Arrive as guests, leave as friends

Muchenje Safari Lodge was the vision of our founding directors – Ted Makgekgenene and Shaun Metcalfe. They found the land on the Western side of Chobe in 1990 and permission to build a safari lodge on the tribal leased land was obtained. It took a further 2 years to get approval for their plans and a further year to build the lodge. But in 1995 the doors were open for business and Muchenje was formally opened by the then Vice President of Botswana, Festus Mogae in October 1996. Our founders are still part of the lodge family – Shaun spends much of his time at Muchenje where his family have a small house and Ted visits the lodge frequently from his home in Francistown – Muchenje holds a special place in their hearts.

Muchenje is one of the longest established privately owned safari lodges in Chobe, operating for over 24 years. We have a wonderful team of over 40 staff, all of whom are from Botswana and the majority are from the local tribe. They are all the key to the success of the lodge. Their enthusiasm, dedication and attention to detail ensure that our guest experience is exceptional.

From the beginning Muchenje has prided itself in delivering some of the best game viewing experiences in Botswana. We are all passionate about what we do and enjoy sharing the Muchenje experience with our guests. The lodge is well known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, where guests become part of ‘the family’.

Ted Makgekgenene, Founding Director

Phenyo (Ted) Makgekgenene previously worked as the Director of Information for the Government of Botswana. As the most senior broadcasting engineer in the country Ted was responsible for bringing TV to Botswana. Before this, he was in charge of radio transmission and he engineered the provision of AM and FM broadcasting throughout the country. Upon retirement, Ted has become heavily involved in Muchenje Safari Lodge and has had a huge influence on the lodge because of his own intimate knowledge of the country and its people.

Shaun Metcalfe, Founding Director

Shaun is the original founder of Muchenje Safari Lodge. Shaun spends much of his time at Muchenje. His family have a small house on the property. Shaun was brought up in Kenya and has had a connection with Africa all of his life. Shaun has a broadcast and communications engineering background. Before retirement from engineering Shaun worked with major broadcasting organisations worldwide at the most senior level. It was Shaun’s vision in the mid-80s that started the idea and concept to build a safari lodge in Botswana.

Toff and Kiddy Hill, Resident Directors

Toff and Kiddy have many years experience in running safari lodges. They are from Port Elizabeth in South Africa and have lived and worked in Botswana for many years. Toff is an accredited registered bird expert in Southern Africa and their passion for Chobe National Park is clear. They live at the Muchenje Safari Lodge and their role is to ensure all our guests have the best possible experience from the moment they arrive at Muchenje.

Toff and Kiddy have been instrumental in many of the changes that are seen at Muchenje Safari Lodge today.

Our Guides

We have a policy of only hiring Motswana Guides and many of them come from the villages in the local area. Our team of experienced guides – Ali, Lips, Rambo and KB – all of whom have had extensive guide training share a love of the bush they grew up with. They are passionate about Chobe and its surroundings and have a wealth of knowledge about the animals, birds and plants of the region, which they love to share with the guests.

KB  Lips    Ali    Rambo

Muchenje Safari Lodge and the Community

Muchenje Safari Lodge has supported the nearby Mabele Primary School for over 20 years. It is a Government School which also includes much younger pre-school children. A number of our guides attended Mabele School when they were younger and so maintain strong links with the school. Indeed, many of Muchenje’s staff had their primary schooling at Mabele.

Education in Botswana is mandatory. It is also free. This area is the stronghold of the BaSubia Nation with the Paramount Chief residing in Kachikau, a nearby larger settlement.

Children have traditionally walked to school, some covering distances of up to 8 km (5 miles) on foot. School starts before 8am, so most kids used to start off from their homes before sunrise. Muchenje Safari Lodge has thus supplied a school bus. One of our guests, Chris Gray, visited us more than 3 years ago and suggested helping fund the bus. His company, CD Gray Consulting Engineering, spent many months in the UK raising funds. Muchenje matched their contribution. The school bus is maintained and run by Muchenje Safari Lodge. It has made a massive difference to the lives of the villagers and children in the area

Muchenje is part of “Pack for Purpose” which arranges contributions, gifts and donations to Mabele Primary School. However, should guests wish to bring pens, pencils, paper, footballs, books, and writing pads with them we will be very happy to arrange delivery of these direct to the school.

Muchenje is extremely proud of its involvement with Mabele Primary School and will continue to support the school and its PTA where possible. These children are the future of Botswana.