About Us

The Green Team

From our major shareholders right through to our grounded and essential camp staff chefs the Green Team is bursting with personality, ambition and a sense of purpose!

Meet some of our key members.

Linda van Heerden

Linda van Heerden

Growing up in reserves like Umfolozi, Ndumo and The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park ensured Linda's roots were firmly embedded in conservation and her heart was in the bush.

Linda's career in Hospitality started in 1989 with her working for Hotel Groups like Southern Sun, Sun International and Three Cities Hotel Group with her arriving Zambia, together with Jacques, in 2008. The highlight of her career so far has been the development of Ila Safari Lodge.

Jacques van Heerden

Jacques van Heerden

Jacques grew up in the picturesque arty town of Clarens, South and moved to Mozambique in 1998 to assist in the building of Guludu Eco Beach Lodge in the Quirimbas in Northern Mozambique. On the completion of the Guludu project he was offered a position with Rani Africa developing the heart-wrenchingly beautiful islands of Matemo and Medjumbe. In 2005 he met and married Linda and they then took up positions at well-known Barra Lodge and later moved to Zambia.

All the lodges Jacques has been involved with have had strong eco principles both in building and in operation. Their commitment to the local communities is well known and respected amongst their guests, peers and employees.

Leah Banda

Leah Banda

Born in Lusaka Zambia, Leah spent most of her time in Zimbabwe where she did part of her primary education and high school plus her tertiary degree in Business Management. In 2012 she joined the tourism industry and over the years she has managed different camps in the Kafue National Park, Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park in Botswana. Leah is Ila Safari Lodge's Front of House and Reservations Manager. She enjoys her job as she finds it spontaneous and exciting. She wakes up every morning with a cheerful smile ready to tackle what the day brings.

Francis Phiri

Francis Phiri

Francis is the Trainee Manager at Ila Safari Lodge and orginally hails from the eastern part of Zambia. However, he moved to Kafue National Park aged just one year old with his mother. He has lived in Kafue nearly all his life and knows this area like the back of his hand.

Francis has previously worked with the Zambian Wildlife Authority and at other lodges in Kafue but is looking forward to the challenge of stepping into a senior position at Ila Safari Lodge and the associated management.

Dr Vincent Kouwenhoven

Vincent Kouwenhoven

Our Dutch founder was born and grew up in the Netherlands, but developped a strong passion for Africa already at a young age.

After many years of business and safari-trips across sub-saharan Africa, Vincent fell in love with the pristine wilderness of Kafue National Park in Zambia. He initially sponsored other lodges and operations in the park, but last year decided to found Green Safaris, with Ila Safari Lodge as its first lodge. With a passionate drive to meet the highest possible standards of eco-friendliness, as well as exceeding customers expectations on many aspects.

Lexon Munuma

Lexon Munuma

Lexon is Ila's Head Guide and is a Kafue expert. He started his career in the Kafue in 1997 with African Experience and has been here ever since!

He is a top birder and a staunch conservationist and is well respected amongst his peers for his limitless knowledge of the fauna and flora of Kafue. He is also well loved for his go-getter attitude, his warm and gentle demeanor and his ability to make friends with everyone!