MEET THE FOUNDERS

In 2007 Luke persuaded Suzanne to join him in pursuit of a joint venture in the Safari industry back home in Zimbabwe. Before officially launching Vayeni Luke and Suzanne first worked together to co-manage a large Safari operation for Wild Horizons on the Chobe River. Here they gained invaluable ground handling experience. They then moved on to working with Bumi Hills Safari Lodge on the shores of Lake Kariba, first raising the luxury standard and profile of the property as joint managers and then taking over the sales and marketing, traveling around the world to promote the property.

In 2012 Luke and Suzanne founded Vayeni with a vision to create a dynamic, fresh and refined approach towards destination management in southern Africa. They have since established Vayeni as a brand that caters for highly discerning travelers seeking out extraordinary service and unconventional experiences.

  • LUKE BROWN
    LUKE BROWN Founder | Managing Director

    Luke was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe spending almost every weekend and holiday somewhere in one of this country’s incredible wilderness areas. At 18 he went to South Africa and came home a few years later with a Zoology degree.

    Not wanting to be restricted to research work Luke immediately immersed himself in the tourism industry combining his love for wild animals with a passion for hospitality. He gained early experience canoeing the unparalleled beauty of the Mana Pools shoreline and rafting the Zambezi above and below Victoria Falls. In search of international luxury experience he worked as a guide at the exquisite Al Maha Desert Resort in an idyllic setting of the Arabian desert. It was here that he met and fell in love with Suzanne.

  • SUZANNE BROWN
    SUZANNE BROWN Founder | Sales Director

    Suzanne was born and raised cycling the beautiful Dutch countryside of Limburg, Netherlands. Like her country’s famous Dutch explorers Suzanne dreamt early on about traveling the world. After school she spent a year in Vancouver studying International Relations and traveling through South America. She moved to the UK to gain a degree in International Hospitality and was quickly channeled into the Leading Hotels of the World family. She worked as the VVIP hostess for the Lowry Hotel in Manchester meeting and taking care of many famous personalities before being head hunted to run the Food and Beverage team at the prestigious Al Maha Desert Resort in Dubai, where she met Luke.

MEET THE VAYENI TEAM

  • MELANIE MOSTERT
    MELANIE MOSTERT Operations Manager

    Mel was born in Zimbabwe and raised on a cotton farm in Shamva until she was 8 years old. She immigrated to Switzerland where she went through primary school before returning to Zimbabwe as a teenager. Prior to leaving Switzerland, Mel and her family travelled the entire country. Her regular family travel adventures in Zimbabwe and beyond gave birth to her wanderlust and passion for her country.

    Mel has worked in the Zimbabwean tourism industry since she was 20 years old. She gained invaluable experience working in some of Zimbabwe’s finest luxury camps, lodges and hotels where she held positions such as Reservations Manager, Camp Hostess for VIP groups and Relief Camp Manager. She continues to have the same enthusiasm and love for Zimbabwe and the region as she has always had.

  • Danielle Schutte
    Danielle Schutte Sales

    Danielle was born and raised in Zimbabwe, growing up in a small town called Mvurwe. As a child she was fortunate enough to visit most of beautiful Zimbabwe and its surroundings with family and friends who love to travel. She has always enjoyed the incredible outdoors that Africa has to offer, fishing, camping and learning all about the bush, wildlife and conservation. After studying film production design in Cape Town Danielle decided to return to her roots in Zimbabwe where she was introduced to the hospitality and tourism industry. In the past 5 years she has been involved in the running of luxury lodges as well as the reservations and administration side of tourism, gaining a real understanding and knowledge of what Zimbabwe and the region has to offer. She says about her role with Vayeni: “I am so excited to meet new people along the way and help them plan unforgettable Safaris.”

  • Samantha Farquharson
    Samantha Farquharson Systems Support

    Sam grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe, where (like most Zimbo’s), spent the school holidays and long weekends venturing to another beautiful part of our country – From sailing Catamaran’s on Lake Kariba, to building forts out of Pine Trees in Nyanga, and latterly sipping on GnT’s alongside the almighty Zambezi River – The call of a Fish Eagle and Golden Red Sunsets became engrained in her mind and soul. After leaving Zimbabwe to study in Cape Town, and working overseas in Australia and Thailand for a couple of years – Sam felt drawn back to Africa, to a feeling of home and to be closer to the wild and free nature of our African lives. She is passionate about adventures for the soul, and couldn’t imagine a better place to be sharing that love with others. Sam is based at the Vayeni office in Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Megan Mostert
    Megan Mostert Relations Officer

    Megan was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe and has a love of all animals and wildlife and we’re thrilled to have won her over from her alternate career choice of veterinary studies. An outgoing personality has seen Meg take to the stage both acting and singing – just recently in the very successful remake of The Lion King.  She is vibrant, young and enthusiastic.

  • TINASHE “NASH” MAONENI
    TINASHE “NASH” MAONENI Zimbabwe Operations

    My name is Tinashe Maoneni and I am a common Zimbabwean. On a daily basis I experience a lot of the little to big factors that mould and shape the character of the people of this land. I live with it and through it amongst society and like many others, I strive to contribute to its present and future.

    So many miles and turns down the road I found myself positioned in one of the greatest wonders of nature known to man: The Mighty Victoria Falls. I shared and engaged with the world of travelers whom I have met over the years the magic of the nature that’s found here. Both in the people and in the wilderness. Both socially and professionally. It is the joy and pleasure I continue to experience in this destination which makes me excited at the prospect and opportunity of receiving visitors who come to my little town. For me it is not, and remains far from being a guiding experience, it is a hosting privilege.

    Welcome to my home.

  • SEAN HIND
    SEAN HIND PROFESSIONAL SAFARI GUIDE

    Sean Hind grew up in Zimbabwe and his passion for the African bush started at a very young age while exploring some of country’s prime safari areas with his family on camping trips.  It was from his young explorations of these areas, that his interest in nature and the way it worked was sparked.

    After his schooling, Sean started his career working for a large and well known Safari operator who had camps all over Zimbabwe and Botswana. During his time there he worked in a number of their camps as Host/Assistant manager, as well as a tour guide for travel groups with the company, Overseas Adventure Travel.  During his free time Sean studied towards his Learner Guides License which he obtained in 2000. In 2003 he left and spent the next few years working at other camps around Lake Kariba as Assistant manager/Guide. Having spent 9 years working in the Matusadona National Park, Sean developed a passion for conducting walking safaris and had the opportunity to track Black rhino on a regular basis.

    At the end of 2007 he obtained his full Zimbabwe Professional Guides license and has grown into one of the most renowned guides in the country. Sean is a very keen photographer with a particular passion for wildlife photography. In addition, he has an interest in ornithology and is always on the lookout for his next lifer! Sean’s particular focus and enjoyment in his guiding, is walking with clients and sharing his knowledge and love of the African bush with guests from all walks of life.

  • ALI MAINGA
    ALI MAINGA Botswana Operations

    I Ali Mucheka Mainga am a professional guide and a naturalist at heart aged 42. I was born a small village on the Chobe Enclave called Satau. Chobe national park is found in the northern part of Botswana and very famous of elephant population. I was raised in a farm by my grandfather and grandmother rearing cattle, goats and also growing some crops. I did my primary school for 7 years and my high school for 5 years.

    On completion of high school I went work in one of the famous lodge located inside Chobe national park as a scullery, and then I was moved to train as a boat guide and a dugout canoe guide in Chobe national park. Two years down the line I acquired my driver’s license and started getting guests on game drives. I worked as a professional guide for 8 years then was promoted to the operation management position in 2008.

    In 2011 I moved to go to work in Okavango delta where I was employed as the camp manager until 2014. For the past 3 years I have been working at the research camp where I have been managing the camp and coordinating all research activities. My duties were mainly to assists Researchers on the field. Activities comprised mainly of conservation related stuff botanic, biochemistry, ecology, and this included doing game drives, bird watching and camping. I am still having the passion and very keen to be out there in the wilderness with guests sharing the fun of the bush.

  • RACHEL WARD
    RACHEL WARD Zambia Operations

    Rachel was born and raised in Zambia and went to University in Brighton, England. She then worked in England for 10 years in the travel industry before returning home to Zambia where she passionately showcases the best her country as to offer its visitors.

    Rachel is a mature, enthusiastic and hardworking individual, who always strives to achieve the highest standards possible. She possesses excellent communication skills, and relates very well to people from all walks of life. She also works extremely well under pressure situations. Most of all Rachel loves to show off her beautiful country of Zambia to visitors and really share the history and rich culture that her land is blessed with!

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