Below you will find pictures of EdJan and Robyn van der Heide proud parents of three daughters and owners of Mukambi Safaris. You will find a picture of Edjan with Freek, the famous Dutch biologist who made some special educating films for the Dutch Television.
About us – The Mukambi Family
In 2002 Edjan and Robyn van der Heide decided to switch their comfortable but predictable life style from The Netherlands to Zambia. Robyn was born in Africa and had always longed to go back and Edjan felt like Zambia could still offer real adventure… and adventure is what they got…
They moved to the biggest National Park in Africa which was a six hour drive over bad roads to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. There were no neighbours within a couple of hours’ drive so they were all by themselves! A Dutch television producer visited Mukambi and decided it was worth filming their life style and all the trials and tribulations of running a safari lodge. The result was a two-year Dutch television series, called ‘From Amstelveen to Zambia’.
When they moved to Zambia their two eldest children, Eva and Ellen were 4 and 3 years old. The move was not difficult for them as they learned to speak English within 3 months of living in Zambia. In 2002 their youngest daughter Lara was born in Livingstone, close to the Victoria Falls (her full name is Lara Victoria).
The family lived and managed Mukambi Safari Lodge for 5 years and during that time the children were home-schooled. It was a great time for the kids to grow up in the biggest National Park of Africa with pets like warthogs, impalas and bush buck. Edjan is currently managing the lodge again while Robyn is in Lusaka where the children go to school.
Edjan says: “We still enjoy the life we chose and never regretted the big step of moving to Zambia. For the next few years we also want to further improve the quality of life of the local people through the Mukambi Community School and to conserve Kafue National Park for the next generations. This will be done in close cooperation with Game Rangers International”.
The Mukambi managements is relatively small, to start we have Edjan and Robyn van der Heide as directors.
Madelein is our reservations manager and together with her team and N’tanga Nguluka she handles the emails, bookings, transfers, check ins and check outs.
Around 95% of the Mukambi staff comes from the surrounding communities, other staff members come from Lusaka, Livingstone and some from other African countries.
Stewart is our Lodge manager. Most of our staff members work for many years with Mukambi and we expect that in the coming years you can meet the next generation (their children that went to the Mukambi Community School).
David our head chef is leading the kitchen. He has a big and experienced team that is responsible for Mukambi’s famous food. David is still bisitng other lodges and hotels on a regular basis to keep in touch with the latest food trends. David’s newest challenge is pizza’s and many other dishes he can make in the new wood stove pizza oven at Mukambi.
Mukambi Safaris has very experienced and highly qualified guides. The fact that the Mukambi guides scored extremely well during the Kafue guides exams does make us proud, but it does not surprise us. It takes years of training, practice and studying to become a good guide and out guests can acknowledge that our guides are amongst the best. Our longest serving guides are Gilbert, Akim, Ferrison, Leckson and Frazer. Not to mention their mentor and manager Victor.
Victor Shibomba is slowly but surely becoming a legend in Kafue National Park, he is head of our guides, but does so much more. He is also our longest serving employee with lots of stories to tell and experiences to share. Victor keeps improving the level of the guiding year in year out and you can experience yourself that he has done well.
Although everybody is trying to ‘be green’ these days, some operators are doing this in response to popular demand. It should be coming from a real desire to make a change in the area where they operate, reducing their carbon footprint and by helping the local communities.
Mukambi Safari Lodge is very proud of what we have accomplished so far.
Lonely Planet has selected Mukambi Safari Lodge as one of the few lodges in Zambia that demonstrates an active responsible tourism policy. This is done in several areas. We will mention a few:
Although we offer 24/7 electricity to our guests, this is a challenge since we are 120 kilometres from the nearest power grid. We use solar technology with a battery bank to achieve this. With this technology we only run a generator for 4 hours a day and are still able to offer 24/7 hours electricity.
95% of the Mukambi Staff comes from the local communities surrounding Kafue National Park. We started the Mukambi community school with the intention to give our staff both adult education and to provide education for the local communities in an area where no good schools exist. The results have been spectacular. We now have 3 teachers in permanent employment at the Mukambi community school, 70 children go to school and all our staff and family members have access to education.
Mukambi Safari Lodge proudly supports the chieftainess of our area with farming supplies and farming tools like ploughs and oxen. Direct employment is offered to over 50 staff members on a permanent contract basis.
Mukambi Safaris is active in the conservation of Kafue National Park. Our managing director is the chairman of the Kafue Park Operator Association and works closely together with the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) to stop the poaching and other conservation goals in Kafue National Park.
Award winning Television Shows
From Amstelveen to Zambia Enjoy the television series ‘Van Amstelveen naar Afrika’. It is dedicated to the founders of Mukambi Safari Lodge, the Dutch van der Heide family.
Freek on Safari An award winning television series called ‘Freek op Safari’ was filmed at Mukambi Safari Lodge. Freek is dedicated to teaching children about the African bush and wildlife. You can find it here.
Click here to watch the promotional video about Zambia!