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Our origins

The pioneering origins of all of our camps started with a shared single vision, to protect the wild areas of Zambia

Classic Zambia is a new company, but only by name, not by experience. Classic Zambia came about after the Directors of the already existing and successful companies Jeffery and McKeith Safaris, based in the Kafue National Park, Tusk and Mane Safaris, based in the Lower Zambezi and Reel Nature Ltd (a mobile safari and film crew fixing and support company), saw the joint-goals and shared cumulative benefits of becoming one entity as being greater than continuing in isolation. 

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The ‘new’ Classic Zambia aims to not dilute the products which have been successful to date, but build on them. Behind the scenes the merging of the three originating companies has allowed us to reduce costs, time and effort in the logistics and Lusaka-based ‘behind-the-scenes’ operations. As Tusk and Mane Safaris and Jeffery & McKeith Safaris independently have grown in occupancy levels the past seasons, we saw more and more agents and guests looking to combine both experiences and both parks in safari itineraries. It was becoming evident that the shared ethos of the respective owner-run operations, similar emphasis on the high quality guided experience and being seen as the ‘new generation’ of classic Zambian bush-camp based safaris here in Zambia was becoming more sought after.

Meet the founders

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Luke Evans and Kyle Branch

In 2015 Luke followed his heart in pursuit of a childhood dream to start a safari business in Zambia. With Kyle on board, and an operating licence granted for three unique sites in the Lower Zambezi National Park, "Tusk and Mane Safaris" was born. Today the camp names of Kutali and Chula Island are becoming better known in their own right, now as Classic Zambia Safaris properties.

Luke and Kyle knew each other from a stint working for the same Zambian safari company, where Luke was the Op’s Manager for the entire operation and Kyle was the Head Guide - it was here that they became good friends and with a shared vision and trust in each other and what they could achieve they hatched the idea for what was to come…

Luke Evans was born in Monze, Zambia in 1982, the son of Mark and Virginia Evans, safari operators in the Kafue, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks. Luke grew up a bush boy living in all three of these great National Parks. Educated in Kenya and Europe, he is trilingual speaking Chi Nyanja , English and German. 

Kyle Branch hails from the farming town of Tzaneen, neighboring the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Kyle spent his childhood exploring the Kruger and its surrounding wilderness areas. With a passion for wildlife and tourism Kyle joined & Beyond, one of Africa’s most elite Safari companies. He qualified with excellent grades and guided for five years in their luxury lodges across South Africa. In 2012, Kyle left for Zambia, where for the next 3 years he was a professional guide and manager at Sausage Tree Camp in the Lower Zambezi National Park. He was also highly involved in the mammoth task of designing the new National Guide Training Program in Zambia.

Tyrone McKeith and Phil Jeffery

Tyrone and Phil first met while studying degrees at the Durrell Institute of Conservation Ecology in Kent, UK. During that time Phil and Tyrone hatched the idea of establishing an ethical safari business. Their goal would be to utilize expert local knowledge and provide employment to local people while adhering to strong ecological and conservationist values in the Kafue National Park - a place where both men had independently spent a lifetime exploring and working.

Today over a decade later,  Musekese and Ntemwa-Busanga Camps, initially created under the banner of "Jeffery & McKeith Safaris", are globally recognised for their quality safari experience and great passion as well as an unwavering dedication to the conservation of the Kafue National Park through the non-profit organization ‘Musekese Conservation’. Musekese Conservation is something that Phil and Tyrone are very proud of. Huge strides have been made in the conservation sector and the positive impact of the hard work they have put in is reflected in it’s relative success to date. 

 

Phil is a Zambian and in fact spent some of his early years growing up in the Luangwa Valley with Luke!

 

Phil is less active in his guiding role these days, but based in the Kafue for the majority for the year he now runs Musekese Conservation full time.

 

Tyrone is from Windsor in the UK, but has been in Zambia his whole adult life, guiding and managing camps. Today Tyrone and Luke head up the reservations and marketing of Classic Zambia amongst other tasks!

Duncan Scott

Duncan joins the Classic Zambia team as General Manager. Phil and Tyrone employed Duncan back in 2019 to run, improve and develop the increasingly busy ‘Reel Nature Ltd’. Reel Nature was founded by Tyrone and Phil to cater for the needs of wildlife and documentary film makers in Zambia, a ‘fixing’ company that began with hosting the BBC back in 2012. 

Duncan’s skills are varied and wide-ranging. Whilst successfully learning the intricacies of the safari, tourism and film making industry (in record time!) he brings a quiet assurance and level-headedness to proceedings.

Duncan hails from South Africa with a university degree in Business Management and many years of experience in the farming and agricultural sector. Today Duncan and his wife-to-be Taylor are kept busy raising their sons Angus and Ewan!

Lusaka Team

The most important team of all, the engine beneath the steam train! The Lusaka operations team are what enables the bush teams to carry out their job to deliver the safari experience we are so proud of.

The wider team

Lower Zambezi Team

The in-camp teams in Lower Zambezi are split and shared between Kutali and Chula Island.

Kafue Team

The in-camp teams in the Kafue are split and shared between Musekese and Ntemwa-Busanga Camp

Reel Nature Film Team

Part of the CZ family but operating in the niche sector of wildlife documentary film making and crew support, we are very proud of our highly skilled and motivated Reel Nature crew.