Gorges Lodge and Little Gorges Tented Lodge
Bomani Tented Lodge
Zambezi Sands River Camp
Activities at Gorges and Little Gorges
Birding at Gorges and Little Gorges
How to find Nehimba
How to find Jozibanini
MEET OUR MANAGERS AND A SAMPLE OF OUR GUIDES
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JOHN LAING AND NADINE DU PLESSIS - Operations Manager for our northern safari lodges and Manager of Zambezi Sands respectively
John left a promising career in financial circles in London, where he worked for some big-name financial houses in the field of compliance and security, to return to the African bush, starting his own overland safari operation. He served as operations manager for Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, Gonarezhou National Park, for two years before joining Imvelo.
Nadine gained ten year’s experience in procurement and office administration in the corporate world, before she was poached by partner John to join him ‘on safari' where she managed Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge alongside John for two years.
JANICE KOK - Area Manager for Imvelo properties in southern Hwange National Park and the Elephant Express railcar.
Janice’s love of African scenery and wildlife started from a young age, having been born and bred in Kariba. Janice has 20 years’ experience in customer services and over 10 years in camp management in Hwange and the Zambezi Valley. She has developed great interpersonal skills and will go out of her way to ensure that every guest is comfortable, as well as encouraging the personal input and development of the staff under her supervision, where she is known as ‘Madame.’
DEBBIE SMITH AND CHRIS ESTERHUIZEN - Managers of Gorges
and Little Gorges Lodge
Debbie has been involved with public relations and dealing with people since she left school. Well, that’s not so long ago, is it, Debz? Debz’ forebears arrived in this country in the 1800’s, and Debz grew up in the wild Gwaai Valley adjacent to Hwange National Park. After a successful six year stint in advertising sales, she spun off her own business as a commercial artist, which she ran for five years before starting at Gorges with her partner Chris, back in 2003.
Schooled at Guineafowl in the midlands of Zimbabwe, Chris has spent his lifetime in the bush in the Zambezi and Luangwa Valleys of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Chris – with his pet guinea fowl always at heel – works at Gorges Lodge, and loves nothing more than looking after guests and regaling many an entertaining tale. His specialties are the eagles and falcons of the Batoka Gorge, about whom he passionately educates both guests and local school children alike.
WARREN MILLS AND DESNEE JOSEPH - Assistant managers at Bomani and Camelthorn
Warren was manager of Khulu Ivory, Hwange National Park (part of The Amalinda Collection) for three years; he was also three years with The Torch Hotel, Qatar, where he gained experience in all aspects of food & beverage and functions. He holds a Diploma in Hotel Management, after a three year programme in South Africa.
Desnee has four year’s experience in front-of-house and management of several of Bulawayo’s top independent restaurants; she managed a safari booking agency in Vic Falls for a period, as well as acting as relief manager of Nehimba Lodge in its early years. She holds a City & Guilds Advanced Diploma in Tourism.
MARK ‘BUTCH’ BUTCHER - Managing Director and Guide
Even though ‘Butch’ is Imvelo’s Managing Director, he still spends as much time as he can spare in the bush. Butch’s wildlife career started in 1979, when he became a ranger for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management. He completed a BSc in Zoology and Botany at Rhodes University, before moving on to work for Zimbabwe’s Forestry Commission. As Provincial Wildlife Officer, Butch was responsible for all the wildlife that roamed within 1.8-million acres of indigenous forest. Whilst undertaking this enormous task, he quickly discovered how essential the local people’s support was to the wellbeing of the estate. Butch began to develop programs that would both engage the people and benefit the natural ecosystems. He finally left the Commission to develop these initiatives from the other side of the fence. Butch’s lifelong passion for Hwange – it’s elephants, wildlife and communities – formed the cornerstone for Imvelo Safari Lodges to grow into what it is today.
SIBAHLE ‘SIBS’ SIBANDA - Imvelo Head Guide
Sibs – our Hwange head guide – was born in 1974 and qualified as a professional guide in 2000. Zimbabwe has stringent guide licensing regulations and our pro-guides are widely recognised as some of the best in Africa. Sibs started his career with pioneering Hwange safari operator Touch The Wild, before moving onto Wilderness Safaris in Hwange and Mana Pools and Conservation Corporation Africa in Matetsi. Sibs also spent a year in Botswana, working as a cultural guide with the San people of the Kalahari desert. Sibs’ passion and working knowledge of Western Zimbabwe’s people, Parks and ecosystems turns every tour into an exciting one.
BLESSED MPOFU - Professional Guide & River Guide at Zambezi Sands.
Blessed was two years with Asilia Tanzania at Olivers Camp, and Namiri Plains Camp, Serengeti, as guide and relief manager; and two years with Asilia Mozambique’s Explore Gorongosa operation as camp manager. He was five years with Rani Resorts at Indigo Bay as guide and diving instructor; four years with Rani Resorts at Stanley & Livingstone as activities specialist; four years with Conservation Corporation’s Matetsi Lodges as head guide; and four years with Shearwater as canoeing and safari guide.
HARRIS MUPEDZI - Professional Guide, Bomani and Camelthorn.
Harris has 11 years experience as head guide and assistant general manager Ibo Lodge, Cabo Delgado, north Mozambique. He spent four years as head guide for Landela Safaris at Bumi Hills, Katete and Fothergill Island Lodges, Kariba; and three years with Safari Sun at the same lodges under its previous owners. He started his career as a boat captain and then learner guide at Fothergill, Sanyati and Gache Gache Lodges.
TYRON HURST - Professional Guide at Nehimba Lodge.
Tyron qualified in 2011 with his full guiding licence, after five years apprenticeship in the safari industry around Zimbabwe. Before joining Imvelo in 2016, he worked as a freelance professional guide, primarily taking mobile safaris through Hwange and walking in the Matopos National Park.
CLINT ROBERTSON - Assistant Manager and Learner Guide/River Guide at Zambezi Sands.
Clint previously managed Zimbabwe Life Styles’ mobile and canoeing safaris in Mana Pools, and also guided / assisted management at Chikwenya Lodge, Mana Pools. He also gained useful experience from his time as wildlife manager for the Chengeta / Pamuzinda safari estate near Harare.
VUSA "VUS" NCUBE - Learner Guide, Bomani and Camelthorn
Vusa is at the start of a promising career. He comes from Ngamo Village – only a few kilometres from Camelthorn – and completed his secondary education at Regina Mundi near Sipepa. He moved on to study travel and tourism in Bulawayo and has since been following his passion in the wildlife industry. Vusa has a special interest in birds, and his remarkable ‘spotting’ abilities always add an exciting dimension to game viewing. When conducting Village visits amongst his own community in Ngamo, he brings a very special touch and remarkable insights to this unique experience for our guests. Amongst the young people in these communities he is an incredible role model.
Imvelo Safari Lodges
68 Townsend Road
Tel: +263 29 2252232 | Mobile: +263 783 568 632 or +263 772 155 872 | Fax: +263 29 2232331