Hannah is originally from Zambia and grew up on a farm in Mkushi before moving to Australia in 2001 with her family to attend schooling and broaden her horizons, a time in her life she looks back on fondly. She has always had a passion for travelling and adventure, a sense of wanderlust, love for the outdoors and an active life both on land and in the water.
After spending two years working on a 5-star Adventure boat travelling around Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, she felt drawn back to her Zambian roots, and the intimate connection with the people here who provide a warm feeling of home. Royal Zambezi Lodge stole a piece of her heart, and it was love at first light (the sunsets are to die for!). We are honoured to have her as a part of our team and to share her passion for Africa with others in our Zambezi home.
Born in Mufulira Zambia, Billy spent the more significant part of his childhood in the Copperbelt. He moved to Lusaka to study hospitality management at the Hotel and Hospitality Training Institute.
As one of the top graduating students in his class, Billy was quickly snapped up by one of the largest tour operators in Zambia where he worked for several years before coming to join us at Royal. He is a fantastic host, calm and reliable, always willing to go the extra mile to extend Zambia’s down to earth hospitality. Billy wakes up every morning with a cheerful smile ready to tackle what the day brings. In his spare time, he likes to play football as he is a staunch follower of Manchester United.
Chisulo Martin Chanda the third, originally from the northern part of Zambia in a village called Chinsali, is proud to be from the same area Zambia’s first president also originates from. Martin is amongst a large family of seven siblings and is the fifth born and born on 12th of March. He was raised by both his parents during his younger years but is especially appreciative of the values and inspiration instilled in him by his amazing mother, Theresa Chileshe. In the African custom, traditions discourage men from doing woman’s chores; however, Martins mother raised him differently which led to his love of cooking. The inspiration his mother instilled in him led him to work hard to save money after completion of his tertiary education to train as a Chef. However, when he applied at a Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute, he was recommended for the management class and ended up loving every bit of this industry.
Martin has always had a love of nature and meeting people. His experience stems from being part of an elite few that were chosen from the training institute by Wilderness Safaris to join their team. His journey began here, and it was a dream come true to do what he loved. He joined the Royal team in November 2016 and loves that the team cares for each other like family, the location is dynamic and appreciates when guests turn into friends – which is more often than not!
You can often find Martin sitting at the campfire in the evenings, sharing stories with guests about the vibrant Zambian cultures and his life growing up in the Zambian wilderness.
Vanessa grew up across the river in Zimbabwe and has called Zambia home since 2003. Her earlier years were spent competing in outdoor sports, and after marrying a farmer and living on a farm, she naturally moved into administration type roles that could fit in with the remote freedom of farm life.
Vanessa joined the Royal Zambezi team in 2008 and has proudly managed all aspects of the reservations function single-handedly for ten years. She puts every effort into efficient responses and enjoys building relationships with both agents and guests and ensuring all expectations are met. Being a valued and integral part of Royal Zambezi Lodge, Vanessa loves being a part of the Royal family and getting positive feedback from happy guests.
Chileya was born and raised in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. Some of her fondest memories are of family holidays in the most remote areas of the country, where she turned a curiosity about wildlife into a genuine appreciation of nature and the great outdoors. At boarding school in rural Zambia, Chileya cultivated passions for camping, hiking, exploring, rock-climbing and bird-watching.
She went on to spend her university years abroad and following this her early career was spent in Media and Advertising until a golden opportunity to swap the big city life for the wilds of Lower Zambezi presented itself. Chileya jumped at the chance with open arms and hasn’t looked back since. She derives an enormous amount of joy from inspiring local and international travellers to explore one of Africa’s most magnificent wilderness frontiers while spoiling themselves to the safari luxury at Royal Zambezi Lodge. A country with vast beauty and diverse culture, Chileya intends to continue on her quest to motivate more and more people to fall in love with this part of the world, just as it has stolen a piece of her heart.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Lauren grew up as a farmer’s daughter on a cattle ranch where she discovered her love for the African bush at a young age. Playtime consisted of being outside in nature with her brothers – building forts in trees, riding horses, playing hide n seek in the maize crops, lawn cricket, swimming in reservoirs & the occasional consumption of Chongololo’s (African Millipede), mud pies & sheep poop. The last three she strongly believes helped develop the strong immune system she needed to withstand the English weather in her next chapter. Lauren spent a brief period of 3 years in London, living amongst fellow Zimbabweans in Zimbledon, sorry – Wimbledon, where she worked in recruitment & cultivated her love for people.
The undeniable love & passion Lauren has for Africa is what made her move back to Zimbabwe where she established her Marketing career in tourism. She learned that it truly makes such a difference to promote something you love – and Africa was it! Privileged to have worked with some of the best across the industry in Zimbabwe, Lauren was curious to learn more about neighbouring Zambia, a country with which Zimbabwe shares so much history. Having joined the “Royal” family in 2016, Lauren was given the opportunity to immerse herself in the diverse landscapes and rich cultures of Zambia and fell in love with the incredible people, unpredictable wildlife encounters and the essence of ‘space’ that Zambia is still able to offer.