When I first visited Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park in November 2006, I felt what all first-time visitors must feel: awe at its untouched beauty, amazement at the sheer variety of incredible wildlife, and gratitude that I had discovered this place at last.
It was nine years since I had moved to Zambia, and in that time I had never made it to this remote wilderness tucked away in Eastern Zambia. I had visited many of the country’s beautiful areas, the majestic Kafue, world-famous Mosi-O-Tunya and spectacular Lower Zambezi among them.
But when I arrived in the Luangwa Valley I knew I had found something truly remarkable, and that this corner of Africa would be my home for many years to come.
Growing in up in Johannesburg, South Africa, may not seem the natural training ground for a safari guide, but to me it was the beginning of a love affair with nature that I know will be with me forever.
In the 1970s Johannesburg was an island of urbanism in the heart of the South African countryside, and for us children of the 70s this was the best adventure playground imaginable. When I wasn’t emulating my Bones Brigade heroes on my skateboard, I was embarking on adventures in the veld, while family holidays to the Kruger Park convinced me that a career spent working in the wild would be something I could definitely live with.
After Varsity, feeling somewhat restless, I decided to explore Africa with just my hitch-hiking prowess and a tin of condensed milk for back-up. On a dusty roadside in Zimbabwe I caught a serendipitous lift to the shores of Lake Kariba, and this signalled the beginning of my Zambian adventures.
Lake Kariba became home and I stayed for nine years, at first helping to farm crocodiles and later establishing a lodge on the lake shore. I also took the opportunity to lead walking trails on the islands of Kariba and coach visitors in the finer arts of fishing the notorious African tiger fish. By the time I left the lake the safari bug had well and truly bitten.
And so to the South Luangwa National Park, one of Africa’s most awe-inspiring and game-rich safari parks. Here I have been fortunate enough to spend the past eight years of my life living and leading safaris. Working in Zambia is not always easy, but it is always an adventure, and I look forward to sharing these adventures for many years to come.