Meet Jack Chakanga – Wilderness Safaris Namibia Environmental Officer

A champion of CITW Namibia, Zambian-born Jack grew up in Ndola in the Copperbelt Province, before he moved to Namibia in 1993, when his dad started working for the Namibian government.

After completing his secondary education at Centaurus High School in Windhoek, he went on to study at the University of Namibia, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies and Geographical Information Systems in 2005. He later obtained a certificate in Information Technology from a private college in Windhoek. Jack is now completing his MBA at the International University of Management in Windhoek.

Upon the completion of his degree, Jack started tutoring travel and tourism at a local college – where he first heard of Wilderness Safaris. In 2006, he approached Wilderness Safaris Namibia’s then guide trainer, John Mittan, and expressed his interest in becoming a guide for the company. After some convincing, John invited Jack to complete an entry-level guide training course, which he passed with ease, going on to also pass the intermediate training in field guiding and weapons proficiency.

Jack began his career at Ongava Lodge on the Ongava Private Game Reserve at Etosha National Park, and by 2008 he had been appointed Head Guide. Soon after, he was promoted to Assistant Manager where he was in charge of guides and guest activities. In 2009, Jack applied for the Environmental Officer position in Wilderness Safaris Namibia’s Windhoek office.

In this role for over a decade, Jack oversees the Sustainability and Environmental Management aspects of the Conservation Portfolio for the company’s Namibian operation. He also liaises with internal and external researchers and institutions in various conservation collaborations with Wilderness Safaris Namibia. Having successfully held this position over the years, Jack has become a valuable resource to the company with his excellent knowledge of its environmental and biodiversity conservation efforts in Namibia.

In addition, he is one of the Directors of the Greater Sossusvlei-Namib Landscape, a non-profit organisation that was established to co-manage and enhance the area’s landscape and biodiversity conservation, as well as socio-economic development, for the sustained benefit of the people within the landscape and region, which includes the Kulala Wilderness Reserve. He is also on the management committee of Eco-Awards Namibia. Eco-Awards Namibia is the only alliance of private sector organisations and government that runs a sustainable tourism certification programme in Namibia.

When Jack is not busy trying to protect the Namibian landscape or watching his favourite soccer team, Arsenal, he is helping to shape young minds through the company’s non-profit partner, Children in the Wilderness (CITW). He has been involved with CITW since 2009, taking on various roles such as tent leader and camp coordinator. He is passionate about Namibia and its people, and is determined to continue using his expertise to make a positive difference to the country.