Being whisked away by Dean Jones

Africa is a nation rich in a diversity of flavour, and as Virginia Woolf so adequately said: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”. The Elephant Camp is committed to providing guests with a delicious cuisine that celebrates our bounty of fresh local produce, ensuring that every meal is an experience to be remembered and revered.

Dean Jones, Wild Horizons’ Executive Chef, based at The Elephant Camp, recognises that food is more than just a meal, but an art in the most delicious form. He believes that “being a chef is an expression of character, passion, creativity and love”.  Dean did his culinary training at Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town, which is highly acclaimed for its three-year Grande Diploma Course. However, it was while watching his mother prepare sweet and savoury snacks for functions as a young boy that his seeds of passion were sown. He soon recognised food as a way of bringing people together and expressing himself through the different flavour profiles in each meal.

During his culinary training, Dean was taught the fundamentals of French Cooking. Throughout his first year, he mastered the techniques that would come to define, and radiate, through his expertly accomplished dishes. During his second year, Dean spent two months in five different kitchen environments, where he gained valuable experience working at several reputable restaurants, including The Conservatory at The Cellars Hohenourt, Myoga Restaurant at the Vineyard Hotel in Claremont, and The Foodbarn in Noordhoek. Dean’s innovative and creative recipe development and food styling skills can be attributed to his time spent with Abigail Donnelly at the Woolworths Taste Magazine.

In the April of 2016, Dean was selected as a semi-finalist out of tens of thousands of chefs from around the world in a global competition called The San Pellergrino Young Chefs Award. Due to this Global competition, at the age of 30, Dean was recognised as one of the worlds ‘up-and-coming’ young chefs.

If food is the body of good living, then wine is the soul. Under the guidance of Chef Margot Janse at Le Quartier Francais’s The Tasting Room in the beautiful Cape Winelands of Franschhoek, Dean gained valuable knowledge about the process of tasting wine, as well as the winemakers themselves. Dean will introduce and execute decadent Wine & Coffee pairings, as well as High Tea & Champagne pairings that are sure to exhilarate our flow of international clientele. Having been motivated by a variety of multi-talented and well-renown chefs, Dean is now striving to be the type of food connoisseur that future diners and chefs are inspired by.

Dean has a passion for pastry that arose while he spent time in his Ouma’s bakery as a young boy. Through his flaky phyllo pastry, tantalising tarts, and buttery crisp croissants, Dean’s freshly baked menu achieves a wow factor in textures, flavours and presentation. American humorist Erma Brombeck was right when she told the world: “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.” It will take a strong-willed person to wave away Dean’s pastry display.

The concept of travelling is infused with the aromas and tastes of each place that we visit, and in order to truly absorb a culture, we need to savour the delicacies that the region has to offer. The meals devised by Dean are well worth travelling for.

Happiness is derived from good food, good music and good wine, all three of which Dean has a well-nurtured passion for. His creativity in the kitchen shapes food artistry that introduces diners to new sensations, cultures and tastes.

“Life is made up of many wonderful, colourful people, and food has a way of bringing cultures, families and friends together. It has the ability to induce nostalgia, calm, healing and peace.” – Dean Jones.

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Meet the Wild Horizons Lodge Management Team

The Elephant Camp

Bradley and Annie White

The Elephant Camp, General Managers Brad and Annie are the new general managers of The Elephant Camp situated just outside of Victoria Falls. Together they have spent 7 years sculpting a successful career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry. Brad has an extensive background in hospitality management and Annie has a background in hospitality and beauty therapy. After completing various courses in South Africa, Brad and Annie worked their way upwards from working at South African game lodges and hotels to running high-end lodges in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. They joined Wild Horizons 3 years ago and managed Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge.  Brad grew up in Victoria Falls, so The Elephant Camp really is like home to him.

Hilda Ncube

Hilda Ncube

The Elephant Camp, Assistant Manager
Hilda joined Wild Horizons 4 years ago as the Assistant Manager at ‘The Elephant Camp’.  She has dedicated the past 10 years to the hospitality industry in Zimbabwe and has worked in and around the Victoria Falls area for most of her time. She previously managed Matetsi Water Lodge. Her experience in managing 5-star lodges radiates through and shows off her capabilities, which seem unending. With a safari background and a hotel management qualification, she brings a strong understanding of customer care and attention to detail to the team.

The Elephant Camp West

Stacey Howland

Stacey Howland

The Elephant Camp West, Manager
Stacey joins Wild Horizons as Manager of The Elephant Camp West and we are eager to see her enthusiasm shine through in all that she does. She qualified in the hotel management industry in South Africa and has an advanced knowledge of catering and service brought about through her training at Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town.  Stacey comes to us after spending the past 3 years managing Spurwing Island on Lake Kariba in the Matusadona National Park.

Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge

Jon and Sarah Lucas

Jon & Sarah Lucas

General Managers
Jon and Sarah are very much at home in the bush and are passionate about sharing the splendours of Zimbabwe with visitors from far and wide.  They have both been in the tourism and hospitality industry since leaving school.  Jon went to the International Hotel School in Cape Town and Sarah studied Tourism Management in Pretoria. Sarah’s 10 years of experience have all been in Zimbabwe while Jon’s experience has taken him from top hotels in Cape Town to a Villa in Italy, onto guiding overland trucks through Southern Africa and finally the opening and running of Chundu Island before they joined Wild Horizons to manage Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge.

Relief Management

Himal Nathoo

Himal Nathoo

Himal first joined the Wild Horizons team as a freelance fishing guide at Imbabala Safari Lodge, after which he then joined as part of the management team. He has grown grew up in Victoria Falls and as such a career in tourism was imminent. Himal studied Hotel Management and Hospitality and enjoys working with people. He now provides relief management across all three Wild Horizons properties – The Elephant Camp, The Elephant Camp West, and Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge.