During school holidays I spent most of my time as the run-around boy in the Bulawayo Natural History Museum being lucky to be exposed to all the knowledge available in the museum collections, the library, and the professional staff.
After high school I moved to Kariba where I trained to be a safari and a canoe guide. As part of training I worked with some of the best renowned guides in Zimbabwe like Fausto Carbone, David Christensen, and Troy Williamson.
During the training I also spent time at Kiplings of Kariba Lodge and at Tashinga Rhino Camp in Matusadona National Park learning rhino tracking and birding. In the Ruckomechi Safari Camp and Chikwenaya Safari Lodge in the Mana Pools Nationals Park I learned to deal with elephants, lions, buffalos, and leopards.
Within the five years of the guides training I gained the Professional Hunter’s and Guide’s License as well as the Zimbabwe River Guide’s Authority. I was trained on the Zambezi River, both Zimbabwean and Zambian sides of the river.
When I was still studying for my full lisences, BBC filmed Zimbabwe's guides training and I had the chance to be part of making the documentary originally published in Wild and Dangerous series in the 1990's. Check out the following clip to see how we were trained.
And why is it special to have the Zimbabwean guide’s license? Zimbabwean safari guides are among the best safari guides in Africa because the training is really intensive and hard to pass. As a learner safari guide one needs to pass a theory examination testing the candidates knowledge of the environment, the ecology, vegetation, geography, birds and wildlife, first aid, firearms and ballistics, as well as environmental and tourism laws.
After that, the learner safari guide has to spend minimum of two years working under the tutorship of a safari guide with a full license. During this period one gains extensive experience of working in the bush and guiding clients through the National Parks. Finally the learner guide has to pass a week-long practical examination to earn the Professional Safari Guide License.
After completing my licenses I moved to Australia to expand my knowledge on outdoor education in Western Australia. After spending two years in Australia I moved to New Zealand where I spent several years. During the years abroad I worked as a freelance guide spending every year about six months in Africa.
I have also extensively traveled the world, for example spent time diving in the Caribbean, and traveled through most of Southern Africa including Mauritius, Reunion Islands, and Madagascar.
In 2012 I moved to Finland for the first time with my wife Kirsi. For a safari guide it was a natural choice to start exploring the Nordic wilderness and to complete Wilderness Guide's Training, which I did at Tampere Vocational College in Kuru. Now a new page has been turned as we have settled in the beautiful Kvarken Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Western Finland.
After having worked for few travel companies and freelancing over the years, starting my own business has been a long dream coming true. My passion is to share the different aspects and wonders of Nordic and Southern nature with you, and at the same time give something back to nature and to the communities we work with by following the principles of responsible tourism.
Cover photo © Lauri Soini, Inzwa Nordic & African Safaris