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LEWIS MANGABA : Interpretive Safaris


meet Lewis Mangaba

Lewis Mangaba is a walking guide and a conservationist, who grew up in a remote corner of Zimbabwe and believes in the 'spiritual' power of African wilderness.

Lewis Mangaba - Zimbabwe [1970 © Lewis Mangaba]
Crocodile - Matusadona National Park, Lake Kariba, Mashonaland West Province, ?ZWE [1970 © Andrew Ashton] - Lewis Mangaba - Interpretive Safaris - Roddy Bray's Great Guides

I am a walking guide and a conservationist and I lead safaris throughout East and southern Africa.  I was awarded ‘Best Guide in Zimbabwe’ in 2011, and became a fully licensed walking guide for Tanzania in 2013.  

I come from a family rooted in the African wilderness.  Up until forty years ago Nyaminyami, in the north-west of Zimbabwe bordering the Matusadona National Park, was a place known only to a few explorers, geologists and district commissioners. 

Uncomfortably hot, diseased and rugged, yet on these rolling, undulating mountains the Tonga tribesman had settled.  The local people call  this  place Matuzviadonha (‘falling dung’), a comment on the elephants dropping dung as they  struggle up the hills of this rough wilderness.

Crocodile in the Matusadona

   

It is here that I developed my early passion for the African Bush, and the intuitive way of learning and seeing things.  I absorbed knowledge in the traditional oral way of the Tonga people: the praise songs of animals, birds, plants and insects. 

The knowledge of animals and bird behaviour came naturally to me, first as a young boy looking after cattle and goats and later learning skills from the elders.  It is this special rural upbringing that illuminates my intricate bush interpretive skills.   

Lewis Mangaba - Zimbabwe [2013 © greatguides.org] - Lewis Mangaba - Interpretive Safaris - Roddy Bray's Great Guides
Lewis grew up immersed in the mythology of Africa

 

Benson Siyawareva - Hwange, Zimbabwe [2013 © Benson Siyawareva] - Lewis Mangaba - Interpretive Safaris - Roddy Bray's Great Guides
Benson Siyawareva, a mentor to guides like Lewis

 

In 1997 I was offered a traineeship by Wilderness Safaris based at their ten bedded camp,  Little Makalolo in the famous Hwange National Park.  It was my early mentorship and coaching, under the eye of Benson Siyawareva one of Africa’s top guides, that rooted in me high standards of safari guiding.

His encyclopaedic knowledge, enthusiasm, wide laugh and great passion for wildlife and conseravtion were for me the inspiration to look out and see the opportunity guiding offers to meet people from all walks of life and share African cultural heritage.  My training developed under Lloyd Temple Camp, Tendai Mdhluli and Charles Ndhlovu, some of Africa’s ‘jewel guides’ who stand out among the best.

 

Lewis Mangaba - Zimbabwe [2013 © Sharon] - Lewis Mangaba - Interpretive Safaris - Roddy Bray's Great Guides

My particular interest has been walking safaris and I was the first guide to be assessed under the level 11 Trails Guide and Rifle Handling course in Tanzania, the highest walking qualification conducted by the Interpretive Guides Society, a non-profit organisation of conservation-minded safari guides who are interested in furthering their knowledge, experience and insight in Tanzania’s natural habitats and its diversity.

Lewis with the 'Track of the Giants' conservation team

Beside taking people into the wilderness.  I am also a conservationist.  A dedicated member of the Wilderness Foundation and the Game Rangers Association of Africa.  The human population is becoming too large and the world is changing for animals.  Without habitat, no wildlife survives. 

Our ancestors had to fight to survive; we have come from millions of years of evolution with animals: we are brothers and sisters.  Africa is the landscape for human soul.  Imagine a world where the roar of a lion can no longer be heard.  The time is now for Africa to give the world a human face.  Everyone is turning back to wild places to  reconnect.  When I take a walk in the wilderness it is a religion. It epitomizes Jesus’ journey in the wilderness from the Bible.

Howard Frederick | Buffalo - South Africa [2007 © Howard Frederick] - Lewis Mangaba - Interpretive Safaris - Roddy Bray's Great Guides

Buffalo in East Africa 'all eyes on me' 
 

There is a feeling of coming home when I walk through the wilderness tracking big game in Tarangire National Park of Tanzania.  The smell of thousand strong buffalo, all eyes on me. 

It is here where mankind took his first step and emerged out of the dark forest to walk upright into the vast savanna.  The pure bliss, the exhilarating sense of space.  The spiritual inspiration of this dramatic landscape.  This is truly where my soul belongs. 



Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 24 Jul 2013
Location: Southern Africa, East Africa | Zimbabwe, Tanzania
Themes: natural world, travel | conservation, fauna, safari guide, bird