About Bongwe Safaris
BONGWE [bon – gway, Nyanja slang for baboon]
- any of various large, terrestrial monkeys of the genus Papio and related genera. Often misunderstood yet highly intelligent and full of character.
Bongwe Safaris was started in 2009 by Alec and Jon. Alec, an experienced safari guide whose past experience included guiding for some of the most exclusive bush camps and lodges in the Luangwa Valley, wanted to offer a more affordable safari experience with the same levels of service. Jon, an IT and digital marketing expert had known Alec for many years prior to starting Bongwe. Together they realised that between them they had the skills to pull it off.
Bongwe started off with very little capital and just about managed to scrape enough together to purchase a game drive vehicle and a small transfer bus. From that they started operating mobile safaris into the Kafue National Park. However, a safari season typically only runs for a maximum of 7 or 8 months a year, sometimes less depending on the rainy season. So they took the profits of their first season and opened up a Lusaka guesthouse and bar. This was to be a small, discreet bar that merely operated to subsidise the safari off-season.
Over time the bar grew and took on a life of its own. Today, the bar is one of the prime destinations in Lusaka for after-work drinks, live music and parties.
The guest house has evolved from just being a stay-over option for Bongwe’s own safari clients to being a budget friendly business and tourism accommodation in the heart of Lusaka.
With Lusaka and the Kafue safari now established, in 2016 it was decided to expand into Livingstone. Despite the rich wildlife in the region, safari experiences were somewhat lacking in Livingstone with most operators concentrating on the Victoria Falls and the various river/helicopter activities that surround the Falls. This was Bongwe’s opportunity to provide a fully immersive safari experience to Livingstone.
Now, Bongwe not only operate safaris in Livingstone and the surrounding areas, but we also offer a fully equiped and furnished self-catering house and a safari camp. Combined with our Lusaka guest house and bar, Bongwe are continuing to grow whilst at the same time holding onto the original goal – offering affordable safaris without compromising on quality.
We look forward to seeing you in 2020!