The Team


Robin Pope Safaris is a large family that you will be welcomed into. We all love where we live and what we do. The camps are our homes and we welcome you as guests and hope you leave as friends.

The guide on any holiday is critical - he needs to be informed, knowledgeable, sensitive, with a good sense of humour and fun. And this is especially true on safari where you spend many hours with your guide. We therefore choose our guides very carefully and believe we have a wonderful team that will give the best safari possible.

The Luangwa Safari Association in the South Luangwa, along with the Zambian Wildlife Authority, run the annual guides’ exam and have done so since 1989. The standard of guiding is now extremely high in the South Luangwa, where we now are in the top level of guides in Africa. Robin Pope Safaris take this standard even further and has an ongoing program for training of their guides. They, as a team, are known as the best available. Not only are they extremely knowledgeable but also know how to interpret this knowledge to give their guests a thoroughly enjoyable safari.

Our guest to guide/vehicle ratio is 4:1 (not 6:1 as in most camps, especially bush camps).

This is our safari and management team.

Team photo

Guides

Jason Alfonsi - Mobile Walking Safaris

Born in Zambia but with his Italian roots bursting out through his enthusiasm and passion for the bush Jason has been guiding in the South Luangwa since his gap year in 1984 which never ended. Falling in love with the area he decided that this was where he was staying. An astute conservationist and formidable guide, Jason has been with Robin Pope Safaris since 1991. He is a member of the Zambia Ornithological Society and has a keen interest in Africa's fantastic bird life. He also belongs to a local astronomy club, and his knowledge of the night skies of the Southern Hemisphere makes stopping in a large open area on a night drive far too tempting. Having abandoned the role of camp manager Jason adopts a very relaxed approach and can mostly be found leading our walking safaris up on the Mupamadzi River.

Julius Banda - Tena Tena

Having been with Robin Pope Safaris for many years and adapted himself to a multitude of different jobs, Julius always had his heart set on becoming a guide. Having spent 3 seasons learning about the guest experience and taking guests to and from the airport as well as getting on as many night drives as a spotter as possible, he passed his driving exam in 2010. With a brilliant wit and dry sense of humour, it was not too long until he starts to entertain guests out in the bush with his knowledge and lightness of heart and un-missable passion.

Kangachepe 'Kanga' Banda - Mobile Walking Safaris

'Kanga' was first inspired to become a guide at school where he was an active member of the wildlife and conservation club for four years. After completing school he studied automotive mechanics and moved to the Valley to be a mechanic. Upon arrival he spent every spare moment studying and in 2007 joined Luangwa Bush Camping as a tea bearer. Spending every day in the bush Kanga learnt a lot and passed his exams first time at the top of the class. Kanga is fast becoming one of our guests' favourite guide for his enthusiasm and love of the bush.

Yona Banda - Luangwa River Camp

Born and brought up in Mfuwe, surrounded by nature and with a role model like his uncle Kiki, how could he not become enthralled by wildlife and what it had to offer… With a genuine love for nature and steadfast passion to conserve it, Yona felt that becoming a guide really was the best route for him. Being loud and gregarious, he loves meeting new people, the interaction of it all and making new friends. What better place for Yona to be than behind the wheel of a game viewer showing everyone the magic of the Luangwa.

Braston Daka - Luangwa Bush Camping

Braston joined the RPS team in 2006 with his sights firmly set on becoming a guide. This goal was soon achieved when he passed his exam later that year and started guiding in earnest at Nsefu Camp in May 2007. Having a wonderful and natural awareness for the bush surrounding him, combined with the fact that the game seems to simply gravitate towards him, he cannot help but enthrall guests with his stories and knowledge.

Sebastian Kamwendo - Nsefu

Becoming a guide because “It just seemed like the natural thing to do”. He passed his guiding exam in 1998 and joined Robin Pope Safaris in 2004. Sebastian can occasionally appear a little quieter than some of our other guides. However with an incredibly dry sense of humour and gentle manner, his absolute enjoyment of his profession is evident. Since achieving his walking license in 2005 Sebastian has been concentrating on honing his walking skills and examining the smaller details the bush has to offer.

Chilumba Lungu - Nsefu

Chilumba started his RPS career working at the pontoon (used for accessing the park from Nkwali and the safari houses). His witty comments and eagerness however soon put him on the radar and it was not long before he was quickly snapped up and brought into camp. Working his way up through grounds, waitering and then finally joining the Luangwa Bush Camping team as her tea-bearer. He simply absorbed all the information handed out to the guests during walks and then during siesta time he poured through guiding books. It was not long till he was ready and raring to go for his guides’ exam. Passing first time was no surprise to the team and under the watchful eye of Daudi he is fast becoming one of our young stars out in the bush.

Liwonde 'Kanyama' Faluweck - Mkulumadzi

Born and bred in the Chikwawa district, Liwonde has a very good knowledge of the local area and people and has been an integral part of the Mkulumadzi family from the beginning. After becoming a teacher at the local primary school, Liwonde was recruited by RPS during the building phase in 2010, where he joined us as a stores clerk and a building team supervisor. After the lodge opened in 2011, he stayed on as a driver and soon moved on to the maintenance manager position. His strong personal interest in improving himself, led him to borrow his guiding colleagues nature books and he studied them thoroughly, eventually getting to the point where we wrote his internal guides exam, and qualified as a trainee guide. Since 2012 he has been guiding regularly and his passion and enthusiasm for the bush is infectious.

Obi Mukabiko - Robin's House

Born and brought up in the Copper Belt, Northern Zambia, Obi started his journey here through the hotel industry. Having completed a Food and Beverage course he started working for a chain of hotels which eventually brought him to the South Luangwa. Once here he became enamoured by the wildlife around him and so took every opportunity available to get out in the park, from being a tea bearer on walks to spotting on evening game drives. He soon realised that this was where his passion was and so changed his career, becoming a full time guide in 1992. Joining RPS in 2002 Obi has become the guide for Robin’s House. Here he has created his own fan club of young followers as he draws both parents and especially children into his world. After game drives with the whole family he has often been seen turning a simple walk to the garden with the children into their own private walking safari.
Obi has previously traveled within the US.

Thomas Njobvu – Nsefu

Thomas started life with RPS as a groundsman and every evening he would be the first to put up his hand to accompany the guides as their spotter on night drives. Working hard and studying harder it was not long before his knowledge and keen love of the bush was noticed. Thomas started to work as a transfer driver and his obvious comfort with guests shone through. Taking his guides licence in 2013 he passed first time and although he is still young is fast becoming a favorite and under the careful supervision of both Kiki and Daudi - he really is learning from the best.

Chris Mwale - Nkwali

Whilst at school Chris joined the tourism club and from then wanted to be in the industry. Joining the RPS team in 2011 as a driver and also helping with the hosting it wasn’t long before his deep love and enjoyment for nature pushed him towards becoming a guide. Taking his licence in 2013 and passing first time he has enjoyed sharing his knowledge and enjoyment of the bush with all those he takes out on safari.

Nyambe Musiyalela - Tena Tena

Hailing from the Western Province near the Liuwa Plain National Park, Nyambe explored Zambia in search of employment after completing his secondary education. Upon arrival in Mfuwe he found a job as a stores-man in one of the camps. Being surrounded by the Luangwa Valley Nyambe was inspired to start training for his guide’s license. He has been with Robin Pope Safaris since 2001 and a resident of the Valley for 13 years. Everyone always enjoys his quiet enthusiasm and quirky sense of humour.

Erik Nyman - Mkulumadzi

Born along the Rufiji river in Tanzania, it was somehow already decided from the start that Erik was going to live his life in Africa's wild places.
His profound passion for the bush showed him the way to wildly remote areas in Tanzania, the Central African Republic and Mozambique. Guiding and interpreting the wilderness is second nature to him and as a young guide, he has fully shouldered the responsibility of raising awareness about wildlife conservation in Africa, a more important job now than ever before. Erik is a great companion to have on safari, whether you are sneaking up on a sleeping buffalo or admiring the brightly colored sunbirds, his enthusiasm is contagious and the love for his job is real.

Bertrame Njobvu - Tena Tena

From working as a grounds man at Nkwali, Bertrame's bright nature and interest in the wildlife became ever more apparent. Starting him off in the workshop during the rainy season of 2004/2005, getting him used to all manner of vehicles and learning some basic mechanics, it was not long until he became involved with more and more guest transfers. This interaction with guests came as a natural transition and having spent a year doing this and absorbing huge amounts of information, he sat and passed his guides exam in 2006. Starting his guiding career that same year at Tena Tena, Bertrame has become a very rounded and knowledgeable guide. He is now the manager at our flagship Tena Tena Camp.

Daudi Njobvu - Luangwa River Camp

Otherwise known as 'The President' Daudi has been guiding in the South Luangwa since 1990, joining Robin Pope Safaris in 1997 as a guide at TenaTena. He later became manager of the camp and since 2004 has been the proud and steady manager of Nsefu Camp before moving to Luangwa River Camp. Growing up with his father being in National Parks he always had an interest in wildlife - joining the wildlife conservation club at school. However it was not until after his apprenticeship with Bill Astler, a botanist, that he made the decision to become a guide. Daudi's honest and gentle way of managing has resulted in a very united and enthusiastic team.

Frederick 'Fred' Phiri - Nkwali

Having reluctantly been released from the kitchen where he was one of our top chefs, Fred decided that he wanted to follow a career as a safari guide. As with all of our team who choose this route,he was put in the workshop to learn the ins and outs of mechanics then spend time taking our guests to and from the airport and learning the "RPS way". A natural at chatting with the guests, he has a larger than life personality. Fred is incredibly self-motivated and although he spent a lot of time spotting on night drives, he primarily taught himself about the wildlife in the national park. Sitting the exams in 2010 he passed first time and is now honing his skills before becoming a fully-fledged RPS walking guide.

Keyala 'Kiki' Phiri - Nkwali

Born in Mfuwe and looking up to his father who worked as a ranger in National Parks. Keyala dreamt of following in his footsteps whether it be working for the Zambian Wildlife Authority or in the safari industry. After finishing his schooling he soon found a job with RPS working in the office and learning the ropes. However, keeping him behind a desk after 15:30 became rather trying as he somehow managed to disappear most evenings as a spotter on game drives. It soon became apparent that his huge personality and infectious laugh was not going to remain confined to the office. Keyala started guiding full time in 1997, becoming the manager of Nkwali Camp in 2002. In 2006, with the company expanding further, Keyala became the overall manager of Nkwali and both safari houses as well as Senior Safari Manager. Keyala has traveled in both the UK and USA; and completed his MBA studies in the UK.

Jacob Shawa - Luangwa Safari House

With several older brothers being involved in National Parks, Jacob was surrounded by books on wildlife as he was growing up. This interest continued to be developed at school where he was made chairman of the wildlife club. This often involved taking tours to visit Norman Carr who would encourage the children to get involved in conservation by giving them talks and taking them on small informative tours. Passing his guiding exam in 1997 and joining RPS in 1999, he was firstly based at Nsefu then in 2005 moved to Nkwali where he became assistant manager. He soon became the head guide for Luangwa House when it opened. Jacobs's enthusiasm and knowledge about everything that the bush has to offer from the smallest insect to the largest mammals is what has made him perfect for guiding at Luangwa House. Adapting his guiding for each group, it has even been known for him to come back from a game drive with children on board and in fact the entire vehicle joining in a sing along.

Management

Juan & Alzaane Fourie - Mkulumadzi

Juan and Alzaane head up the team at Mkulumadzi.

Jason & Belinda Hendry - Stanley Safari Lodge

Jason and Belinda head up the team at Stanley Safari Lodge.

Josh & Christelle Conradie - Pumulani

Josh and Christelle manage the brightest star on Lake Malawi: Pumulani.

Kangachepe 'Kanga' Banda - Mobile Walking Safaris

'Kanga' was first inspired to become a guide at school where he was an active member of the wildlife and conservation club for four years. After completing school he studied automotive mechanics and moved to the Valley to be a mechanic. Upon arrival he spent every spare moment studying and in 2007 joined Luangwa Bush Camping as a tea bearer. Spending every day in the bush Kanga learnt a lot and passed his exams first time at the top of the class. Kanga is fast becoming one of our guests' favourite guide for his enthusiasm and love of the bush.

Daudi Njobvu - Luangwa River Camp

Otherwise known as 'The President' Daudi has been guiding in the South Luangwa since 1990, joining Robin Pope Safaris in 1997 as a guide at TenaTena. He later became manager of the camp and since 2004 has been the proud and steady manager of Nsefu Camp before moving to Luangwa River Camp. Growing up with his father being in National Parks he always had an interest in wildlife - joining the wildlife conservation club at school. However it was not until after his apprenticeship with Bill Astler, a botanist, that he made the decision to become a guide. Daudi's honest and gentle way of managing has resulted in a very united and enthusiastic team.

Keyala 'Kiki' Phiri - Nkwali

Born in Mfuwe and looking up to his father who worked as a ranger in National Parks. Keyala dreamt of following in his footsteps whether it be working for the Zambian Wildlife Authority or in the safari industry. After finishing his schooling he soon found a job with RPS working in the office and learning the ropes. However, keeping him behind a desk after 15:30 became rather trying as he somehow managed to disappear most evenings as a spotter on game drives. It soon became apparent that his huge personality and infectious laugh was not going to remain confined to the office. Keyala started guiding full time in 1997, becoming the manager of Nkwali Camp in 2002. In 2006, with the company expanding further, Keyala became the overall manager of Nkwali and both safari houses as well as Senior Safari Manager. Keyala has traveled in both the UK and USA; and completed his MBA studies in the UK.

Jason Alfonsi - Mobile Walking Safaris

Leading walks with great enthusiasm, skill and laughter.

Braston Daka - Luangwa Bush Camping

With great aplomb, Braston is guiding guests at Luangwa Bush Camping.

Sebastian Kamwendo - Nsefu

Sebastian manages the camp with his incredibly dry sense of humor and gentle manner.

Obi Mukabiko - Robin's House

Over 15 years of experience in the industry - our family man for Robin's House.

Bertrame Njobvu - Tena Tena

Is managing the camp with his cool enthusiasm which belies his cheeky sense of humor.

Charl Grobler - Pumulani

Charl manages the brightest star on Lake Malawi – Pumulani!

Jacob Shawa - Luangwa Safari House

The man with the most amazing talents and passion for guiding.

Office Team

Emily Haynes

Operations & Logistics ~ Emily Haynes, with plenty of experience; she’ll be making sure everything is ship shape in Zambia.

Munyama Mudaala

Reservations ~ Munyama Mudaala heads up our reservation team, ably assisted by: Gerald Nyirenda, Sakhile Mudaala and Richard Mwansabamba.

Geno Paringira

Marketing~ Geno Paringira is based in South Africa where she is leading our marketing endeavours along with Steph Naidoo.

Directors

Ton de Rooy

Managing Director ~ Ton de Rooy, he keeps a tight eye on everything, including the cash.

Margaux de Rooy

Executive Director ~ Margaux de Rooy makes sure things are always running smoothly.

Rob Clifford

Operations Director ~ Rob Clifford, with years of experience in the safari industry, will make sure he guides us in the right direction.