About Us
So many people and their good wishes are needed to make a trust such as the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust successful. It will be impossible to name everyone.
 
 
Gavin and Shay Best    

Gavin Best joined the Department of National Parks and Wildlife with the then Rhodesian government in 1978. He worked in a number of Parks whilst gaining vast amounts of experience in the conservation management field. Gavin’s career with National Parks concluded with him in the position as Warden of Sinamatella Camp in the Hwange National Park. Gavin married Shayelene Best in February 1988. He decided to join the White family business and left the National Parks towards the end of 1988.

Gavin and Shay worked at Imbabala Safari Camp for the next 12 years (Gavin both managed and guided at Imbabala). In 2000 Gavin and Shay moved to the Elephant Camp on Woodlands Estate on the outskirts of Victoria Falls and took over the management of the operation.

Since then, Gavin and Shay have been actively involved in caring for both the adult elephant involved in the Wild Horizons Elephant Back Safaris while at the same time caring for and hand rearing orphan elephant that find their way to the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary and Orphanage.

The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust was Gavin and Shay's dream and after their tragic passing away, we continue to do everything possible to make their objectives for the Trust a reality.

 

Gavin Best



Shay Best

 

Board of Trustees    
Bruno DeLeo (Chairman of the Board of Trustees)    

Bruno De Leo joins the trustees of the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust as Chairman of the Board.

Bruno was brought up in Zambia and schooled in Johannesburg, South Africa. After completing his Business Management diploma, Bruno moved to Chobe, Botswana where he started game viewing activities. Bruno lived in Botswana for 8 years before moving to Victoria Falls.

Bruno has a genuine passion for wildlife and the environment. His unwavering commitment has made a reality of the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust.

 
     
 
Paul Connolly (Legal)
   

Paul Connolly is a Zimbabwean to his core.  He was born and raised in Zimbabwe and as a child he knew he wanted to live his life on the Zambezi River and in the African bush.  After completing a law degree at university,  he joined the prestigious law firm of Atherstone & Cook, where he became a partner.  After making the decision to resign from the law,  he continued to pursue his passion of canoing. 

In 1985, Paul moved permanently to Victoria Falls and became very active in working together with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and setting the rules and guidelines for companies involved in rafting, canoing and kayaking.  In addition to his work in tourism, Paul also started Victoria Falls Primary School so that he wouldn't have to send his children away for schooling at such a young age.  These days Paul can be found still canoing the Zambezi commercially, as well as taking his once a year journey to a remote river in Africa.

In his free time, we are pleased to have Paul as a trustee where he is making a difference in the conservation of animals and forests which he feels is a good cause as it helps combat habitat loss.  The trust will be able to preserve species for future generations.  Paul believes that the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust is important as not only is it a wildlfie conservation organization it works with local communities. So when his grandchildren are canoing the Zambezi they will still have the privilege of seeing some truly magnificent wildlife.  

 

Barbara Murasiranwa (Treasurer)
   

Barbara Murasiranwa is a local Zimbabwean that studied in Finance.  She is a public chartered accountant, a public auditor and is currently studying for her Master’s Degree in Finance through the University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom.  As an active member of the Victoria Falls community, Barbara kindly volunteers her time with Rotary International where she was voted outstanding President of The Year Rotary International District 9210 – (2003 to 2004) and she received the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in 2004 Rotary International District 9210 as well as the Governor award for outstanding service to Rotary International District 9210. Barbara has been involved in tourism in the region and has been a manager and director with tourism companies for more than 16 years.  She now owns her own tourism company, Vimbiso Safaris and Tours.  In addition to Rotary, Barbara kindly volunteers her time as a Board member with Victoria Falls Primary School, and the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism.  She is Chairperson of Victoria Falls Women in Business and Counselor and advisor of the Zimbabwe Parents of the Handicapped Children Association of the Vic Falls Chapter.

 

Adrian Gardiner
   

Founder and owner of the Mantis Collection which is a family run collection of privately owned, five star Boutique Hotels and Eco Escapes properties located around the World. Adrian was educated in Zimbabwe and then at the University of Cape Town where he completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree.  His entrepreneurial career began in 1974 and for nearly 40 years he has shown commercial flair in building businesses spanning swimming pool construction and specialist plant hire to commercial retirement and health care centres. One of his major contributions to conservation was the creation of the internationally famous and award winning Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape in the early 1990’s              
    

Personal Awards
-Terra Nova Award  Conservation Award  2001'
-Prestige award from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University  2002
-SATSA  (South Africa Tourism Services Association)  2004
- The Herald Citizen of the year Award in the Environmental Conservation category  2005
- South Africa’s Tourism Investment Award  2007
- CHN University Netherlands 2007 (Degree Master in International Service Management (Honoris Causa) )
- South African National Parks  - Chief Executive Award 2007 
- SAB Environmentalist of the year award  2008   (Nick Steele Memorial Award)
- Tourism Business Leadership Award  2009 (African Hospitality Investment Award)

 

Shane White
   

Shane was born in Zimbabwe in 1968, and was raised in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Having been brought up by parents that were involved in the safari industry Shane always had a love for nature and it was a natural progression for him to join the family safari business when leaving school.

Shane immediately enrolled as an apprentice guide under the tutelage of Professional Guide Gavin Best. Shane passed his Full guides license in 1991, being one of the youngest qualified guides on the circuit at the time.

Shane worked as a manager and professional guide at Imbabala safari lodge for 3 years before taking over the company’s mobile safari operation. Shane managed this for 6 years leading mobile camping and walking safaris in the Hwange and Kazuma National Parks.
Soon after the arrival of his second child Shane took up the role of Marketing Director at Wild Horizons, allowing him more time at home to spend with the family. He has held this position for the last 15 years. Over this time Wild Horizons has grown from a relatively small family run safari business to one of the leading tourism business in Zimbabwe.

 

   

 

 

Craig White
   

Craig Ward White was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 1963. Craig first attended Baobab Primary School in Victoria Falls then went onto Gifford High in Bulawayo.  After Gifford, Craig went to the Zimbabwe Polytechicon, to study Civil Engineering. He qualified as a Civil Engineering Technician, in 1982 and went to work with the Water Development department, designing & building dams in Zimbabwe’s rural areas. In 1983/4 Craig moved to Botswana to work for Gametrackers, in the Okavango Delta as a Safari Guide.  In 1987 Craig moved back to Victoria Falls to start up Wild Horizons with his father, Ron White.  He became a Professional Guide, and started overland safaris through Zimbabwe.  In 1989 Craig together with Ron, built Imbabala Safari Camp in Kazungula, and opened to their first international Safari guests in 1990. After Imbabala, Craig built Jijima Safari Lodge in Hwange, on the border of Hwange National Park, and then he went on to build The Elephant Camp in Victoria Falls, where the first Elephant Back Safari started in Zimbabwe. 

Through the years, Craig worked as a Professional Guide, taking guests on safari through Zimbabwe, his favorite has always been to take guests on walks in the bush, approaching dangerous game (at a safe distance) but always giving the guest that little bit more..! In 2007/8 Craig, designed and built the Elephant Wallow, where the Wild Horizons elephants now live and work.

 
Craig White

Simon Rowlands
   
Simon is a founding partner of Cinven, one of Europe's largest private equity firms, with offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan and Hong Kong. Prior to joining Cinven, Simon worked with an international consulting firm on multi-disciplinary engineering projects in the UK and Southern Africa. Simon lived in Zimbabwe for 2.5 years and whilst doing so observed the pressures and challenges that exist at the interface of wildlife and ever growing human populous. Simon has an MBA, a BSc in Engineering and is a chartered engineer.  

Leon Varley
   
Leon Varley has been a fully qualified guide for more than 25 years and was among the first three guides to qualify in the post independence period. He was raised on a farm in North Eastern Zimbabwe and before starting Backpackers Africa he worked as a Professional Hunter, Army Tracker, Miner, Prospector, Farmer, Journalist, Forestry Game Ranger and Tsetse Control Officer. It was whilst working in Chizarira National Park as a tsetse control officer in 1980 that he first formulated the idea of a walking safari operation. This area has always remained a favorite and to date he has personally led over 350 walking safaris. In 1986 Leon formed Backpackers Africa with his wife Mags and together they continue to host walking safaris throughout Zimbabwe.  
     
Employees    

Wildlife Veterinarian

Dr. Chris Foggin, BVSc, MRCVS, Dphil

   

Dr Chris Foggin was born in Salisbury (now Harare), Zimbabwe, in 1947 and did his schooling in Zimbabwe. He completed his Batchelor of Veterinary Science degree at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty, University of Pretoria, South Africa in 1970. After five years in private, mixed veterinary practice, he joined the Central Veterinary Laboratory, in the Ministry of Agriculture in 1976. He has remained in the Government Veterinary Services since then.

For the following 13 years he was in charge of the Pathology and Rabies sections, and was awarded his D Phil in 1988 by the University of Zimbabwe, Faculty of Medicine, on the Epidemiology of Rabies and Rabies-related viruses in Zimbabwe.

In 1989, the Wildlife Veterinary Unit (WVU) was formed within the Dept of Veterinary Services, in response to a rapidly-expanding wildlife industry in Zimbabwe. Dr Foggin was appointed Head of this Unit, a position that he held until his age-compulsory retirement in August 2012.

The Unit remains responsible for wildlife diagnostic, regulatory, extension, research and conservation veterinary medicine work throughout Zimbabwe’s commercial wildlife properties, including wildlife conservancies, as well as within the Parks and Wildlife Estate. For over a decade since 1996, after the two veterinarians employed by the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority left Zimbabwe, Dr Foggin was the only veterinarian in the country attending to rhino veterinary requirements. In this work he has had to perform some 1400 field immobilizations of black and white rhino for routine management operations as well as for translocations and treatments of snares and other injuries.

 

 

 

Wildlife and Research Manager

Roger Parry

   

Roger Parry is the Wildlife & Research Manager for the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust

Roger comes to the Trust with more than 15 years experience in the Wildlife Tourism industry.  Additionally, he spent 10 years working for the Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wildlife where he ascended to the rank of Senior Warden of Chizarira National Park. Roger also did the occasional flying for National Parks.  Roger’s qualifications include 15 years of darting and using chemical and physical capture of wildlife. Roger oversees the community outreach programs and wildlife research. He works together with other staff to manage the human wildlife conflict project, carnivore research, elephant mitigation, vulture research and rehabilitation, and the litter team.

The Vic Falls Wildlife Trust works very closely with the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit - Roger does a lot of the darting of snared and injured animals in the region, and assists when requested with local wildlife authorities and partners in Botswana and Zambia.

 

Roger and snared female waterbuck

Community Conservation Representative

Bongani Dlodlo

   

Bongani joined the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust full time in 2010 to assist with working in the field. Bongani is from the Monde area near Victoria Falls, and is fluent in both Ndebele (the local language spoken in the Region) as well as English. Given Bongani's experience, he is able to run our school's conservation interaction, human wildlife conflict project, and helps with many of the research efforts in the field. .

Twelve years ago Bongani started off as a cattle herder, and over time due to his keen interest in wildlife and conservation, he improved his position. He now also helps with managing the human wildlife conflict hotline and responding to the local community reports of conflict incidents. Bongani has extensive training in everything from telemetry (for tracking collared animals) to tracking wildlife in the bush. Bongani works on a range of projects but specifically assists with our projects with local communities. . He is a huge asset to the Vic Falls Wildlife Trust and we thank him for his help.

 

   

Laboratory Technician

Trish Pritchard

   

Patricia (Trish) Pritchard trained in South Afrca at the Natal Techinkon in Durban where she qualified as a laboratory technician with a specialization in pathology. Over the years Trish worked in a range of veterinary and medical laboratories, in the UK, South Africa and in Zimbabwe. Trish has a keen love of wildlife, having run her own tourism company for more than 15 years.

VFWT are very lucky to have Trish's techincal abilities in the laboratory where she runs the histology and pathology functions as well as oversees basic opearting procedures to ensure quality control is monitored and measured. Trish comes to VFWT with more than 25 years of experience.

 
   

Permanent Volunteers

Tonya Meikle

   

At the tender age of nineteen Tonya Meikle together with a good friend rowed across lake Kariba on their own to raise funding to support an orphaned rhino. Over the years to come Tonya has always had a huge interest in wildlife and conservation. With a resume sporting jobs with A&K as well as Saf Par, Tonya worked in tourism for many years. She then went on to start her own company and eventually moved with her husband Barry Meikle to Mozambique. After living for five years in Mozambique, Tonya and Barry decided to return to Zimbabwe, and moved back to Victoria Falls.

Today Tonya assists the Vic Falls Wildlife Trust on a regular basis and volunteers her time to help us when we are darting, collaring, raising orphans and doing disease sampling. Tonya also holds a dangerous drugs license which she puts to use working together with the Trust for de-snaring efforts and helping with any wildlife orphans we get in. The Trust thanks Tonya for all of her time and assistance.