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Anthony Kaschula Safari Guide
Anthony Kaschula was born in Zimbabwe. In fact he comes from an old Zimbabwean family who have lived in Africa since 1858 with the last four generations in Zimbabwe. His passion is wildlife. This includes the big, charismatic creatures but also everything that makes savanna ecosystems tick.
Ant is qualified as a Zimbabwean licensed professional guide. A qualification which is widely recognised as one of, if not the top guiding benchmark in Africa. Ant then went to the University of Cape Town and has degrees in Environmental & Geographical Science and Ecology. He also has a Master of Science in Tropical Resource Ecology from the University of Zimbabwe. The focus of which was the impacts of elephants on woody vegetation.
Training as a safari guide
Anthony Kaschula completed his guiding apprenticeship in just 19 months. That’s one of the shortest known times for a guide to get their professional guiding licence. The whole process usually takes at least two to three years and on average about 5 years or more. Less than 5% of trainee guides who start their career actually complete the apprenticeship.
Ant was in his last year of undergraduate study at university when he started his own safari company, Private Guided Safaris. Here he concentrated on leading small groups of travellers looking for a little adventure. The initial focus was on on South Africa, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe. With these safaris Ant found that guests were coming back to him to re-book safaris to countries even he hadn’t visited. It gave him the opportunity to expand and discover new areas for himself.
In 2000 Ant qualified as a Zimbabwean licensed professional guide. What better way to celebrate the beginning of the new century and kick off one an incredibly privileged career.
Make time to travel
Ant completed his Masters in 2004 and was offered an opportunity to set up a sailing and safari venture in Zanzibar. Part of this project involved driving from Switzerland down through Italy, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya to Zanzibar. The other part of the job involved sailing along the East African coastline from Lamu to Zanzibar.
Whilst in the UK, lending a hand with the launch of the sailing company, he met Rawana, a Kenyan girl with whom he shared a lot of common ground as they both had a background in the safari industry. Rawana was working for Travel Africa magazine at the time.
Rawana persuaded Ant to put his safari business on hold and together they spent a couple of years managing an upmarket lodge (Borana) on the edge of Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau. As Ant had always wanted to learn to fly, whilst at Borana he decided to pursue this and worked through the necessary flying hours of training to get his private pilot’s license.
Back to Zimbabwe
Ant, being a steadfastly patriotic Zimbabwean always wanted to go home to Zimbabwe. In 2007 they applied for their tour operator’s permit to operate mobile safaris in Gonarezhou National Park. They ran their very first safari, an 8 day portered walking safari in October of 2007.
Ant has guided safaris and visited numerous countries across Africa which has given him a good grounding from both the guiding and camp operating side of the industry.
The time was right for combining privately guided safaris to some of the most interesting and diverse spots in Africa together with operating their own camp in Gonarezhou. He has been instrumental in the training of guides and has managed lodges and camps in Kenya. Ant’s current focus is looking into setting up the first 100% community owned safari camp within a national park, in Zimbabwe.
A Love for Gonarezhou
Ant’s love affair with Gonarezhou began in 1993 when he was in his teens. It was a school trip to experience the natural history of the area that his love for this staggeringly wild and untouched area was kindled. So laden down with heavy backpacks they explored the bush and wilderness areas. He recalls that there wasn’t much in the way of wildlife because the area had suffered a terrible drought. There were however, elephant whose trails criss-crossed the park. Today Gonarezhou’s elephant still remain very close to his heart.
After his initial visit, it was a four years before Ant returned to Gonarezhou, after which it became a regular haunt of his. Every time he returned he would learn more about the area, flora fauna and wildlife which made him all the more keen to keep going back.
Finally, Ant and Rawana now live in Harare with their two children. Gonarezhou has always been close to their hearts and today they operate their mobile tented camp in Gonarezhou National Park. It’s here that Ant spends most of his time…
Acclaim for Anthony Kaschula:
“Kaschula is an academic with unique people skills, making him one of the most impressive guides I’ve travelled with in recent years.”
Graham Boynton, Conde Nast Traveller.
“A fourth-generation Zimbabwean he’s one of the country’s new young guides. A highly qualified and articulate scientist – he holds a master’s degree in tropical resource ecology. Kaschula’s preferred area is his home country’s lowveld region. Charming and entertaining.”
March 2014, Safari So Good: Ten safari guides who are always on the right track
Anthony Kaschula is The Shackleton & Selous Society’s Southern African Fellow. Leaders of Exceptional Journeys to the World’s Wild Places. Committed to providing the highest standards of safari guiding and planning and supporters of conservation and local communities.