guide julius

Julius

  • Based at Kapani
  • Has a very patient nature
  • Enjoys guiding photographers
  • He reads people very well and takes time to understand his guests
safari guide john

John

  • Manages Mchenja
  • Keen eye for small details in the bush
  • Enjoys mammals
  • Participated in a Guides Exchange to the Lower Zambezi in 2011
safari guide innocent

Innocent

  • Based at Kapani and Liuwa Plain
  • Always has a huge smile on his face
  • Enjoys photography and guiding photographers
  • Participated in a Guides Exchange to the Lower Zambezi
brian

Brian

  • Based at Kapani and Liuwa Plain
  • Always up for a joke and has a jolly laugh
  • Specialist walking guide around the Luwi River area
  • Has a brother who’s training to be a Doctor and who used to be our Accounts Assistant!
  • Is an expert on hippos – ask him to make their sound!
philemon

Philemon

  • Manages Nsolo
  • Is very gentle and softly spoken with a keen sensitivity to the bush
  • One of his favourite phrases is ‘this is the google of the bush’
  • His wife, Dorica is a fabulous chef and makes the best chicken schnitzel in Mfuwe
Dave Wilson

Dave

  • Company Managing Director
  • Walking guide, but doesn’t guide often, much to his disappointment!
  • Completed the Zimbabwean Wildlife darting course in 2008
  • Is an Honorary Ranger under the Zambian Wildlife Authority
  • Did a degree in Wildlife science and Agribusiness
  • Fascinated by Animal behavior and interactions
  • Likes Marmite with strawberry jam!