Guiding Interviews: Victor Kanzala Guide from 2006 – 2014 in the Lower Zambezi National Park

1. How and why did you become a guide?

Guiding is my hobby and my career. I was privileged to grow up in Mugurameno village in the Chiawa Game Management area, where wild life is abundant and the impact of poaching is low. I have always had an interest in wildlife, nature and conservation and have wanted to be a guide from an early age. Whilst living in the village as a young boy I was inspired by the Zimbabwean guides that I used to see canoeing down the river and wanted to do the same. I also learnt about conservation from ZAWA officers that used to live in the village and this further fuelled my interest in guiding. I initially started work in the safari industry as a staff cook and then as a waiter, however I communicated my interest in guiding to my managers and was soon given the opportunity to start training as a spotter and a guide. I was a trainee guide for two seasons before fully qualifying as a guide in 2008.

Do you have a specialism? What are you most interested in?

I am an avid birder. The rarest bird I have seen is a Narina Trogan by Chongwe Falls area and in the park. One of my favourite birds to spot is the Pearls fishing owl.

2. What has been your favourite sighting to date?

A Mozambican spiting cobra fighting with a honey badger, you normally only read about these things and don’t expect to see them in real life, the fight lasted 15minutes and the snake was killed and eaten.

3. What’s your favourite guiding activity?

I like walking and canoeing because you can share a lot more knowledge with the guests and teach them about all the flora and fauna and about birds and insects.

4. If you could go to any other country to see its wildlife, where would you choose?

Botswana – because it has good wildlife and the Okavanga is beautiful. There are a lot of wild dogs and cheetah.

5. What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to become a guide?

To have self-respect and be focused. Believe in yourself. Don’t do it for money you have to make it part of your life. If you do it for money it won’t work out.
I keep myself passionate by not getting bored. Every client is special to me and I want to share that knowledge and then I feel I have done my work. I also learn from my clients about other areas.