Any safari camp is only as good as its people on the ground and behind the scenes. We are proud of our dedicated team and each of its thirty-odd members is an important cog in the well-oiled machine that is Baines’ River Camp. Let us introduce you to some.
Debbie McCarthy – Lodge Manageress
Definitely one of the most glamorous lodge manageress’ on the Zambezi River, Debbie has taken Baines’ River Camp to a higher level. Her passion for food, people and the Zambezi, together with her incredible organisational skills and calm demeanour, ensure that all guests feel at home immediately.
Debbie grew up in South Africa and Zimbabwe before she headed off to the Northern hemisphere at the tender age of 18. As a professional beauty therapist, she worked (and played) in London for seven years before her African roots pulled her back in 2010. We welcomed Debbie in 2012 and she brought with her a great sense of humour and dedication.
She started as our hostess and beauty therapist but showed such initiative that she was soon elevated to management level without relinquishing her initial tasks. She has trained up an energetic team in the kitchen, housekeeping and front of house.
Ben McCarthy – Lodge Manager
Certainly not scared to get his hands dirty, level-headed, kind hearted and with a wicked sense of humour, Ben has been the essential backbone of Baines’ River Camp since the end of 2012. Primarily in charge of maintenance, HR and general operations, Ben is an astounding fly fishing guide and superb host.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Ben gave the UK a chance for a few years, only to realise that his heart remained in Africa. Gladly returning to his farming roots, he took on the management of a crocodile farm on the Zimbabwean banks of the Zambezi, giving him ample opportunities to spend time with his fishing rods, his true passion.
Thinking he was going to be settling down to a more sophisticated and easy way of life, he joined Baines - little did he know...! If he is not repairing water pumps or servicing generators and vehicles, you will find him on the long and dusty road to Lusaka to collect supplies for the camp.
Leonard Kalio – Senior Guide
Rated by some as one of the top guides in Africa, Leonard’s wealth of knowledge, coupled with his gentle demeanour always provides for a fascinating activity, be it on a game-drive, a walk or gentle canoe trip through the channels. Commencing with us in 2008, Leonard has ever since been our constant, our rock, dependable, willing and able to do whatever is needed, winning him “Employee of the Year” in 2014.
He grew up in the Chiawa Chiefdom and started his career on the Zambezi as a young canoeing assistant for Sobek Safaris many years ago. In 2001, he passed his guiding and canoeing exams and shortly thereafter qualified further as a walking guide and is now an Examiner for the Lower Zambezi Safari Guides training program. He is passionate about the details. He will keep you intrigued with information about termite mounds, trees, pods, birds, mammals and the history of the Lower Zambezi National Park and its surrounds.
Proud of his heritage, Leonard encourages the younger generation to find a passion and he willingly gives of his spare time to train aspiring guides. Canoeing has always remained his favourite past-time and he simply cannot understand all the hype about tiger fishing!
Luke Tembo – Guide
Ever popular with our return angling guests, Luke has proven to be a great inspiration to the other river guides on the Zambezi. Proud to practice a strict catch and release policy to ensure that every tiger goes back into the water, alive and well, he shows a true dedication to the conservation of the Zambezi River for future generations.
Luke joined our team during the start of our construction phase in 2005 and we have watched him develop a great maturity, without losing his sense of humour and charm. Realising that there is more to the Zambezi than tiger fishing, Luke returned to the reference books and manuals.
In 2010 he qualified as a canoeing guide, in 2014 as a game-drive guide and all he has left to achieve is his Walking Guide’s ticket.
Weston Josiya – Guide
Weston has quietly worked his way up the guiding ranks and has qualifications for all the guiding disciplines in the Lower Zambezi National Park under his belt. Having bid Baines’ River Camp farewell during the build of the camp as a naughty youngster, we were delighted to welcome Weston back on a permanent basis in 2014.
Much loved by the guests for his dry sense of humour and passion about conservation, he is also in fierce competition with Luke in the Tiger department each year. For two consecutive years, in 2014 and 2015, he has managed to top Luke’s efforts to land the biggest Tiger of the season with a guest, last year’s record being 20 lb.!
Always impeccably turned out, a superb guide and a true team player, we are proud to have Weston on our team.
Moses Tembo – River Guide
Growing up in the Chiawa Chiefdom, Moses lost the sight of one eye as a child in an accident but this has not deterred him from becoming one of the best spotters on the Zambezi. Moses has been with the company since inception and started off as a barman, with a field guide to the birds of Southern Africa and a pair of binoculars permanently on his counter.
Having passed his coxswain’s licence shortly after the official opening in 2010, Moses was eager to get out on the river with guests and introduce them to the wonderful world of birds. In the meantime, he has developed into a remarkable angling guide with loads of patience, perfectly suited to guiding our younger anglers.
Moses often accompanies our game drives as a spotter and is set to start his safari guide’s training program in 2016.
Frankson Phiri – Workshop Foreman
Much goes on behind the scenes of a safari camp. Located literally out in the sticks and a 5-hour drive to the nearest supply hub (Lusaka), whereby we have to be self-sufficient in terms of electricity, water and all aspects of maintenance, Frackson Phiri looks after our water reticulation, generators, boats, game-drive vehicles, tractor, bream farm, herb garden and more.
After seven years in law enforcement as a qualified Wildlife Police Officer with the Zambia Wildlife Authority, he joined the construction team that built the initial safari camp on our property in 1998 and was part of the subsequent re-building of the current Baines' River Camp between 2005 and 2010. In 2011 he took his skills to the Kafue National Park where he assisted with the construction of a new camp. But the Lower Zambezi Valley beckoned and we jumped at the opportunity to welcome Frackson back in 2014. Since his return, Frackson has taken full ownership of our workshop and the maintenance of the camp under Ben’s guidance.
Always willing to help at any time of the day or night, he shows pride in his work and true leadership potential, all of which resulted in Frackson being awarded the Employee of the Year in 2015.
Amos Mapondela – Senior Front Of House
As Debbie’s right hand man, Amos takes great pride in the front of house department. Together with his colleagues Phineas and Joe, he ensures that the main lodge area is clean and tidy at all times, the bar stocks balance, the pool sparkles and the tables are perfectly laid for each meal. Never obtrusive, but always there when you need him, Amos quietly gets on with his tasks.
He thoroughly enjoys his ventures out of camp with Debbie to set up lunches and dinners for our guests in the bush, perhaps giving him the opportunity to see a pride of lion on the way. One of our longest serving employees, Amos was part of the team that built the initial camp on the property and hasn’t missed a day off work since (apart from one dental appointment).
He bagged the very first Employee of the Year Award and is an inspiration to his colleagues. With his beaming smile, unexpected jokes and gentle manner, Baines’ River Camp wouldn’t be the same without him.
Kim Beyers – Sales
Building a safari camp is relatively easy compared to getting your name out there and filling the beds with guests. That’s where Kim comes in. A mother of two unguided missiles and a household name in the safari industry, Kim Beyers started her career in the world of travel at the age of 20.
She gained experience working with prestigious operators such as &Beyond, the Meikles Hotel and the Cape Grace before starting KB Representation. Since 2015, Kim is responsible for our sales and that means she is on the road much of the time, travelling both across Southern Africa and the rest of the world. Besides promoting our camp, she ensures that the consultants at travel agents and tour operators across the globe are completely familiar and up to date with our offerings.
Baines’ River Camp fits in perfectly with Kim’s portfolio, primarily made up of independent, family owned and run safari camps in Southern Africa and we are thrilled that Mrs Beyers is our face to the outside world.
Scott Brown – The Back-up
In 2005, at the age of 20, Scott traded his hometown of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, for Texas, in order to work on a ranch for a season before heading to the Okavango Delta to rebuild a safari camp. He returned in 2007 to finish his BSc in Economics and Marketing but the bush bug had bitten. Having graduated and looking for a suitable position, he volunteered to drive one of our open game viewing vehicles almost 2,000 km from Johannesburg to Baines’ River Camp, and that was it. He never really left.
From 2007 until 2010, Scott was our man on site during the construction of the camp and it would be fair to say that he single-handedly managed the entire rebuild of Baines. On completion, Scott continued to manage all aspects of operations and management until the end 2012 season, when it was finally time for him to return to civilisation.
Now working from our offices in South Africa, Scott plays a vital role behind the scenes in terms of logistics, supplies and technical matters. He still spends a fair amount of time at the camp and as the man in charge of our sister property, the luxury safari cruiser “m/v Matusadona” on Lake Kariba, his time is divided between Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Tim Featherby – The Owner
Growing up on a farm in Karoi, Zimbabwe, Tim spent much of his earlier years on frequent visits to Mana Pools on the Zambezi, about 160 km from home – this is perhaps when the Zambezi bug first bit. His first experience in the hospitality industry was, at the age of 21, as a coach-tour driver, taking tourists on 8/9-week trips throughout Europe, Russia and Scandinavia for the better part of 3 years, running ski tours during the winter months in between.
After a short period in Australia, he returned to Africa and started his career in commodity trading. But the wilderness of the Zambezi always beckoned. In 2004, on a further visit to the Lower Zambezi, he stumbled on a safari camp for sale. The spectacular view was all that mattered and Tim easily persuaded a friend to partner in this venture and one hour and a satellite phone call later, the deal was done.
Having since completely re-built the entire camp, to the point where not one of the original structures still stands, Tim subsequently sold his trading businesses in 2011 and, to this day, remains hands-on and directly involved in the running of the camp, the wellbeing of our team and wholly dedicated to the conservation of the Lower Zambezi Valley.
Sabine Featherby – Marketing & Reservations
Born in Germany, raised in the Netherlands, Sabine first visited Africa in 1999 on a family holiday whilst studying law at Leiden University. Returning to Africa in 2001, for a further holiday, this time on the Lower Zambezi and Kariba, she got the bug and decided that it was under the African sun where she should live.
Accordingly, having graduated at law, she gave up practicing and teamed up with Tim Featherby in 2002 and, commencing in 2005, has since played a pivotal role in the complete reconstruction of Baines’ River Camp, directly involved in the supply of all the building materials and equipment required for such an extensive program, through to the choice of furnishings, fabrics and finishes.
Since completion in 2011, Sabine has taken on the vital roles of Marketing and Reservations, along with a significant responsibility in terms of our finances. Always in constant communication with our management team in Zambia, Sabine has become a real asset to our operations.
Dickson Jinaina – In Memoriam
We pay our respects to Dickson Jinaina who tragically died after being attacked by an elephant cow with calf in June 2015, after eight years in our employment. Dickson, with his quiet and unassuming manner, was a skilled carpenter and an accomplished handyman who will always be missed by all at Baines’ River Camp. A tree has been planted at Baines in his memory.
The experience delivered by Baines’ River Camp and their excellent team is unbeatable on the Zambezi River. The staff members go the extra mile at every opportunity and provide a truly world-class African safari experience that goes beyond simply going on game drives. An authentic African Safari with a difference.Graham Moon, Johannesburg, South Africa, September 2014