“The more time you spend in nature the more you understand your impact on it. We’re a group of travelers and nature lovers who want to show you the incredible spaces we love.”
– Beks Ndlovu on the team at African Bush Camps
Beks Ndlovu is a passionate entrepreneur who began his journey as a professional guide working in his native Zimbabwe. Having grown up in the town of Hwange, a stone’s throw from the renowned Hwange National Park, he was no stranger to the bush. His fascination with wildlife as a young boy turned into a full-blown vision for a new kind of safari experience for travelers to Africa – one where the safari guide is at the very foundation of the journey from beginning to end.
As a professional safari and river guide himself, with years of experience guiding in camps in Southern Africa, Beks knew the importance of harnessing the knowledge of guides to teach guests about Africa. This coincided with his passion for preserving Africa’s most untouched lands and passing on the knowledge and importance of conservation and community empowerment to travelers.
In 2006, Beks took his vision and turned it into reality when he hung up his guiding cap and opened Somalisa Camp in the heart of Hwange. This multi-award-winning camp which started as a humble dream is now the cornerstone of African Bush Camps who, 16 years later, are about to open their 17th luxury tented camp.
We couldn’t wait to sit around the fire with this formidable entrepreneur, passionate conservationist, and safari guide extraordinaire to find out more about his incredible journey.
Being chased by a cow elephant when I was about 10 years old and having the life frightened out of me was my first wildlife encounter, then followed by times in the bush in my school holidays and discovering that there are more ways to learn and get an education that between four walls, I discovered that a career was possible being out in nature.
There are a few stories that had me “hanging on” – one that comes to mind was the terrifying baby elephant that got stuck inside our camp pool and the mother felt helpless and decided she was going to be angry with the entire universe. She proceeded to want to flatten everything around her whilst the rest of the herd milled about restlessly.
She went back and forth and threatened to destroy the camp and everything else in it despite our many attempts to help the baby out of the pool. When a mother elephant is not happy, she is very vocal, her agility is scary and her strength is incredible.
I wouldn’t say it was a defining moment so far as to hang my guiding hat. It was a gradual evolution. I had seen and experienced so much during my guiding years – so much poverty, deterioration of wilderness areas and so much infringement on Africa’s wildlife that I desperately wanted to make a difference.
I felt strongly that having my own camp would give me enough scale to build a team and form a barrage of ambassadors to make a difference. At that stage I was convinced I would be a single camp owner, 16 years later we are about to open our 17th camp with around 600 ambassadors who share their passion for the environment, its wildlife and community.
Our luxury is not so much the hardware but rather the spaces we operate in and the experiences crafted by the best professional hosts and guides. This is our core focus and biggest investment in what we do and this is what differentiates us.
Eco-Tourism is the only way in which we can conserve and protect our Africa, it is the only way we can continue to share what we are passionate about and keep the magic of the rich Africa. One of the most satisfying things about tourism and what we do is being able to witness the almost immediate transformation of our communities and wildlife areas through the work we embark on.
It will always be the first child, Somalisa but there is a long story to that including my first job, my birth village on the outskirts of the Park etc….
Learn from those that have come before you, don’t do it alone and stay humble.
Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou and Morgan Freeman.
If this has inspired you to visit Africa and get a taste of the African Bush Camps experiences first-hand, we can make it happen! Get in touch with a LuxVenture® Designer today and start planning a Southern Africa safari today.