Kafunta Safaris Team

Ron and Anke Cowan 2023

DIRECTORS AND OWNERS

Kafunta began many years ago with the Cowans… In 1988, Ron and Anke met in Ron’s native Australia when Anke was travelling. Ron joined her on her adventure, continuing through Asia and on to Germany, Anke’s home, where they planned the next leg. In 1990, in their trusty Land Rover, they journeyed through Africa, spending time in Malawi before falling in love with the Luangwa Valley in Zambia. Kafunta River Lodge was built in 1998 and has been their home ever since.

Read Ron & Anke’s story here. 

 

MANAGEMENT

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SAM NKHOMA CHIWAYU

Operations Manager

Sam was born in Chipata and attended school in Mfuwe. His safari experience started at Mfuwe Lodge, where he qualified as a grade 2 guide in 1998 and a couple of years later he was the first indigenous Zambian to top the Walking exams. He spent several years conducting mobile trips from Nairobi to Cape Town before returning to Zambia, holding senior positions with Wilderness Safaris as well as Sanctuary Retreats, along with managing boutique hotels such as Latitude 15 in Lusaka. Along the way Sam completed a diploma in Hotel Operations followed by a baccalaureate in Hospitality Administration and Business Administration. But the appeal of the bush (and wearing khaki shorts again) was too strong. We are delighted to have Sam as our Operations Manager since December 2021.

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THEUNS KRUGER

Bush Camp Operations Manager

Theuns, or TJ as we call him, was born in South Africa in 1976. He was brought up on a game farm, sleeping next to camp fires from the age of two. Always fascinated by all creatures big and small he spent hours walking and enjoying nature and at the age of 8 he was taking guests out on safaris on his parents’ game farm. With Africa in his blood, TJ started managing game lodges in 2011 as well as completed a FGASA Level 1 field guide course. It has been a life long dream for him to come and experience the South Luangwa Valley. Since 2018 TJ has taken on several roles overlooking the smooth operation of our remote camps, coordinating logistics and assisting at the lodge in the low season. 

Martin

MARTIN MBEWE

Safari Manager & Senior Guide Island Bush Camp Manager

Martin was born in 1965 from the Kunda tribe and has fulfilled his lifetime dream of becoming a safari guide. Martin joined Kafunta in 1997 when we first built the lodge and has been with us all along! His pleasant nature, incredible knowledge and irresistible sense of humour have made him one of most respected guides in the Luangwa Valley.  Martin is looking after our guiding team and since 2022 he’s also managing Island Bush Camp, his all time favorite, where he is also guiding. 

Levy Chulu

LEVY CHULU

Maintenance Manager

Born in Kitwe in the Copperbelt, Levy came with his parents to the Eastern Province when he was still a young child. Following in his father’s step, he became a mechanic and was one of the first staff members hired at Kafunta over 20 years ago. Ever since he has worked closely with Ron & Anke Cowan to build and to constantly improve all our properties. Although you are more likely to find him under the hood of a vehicle, Levy oversees the overall state of the lodge and camps as our Maintenance Manager.

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IZZY DEFOURNY

Sales & Marketing Manager

Izzy is a French-speaking Belgian who has been roaming the world working for high end hotels and resorts for over 25 years. In 2009 she landed in Southern Africa and fell in love with the African bush. With an exceptional background in customer service and marketing, she joined us in 2015 as Sales & Reservations Manager. Nowadays Izzy works mostly remotely from her home in Belgium looking after our sales and marketing duties. She’s the face of our company for many of our trade partners and our voice behind our social media and newsletters.

Betty

BETTY MWABA

Kafunta Host

Betty was born in Mpika and raised in Lusaka, growing up in a big family filled with daily challenges. That’s exactly why  working in the tourism industry reminds her of home!  A graduate from the Zambia Institute of Tourism & Hospitality, she started her career at The Quorum, an exclusive boutique hotel in Lusaka. Seeking a bush experience,  Betty joined Kafunta in April 2022 and was immediately smitten! Her enthusiasm and cheerful nature make her a brilliant host for our guests.

Precious

PRECIOUS KAIRA

Kafunta Host

Introducing Precious, a true local gem hailing from Mfuwe. With a genuine love for the tourism industry, Precious began her journey with us behind the bar and swiftly worked her way up to become one of our cherished hosts. Her warm and welcoming smile is a familiar sight around the camp, adding a special touch to your stay. In her quest to continually enhance her skills, Precious has completed international courses in Hospitality and Management, further enriching her knowledge and ensuring that your Kafunta Safaris experience is nothing short of exceptional.

Ritta, our reservationist

RITTA KAWINA

Reservations Coordinator

Ritta was born and raised in Lusaka, and in her early 20’s she spent time in Uganda where she graduated with a diploma in Tourism Management.  She has spent over 12 years handling reservations  for companies such as Stars of Africa, Sanctuary Retreats (A&K) and Chiawa Safaris. A mother of three children, Ritta loves cooking and travelling, and enjoys short escapes to the bush. Based in her home office in Lusaka, she looks after all our reservations and answers calls and emails from our guests around the world.  

Paige Swanepoel

PAIGE SWANEPOEL

Reservations & Social Media Coordinator

Born in Zimbabwe and having lived in Zambia for almost 20 years, Paige brings a rich background and a deep connection to the region. She pursued her studies in Cape Town, receiving degrees in Event Management and in Marketing Management.

Her experience is diverse, having worked for one of Zambia’s top travel agencies and gaining some hands-on experience in the Kafue National Park.

Paige’s dream of working in the bush has come true at Kafunta, where she can combine her love for social media with her deep passion for the wilderness. She’s a massive elephant lover! 

You’ll find Paige all over the camp, whether welcoming guests, answering reservations in the office, or running around taking photos to post on social media.

SAFARI GUIDES

Our guides are extremely well trained and knowledgeable. The majority of them have passed the high level Grade 1 safari exams and are qualified to escort walking and driving safaris. They will ensure your trip is both safe and memorable. With their extensive knowledge, they can provide insight into the complex and fascinating world of the African wildlife and habitat, as well as local traditions, beliefs and bush remedies as only a traditional, local guide can.

Kelvin Zulu

Kelvin Zulu

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ANDREW MWANZA

Guide Paul Ngoma

PAUL NGOWA

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David Tembo

Joseph Zulu

Guide Thomas Manza

Thomas Mwanza

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Solomon Tembo

Guide Neddy Simfukwe

Neddy Simfukwe

STAFF

We are proud to say that a high number of the local staff that helped us build Kafunta are still working at the lodge. Many of them have had the opportunity to train in professions like room attendants, barmen, mechanics, waiters and cooks. We employ more than 30 permanent workers and many more during the season. Most of our staff are from the local tribal villages and we are always happy to offer young Zambians the opportunity to train in different professions and further their careers.

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