The Kafunta Safaris Team

Directors and Owners

Ron & Anke Cowan and Their Son Luke

Die Cowans gründeten die Kafunta-Familie vor vielen Jahren. Ron und Anke lernten sich 1988 in Australien, Rons Heimat, kennen, als Anke herumreiste. Gemeinsam setzten sie ihre Reise fort, zunächst durch Asien, dann zurück zu Anke nach Deutschland. Dort planten sie ihr nächstes großes Abenteuer.

1990 nahmen sie einen Landrover, um Afrika zu bereisen, blieben einige Zeit in Malawi und entdeckten dann das Luangwa-Tal in Sambia. Hier gründeten sie 1993 ihr eigenes Unternehmen und bauten 1998 die Kafunta-Lodge.

“Wir verliebten uns sofort ins Luangwa-Tal und beschlossen: Hier bleiben wir!“

Ron und Anke heirateten 1995 im Luangwa-Tal, 1999 wurde ihr Sohn Luke geboren. Seine Grundschulzeit verbrachte Luke in Kafunta, wo er Hausunterricht erhielt – in einer richtigen Busch-Schule! Jetzt besucht er die High School in Australien, und die Familie pendelt zwischen dem Zuhause in Perth und dem Zuhause in Kafunta, wo sie auch ihre Ferien verbringen. Anke und Ron sind voll damit beschäftigt, gemeinsam die Lodge zu leiten, und wenn sie in Kafunta sind, nehmen sie den Nachmittagstee häufig zusammen mit ihren Gästen ein.
Fragen Sie sie ruhig nach Kafuntas Anfängen, sie haben sicher die eine oder andere Geschichte zu erzählen, wie man eine Lodge im entlegenen Afrika aufbaut und wie es sich so mitten im Busch lebt!

“Anfangs haben wir unsere Gäste häufig selbst in den Park begleitet, doch heute müssen wir uns um so viel kümmern, dass wir das nicht mehr schaffen. Also warten wir, dass die Tiere zu uns kommen…. Und sie besuchen uns regelmäßig bei der Lodge!“

Operations Manager

Anelle Dessels

Anelle’s passion for hospitality started over 22 years ago when she took on a part-time waitressing job as a teenager while attending school in South Africa. After finishing school she moved to the UK and continued waitressing while also travelling the world, and eventually settled as manager of a fine-dining English pub in Oxfordshire.

This is where she honed her skills in first class food & beverage services, and exceptional guest attention. During her eight years with the company she had the privilege of meeting several Michelin star chefs. In 2013 Anelle decided to move back to South Africa, as she was longing for the African sun, but could not bear the thought of working for a city property. That is when she discovered the bush.  On her first night she experienced the call of a lion and the whoop of a hyena, and she was hooked.
After one season as Kafunta Lodge Manager, Anelle was promoted to Operations Manager

Lodge Manager

Theuns Kruger

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. After managing Three Rivers Camp during the 2018 season, we are delighted to see TJ step up in the role of Kafunta Lodge Manager.

Assistant Manager

Wilson Malambo

Wilson was born in the Southern Province and belongs to the Tonga tribe. After completion of his tourism studies in 2001, he worked in different sectors of the tourism industry before joining Kafunta River Lodge in 2005. Wilson is in charge of most of the admin work at the lodge, along with assisting with overall front office operations. His scope of work however extends way beyond the grounds of the lodge. He is also the Community Liaison Officer for the Luangwa Safari Association, and being passionate about soccer, he has managed the growth of the various soccer leagues, and is the “go-to” patron of the recently-created Mfuwe Sports Association.

Hospitality Manager

Courtney Hoffman

Canadian by passport, Courtney was born in Zambia and has a vast knowledge and love for her country. She has travelled within Africa (and the world) following a travel bug before settling down once again in the South Luangwa Bush. Courtney studied Hospitality and Tourism and has extensive Experience in Guest Relations in 5-Star Resorts in Canada and New Zealand. She’s thrilled to join us for the season here at Kafunta River Lodge as our Hospitality Manager.

Maintenance Manager

Levy Chulu

Born in Kitwe in the Copperbelt, Levy came with his parents to the Easrn 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.

Sales & Reservations Manager

Isabelle (Izzy) Defourny

zzy was born in French-speaking Belgium but has been roaming the world working for high end hotels and resorts for over 20 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 Europe or where marketing missions may take her; although she always looks forward to spending several weeks at the lodge twice a year.

Three Rivers Camp Manager

Dave Pugh

Dave was born in Nairobi (Kenya) and grew up in the UK. From an early age he’s always been fascinated by the great outdoors and the natural world. At 27 he decided to leave his job as a Bar manager in London and to head to South Africa to take part in a wildlife research volunteer program.

It’s fair to say he’s never looked back! Enamored with the sights, sounds and life of the bush he knew he didn’t want to be anywhere else. After passing his Field Guide training, he worked in Botswana as camp manager and for the next 3 years explored east Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi before returning to South Africa where he set his own business for 5 years.

A keen wildlife photographer and sports enthusiast, Dave now spent over 10 years in Africa and the bush is the one place he’s felt most at home.

Island Bush Camp Manager 

Stephan Joubert

Stephan was born and raised in the northern part of Kwazulu Natal (South Africa), and grew up on his family farm just outside Dundee. From a young age he appreciated the outdoors and respected what it has to offer. After matriculating he studied tourism and psychology, but felt the need to explore other cultures. So for the best part of the next 5 years Stephan lived and worked in England managing all sorts of major sporting and social events. He returned to South Africa to work in a large restaurant as a senior kitchen manager for 5 years, but longed for the outdoors, the peace and quiet, and the quality of life that only being in nature can offer. He switched to a boutique hotel in the Drakensberg on a nature reserve, where he was the General Manager.

For Stephan, being close to nature is the most important thing. He’ll happily tell you what his two most important life lessons are: to make time to stop and smell the roses (or whatever flower the bush has to offer!), and appreciate the moment you find yourself in. And secondly, when in doubt you must light the fire and have a braai.



Safari Guides

Unsere Guides, mit denen Sie auf Safari gehen, sind alle hervorragend ausgebildet und überaus kenntnisreich. Alle haben ihre Ausbildung zum Safariführer 1. Ranges beendet und sind dafür qualifiziert, sowohl Fußsafaris als auch Game Drives durchzuführen. Sie sorgen dafür, dass Ihr Aufenthalt sicher ist und interessant verläuft. Mit ihrem umfassenden Wissen können sie die komplexen und faszinierenden Zusammenhänge der afrikanischen Flora und Fauna und ihrer Lebensräume vermitteln, aber auch Fakten über lokale Traditionen, Kultur und Buschmedizin. Das können eben nur Guides aus der Gegend.

Martin Mbewe

Safari Manager & Senior Guide

Martin wurde 1965 geboren und gehört zu den Kunda. Er hat seinen Lebenstraum verwirklicht und wurde Guide: 1997 kam er mit seiner Frau Lydia zu Kafunta. Durch seine freundliche Art und seine Liebe zum Detail hat er sich einen sehr guten Namen als Safariführer gemacht, und unsere Gäste mögen ihn sehr.

Jabes Banda

Chapuma Chirwa

John Mwape

Andrew Mwanza

Cephas Malipita

Joseph Mfune

Paul Ngowa


Wir sind stolz darauf, dass ein Großteil der Menschen aus der Gegend, die Kafunta mit uns aufbauten, immer noch in der Lodge arbeiten. Viele von ihnen konnten sich im Zimmerservice, als Barkeeper, Mechaniker, Ober und als Koch bewähren.

Wir haben mehr als 30 Angestellte und während der Hauptsaison zusätzliche Helfer. Die meisten Mitarbeiter stammen aus Dörfern der Umgebung, und wir freuen uns immer, wenn wir jungen Menschen aus Sambia die Gelegenheit bieten können, verschiedene Berufe zu erlernen und sich darin weiterzuentwickeln.