Travel trends continue to show a growing desire among globetrotters to make a meaningful impact with their journeys. Yet, the impact of responsible tourism goes far beyond mere statistics; it resonates deeply with the essence of a safari experience.
That’s why the people you encounter on your safari with the Zambezi Queen Collection are not just staff members but storytellers, caretakers of culture, and custodians of the land. In short, they’re the people that will make your holiday.
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Read on to discover our amazing people, our community.
Guides: The Guardians of Wilderness Wisdom
Meet Anton, one of the many guides at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge. But he’s much more than just a guide or an expert on the local wildlife. He is a companion to your journey. His knowledge is rooted in personal experience, so he can share not just facts but the stories and secrets of this remarkable landscape. Best of all, Anton knows when to chat and when to let the silence speak, revelling in companionable silence and the tranquillity of the surroundings.
A safari guide can make or break your safari. It’s not merely about having a guide who is well-versed in the textbook knowledge of the African wilderness. What truly makes a difference is having a guide who calls this land home, someone who grew up with the songs of the birds as their lullabies, who can share age-old stories passed down through tribes about the wildlife and birds – just like Anton.
Our guides are all born and bred in the region, bringing a unique perspective to your safari. They don’t recite information from guidebooks; they share incredible, true stories about their lives in this magical corner of southern Africa.
Each guide is a product of the local culture, raised amidst the wisdom of their ancestors. They know the names of the birds in their native tongue, the ancient tales of their tribes, and the secrets of navigating these wild terrains safely. Our guides are also rigorously trained, ensuring that they possess not only this first-hand knowledge but also the textbook expertise to make your safari not just informative but unforgettable.
The Chef’s Table: A Taste of Local Life
Even our culinary experiences are intertwined with the community. The chefs who craft exquisite meals during your journey source their ingredients from local markets and suppliers (or our own little vegetable garden at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge!), supporting the livelihoods of nearby communities. You can savour the flavours of the region while knowing that your meal has contributed to the sustainability of these communities.
Enter Josephine, the creative genius behind some of the Zambezi Queen’s most beloved dishes. One of her standout creations, the delectable lemon meringue, has sparked countless debates among our guests, particularly concerning a subtle hint of coconut in the crust.
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Josephine was born in Katima Mulilo, Namibia. Her career commenced as a housekeeper, where she not only managed the household but also devoted her spare moments to in-house culinary training. It didn’t take long for her to realize her true passion and innate talent. In 2009, Josephine’s culinary prowess led to her appointment as Head Chef on the Zambezi Queen.
Josephine’s culinary skills are matched only by her knack for multitasking. Beyond her role as Head Chef, she’s a proud mother to six children, a testament to her extraordinary ability to juggle many pots on the stove – both literally and figuratively.
You’ll enjoy meeting our talented culinary geniuses (although they may be shy!) and tasting their experience and the region through their creations.
A Captain’s Tale: Navigating the Chobe River
Meet Captain Patrick, one of the talented individuals making sure our elegant Zambezi Queen Collection gets from A to B safely. He didn’t start as a captain; he was involved in the very construction of the Zambezi Queen. But driven by a passion for the river and a desire to be part of this unique experience, he took it upon himself to learn the ropes — literally.
With unwavering dedication and countless hours spent honing his skills, Captain Patrick worked his way up through the ranks. Today, he’s one of the skilled captains navigating the Chobe River, sharing not only his expertise but also his love for the river and its communities.
Front of House: Legends in the Making
Every traveller who has experienced Ichingo Chobe River Lodge knows Kennedy Ilunga, the Front of House Manager. With a perpetual smile and genuine warmth, Kennedy embodies the spirit of hospitality. But there’s more to Kennedy than meets the eye.
Kennedy, like many of our staff, has his own story to tell. Beyond his role as a manager, he’s an avid fisherman. One of our favourite tales from Kennedy is the story of his encounter with a hippo during a fishing trip with his father. In short, his father raced up a tree leaving a slower Kennedy to lag behind! Thankfully, the hippo lost interest and Kennedy survived to tell the tale with a laugh today.
Our people who welcome you into our world are not just professionals but individuals with rich histories and a passion for sharing their stories.
Sustainability: Our Commitment to Community and Conservation
At the Zambezi Queen Collection, sustainability isn’t a buzzword; it’s a way of life. We understand the profound impact that tourism can have on local communities and the environment. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to support the people of the region, employing local residents and providing them with opportunities for growth and development. We are proud to say that we support more than 150 people from the local areas by employing locals exclusively.
By choosing us for your Chobe River safari, you’re not just embarking on an unforgettable journey; you’re also contributing to the well-being of the communities that call this land home.
Open your heart to the Chobe River. It’s people and it’s communities. Once you encounter them, they’ll always have a special place in your heart.
Contact us today to experience a river safari for yourself.