Growing up in South West London, only minutes walk from Richmond Park, I would spend much of my childhood summers there, enjoying its wildlife and being outdoors. Then, one university holiday, while studying Zoology at Nottingham, I discovered a different type of wildlife and what it truly means to be outdoors - in Africa. After a month long overland trip through East Africa - to see mountain gorillas and the migration in the Serengeti - I knew I had to return...

Upon graduation, and with aspirations of becoming a wildlife photographer or research Biologist, I saved enough money to buy an old Land Rover and worked for board and lodgings for a wildlife consultant on a game ranch just outside Nairobi. My love for the continent continued to grow, and from there I was able to land my first job as a safari guide, working for two years at Jack’s Camp, on the edge of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi salt pans. There, I did not only learn how to guide and run a safari camp, but also worked with enthusiastic, young research biologists who were setting up pioneering mammal behavioural studies and conservation projects. In Botswana, my understanding of, and enthusiasm for, conservation and wildlife increased, but I decided it was time to return to the UK for a short while.

Back in London I worked for the specialist tour operator Wildlife Worldwide, planning safaris and travelling to parts of Africa (and the rest of the World) I had always only dreamt I might visit. During my time there I helped start up and project managed their award winning annual Festivals of Wildlife. For these very special trips I did not only have the great fortune to travel to Kenya, the Galapagos and India, but also to work with renowned wildlife photographers and artists, including Jonathan & Angie Scott, David Shepherd, Mark Carwardine, Nick Garbutt & Jonathan Truss.

However, a safari to Zambia called me back to the bush. I left the UK and for the past five years I have worked in Zambia for the Bushcamp Company, running bush camps and guiding in the magical South Luangwa National Park. I ran both Chamilandu and then Kapamba bushcamps, also working as relief manager, overseeing construction of new camps and training managers and local staff, also hold my Grade 2 Guide’s License.  I now mainly work from the Head Quarters at Mfuwe Lodge, helping oversee our bushcamps and also developing our conservation & education projects. I have also organised specialist safaris including Animals in Action & a Unique Week at Mfuwe Lodge.

Due to the seasonal nature of Zambia’s safari industry, in 2006 I was also able to further my growing interest in responsible tourism & African development by returning to university to study for an MSc in Conservation & Tourism at the Durrell Institute of Conservation & Ecology. My MSc thesis looked at the safari industry in the Luangwa: ‘An Investigation into Tourism Certification: a case study of the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia’.

Also, due to the seasonal nature of Zambia’s safari industry, I have be able to spend an increasing amount of my  seasons building a relationship with Volcanoes Safaris. Over the years I have become more involved with them and their eco-lodges, and I now spending some of the year doing consultancy work for them in Uganda & Rwanda, as well as London, working on capacity-building, training, conservation & community projects.

Over the years I have been able to take advantage of my surroundings and improve my photographic skills. Visit my Gallery to see a selection of my images. I have had several of my images published in; the new BBC Life series book, Wanderlust Magazine & Travel Zambia Magazine, as well as Wildlife Worldwide & Volcanoes Safari’s brochures and various safari websites.

In an effort to make a small difference in the areas in which I work, in 2008, along with my father & brother, I set up the Dreike Scholarship Fund to help educate African children living near wildlife areas.

My Resume


All text and images © Oliver Dreike 2008-2009