Hello, I’m Gavin Opie, private safari guide and founder of Jackalberry Safaris.
For the past 10 years I’ve been helping people discover the amazing wildlife of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. Recently I realised a lifelong dream of opening my own safari bush camp deep in the African wilderness.
I don’t have millionaire investors or overseas headquarters. But I do have a deep love for safari guiding and a passion for sharing this with my guests. I also have an amazing team around me who make me look good! Ours is a small but intrepid company and I’m proud to introduce you here…
Safari guide and Jack of all trades
I began my career in Zambia catching crocodiles on the mighty Kafue River and trying to stay alive in a banana boat. I then built a lodge on the shores of Lake Kariba in the Southern Province of Zambia, which I ran for four years.
I moved to the South Luangwa in 2007 to pursue a dream of running my own safari company, and I’ve been here ever since. The early days were tough; I had no camp, no vehicle and I lived in a tent. But they were also incredibly fun, as I met wonderful guests who thankfully threw themselves into the adventure right alongside me!
These days things run far more smoothly and I am incredibly proud to operate Nkonzi Camp inside the national park. More than ever I love and appreciate the South Luangwa, its people, culture and wildlife, and sharing this with guests from around the world is a true privilege. Safari guiding is what makes me tick, and I hope you’ll join me to help write the next chapter in the Jackalberry safari journal.
Godfrey is our chef, although sometimes it seems more accurate to call him a magician. As the creator of delicious meals and brilliant new recipes, Godfrey is a favourite around camp. He manages to make cooking and baking look effortless, despite an occasional ‘helping hand’ from the monkeys. His favourite food is nshima.
Armed only with his trusty spotlight, Moses’ sharp eyes make night drives come alive. Just by spotting the tiniest movements in the darkness, Moses helps lead us to some stunning sightings. Moses also loves to help Godfrey in the kitchen, and can often be found peering over a shoulder, learning his way around a new recipe. He is one of the few people we’ve ever met in Zambia who likes lettuce – the way to Moses’ heart is through a good salad.
Waiter and Housekeeper
Oswald is a vital part of our team, keeping the safari wheels turning on a daily basis. Whether it is peeling vegetables, waitering or washing laundry, Oswald tackles every job with enthusiasm and dedication.
At home, Oswald is extremely proud of his son Peter who is busy studying at university in Zambia’s Copperbelt to become a teacher.
Marketing and Logistics
Rosie handles much of Jackalberry Safaris’ marketing, as well as camp logistics. She also keeps the home fires burning when Gavin is out on safari. Rosie’s background is in palaeoanthropology and Zambian archaeology, so ask her anything about stone tools and she’ll probably have an answer.
Our daughter Ciara is a little young to be have a job title just yet, but she keeps us on our toes and shares our love of Nkonzi Camp, especially building sand castles in the dry riverbed whenever she can.