Meet our Trustees & Team


richard-maasdorpRichard Maasdorp
Coordinator Zambezi Elephant Fund (ZEF), Zambezi Society and Zambezi Valley Conservation Network (Z-CAN)*, Zimbabwe

Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Richard Maasdorp has a deep love for the country of his birth, its people, its wildlife and its wild places. He takes his inspiration and his passion from one of the world’s last-remaining true wilderness areas – the Zambezi Valley – a wildlife-rich natural wonderland, which he is proud to call home. Richard grew up with parents who encouraged their children to participate in environmental and wildlife pursuits.

* The Zambezi Valley Conservation Network (Z-CAN) is an alliance of many diverse players in the region, which is home to over 12,000 elephant. Each member of the alliance is determined to retain this, the largest contiguous wilderness area along the length of the Zambezi River, for the benefit of local communities and future generations of global citizens.


Tom graduated with a BCom degree at Rhodes University in South Africa and completed his tertiary education when he became a Chartered Accountant of Zimbabwe at Deloitte’s. He then went on to London for several years, working with Barclays and NatWest banks, before returning to the Barclays’ structured finance team in Zimbabwe. Tom and a couple of friends then left Barclays to set up their own successful structured and corporate finance company in Zimbabwe. Following this, Tom worked in commerce, where he was Financial Director of successful fuel and mining companies. Tom is currently retired and is very passionate about the Zambezi Valley and its diverse inhabitants.

Tafadzwa-ChigumbuTafadzwa Chigumbu

A “born and raised herdboy”. Tafadzwa grew up and was educated in a small village in Zimbabwe’s rural countryside. In 1998, he qualified as an accountant and, after working for his father, he went in to work for NSSA, Anglo American Corporation, Hunyani and Africom. He left formal employment and started out on is own, establishing the following businesses in Zimbabwe – Redan Petroleum, KFC Zimbabwe, Global Roofing Solutions Zim and Willowton Zimbabwe. 

Tafadzwa feels we all have a moral duty to look after our planet and hand it on in good order to future generations. He also truly believes we do not have a freehold on our world, but only a full repairing lease. Tafadzwa has a passion for conservation and the outdoors.

Alastair-WrightAlastair Wright

Alastair was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 1950. He attended the University of Cape Town and then the University of Surrey in the UK, where he graduated with a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Civil Engineering and an M.Sc degree in business methodology. After a brief spell working at the Barclays head office in London, he returned to Africa, first to South Africa where he worked for Anglo American and then, in 1981, to Harare. The last 20 years of his formal career were spent with Delta Corporation where he held various executive positions, including Director of Information Technology and Managing Director of Zimbabwe Sun Limited, the group’s hotel and leisure company. He retired in 2009.

Alastair has had wide exposure to community service and trusteeship with a long association with education and conservation. In particular, he played a central role in the early structuring and coordination of the pioneering Savé Valley Conservancy in the south eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe.

Alastair has been married to his wife, Tamara for over 40 years. Together they have 3 adult daughters and 3 grandchildren. He comments that he has no greater wish than that his grandchildren should experience and enjoy the unspoilt beauty of the Zimbabwe bush, just as he has been so fortunate to do during his lifetime.

Coordinator Community Based Conservation Alliance

Arthur plays a leading role in the Community Based Conservation Alliance (CBCA), which works in association with the Zambezi Society, a non-governmental organisation involved in conservation work in the Zambezi Valley for decades. CBCA seeks to develop a model that will improve community conservation awareness, in turn reducing human wildlife conflict, improving livelihoods and preserving the flora and fauna in and around Mana Pools National Park in the Zambezi Valley. Arthur is a member of the Zimbabwe Man and Biosphere Reserve Technical Committee and a volunteer with Zambezi Society. He has over 30 years’ working experience in the financial sector, focusing on economic and investments research.

john-stevensJohn Stevens
Zambezi Elephant Fund Founder and Technical Advisor

John was born in 1948 in Mutare in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands.

His career in wildlife began with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, spanning seventeen years and including spells as Warden of two of Zimbabwe’s most significant game reserves: Matusadona National Park on the banks of Lake Kariba and Mana Pools National Park, in the spectacular Lower Zambezi Valley.

John left National Parks in 1981 to build and manage Chikwenya Safari Camp on the banks of the Zambezi River. In  1985, John and his wife, Nicci, launched John Stevens Guided Safaris Africa, a successful safari business and in early 2015 they and a group of like-minded individuals set up the Zambezi Elephant Fund.

GARY_cropGary Layard

Gary qualified as an optometrist in Johannesburg in 1986 and has practised in Harare for the last 30 years. With a deep interest in wildlife and the bush, Gary then qualified as a Professional Guide in 2010. In January 2016, he jointly started and now, between his practice and family commitments, manages the Zambezi Society anti-poaching volunteer group and vehicle, deploying National Parks’ antipoaching rangers in Mana Pools and the surrounding safari areas. Together with his colleagues, Gary runs firearms training programs for anti-poaching rangers throughout the Lower Zambezi Valley. 60 rangers have been trained by the volunteers to date (end 2017).

RICHARD_TRichard Tennant

Richard was born and educated in Zimbabwe. His passion for conservation stems from a conviction that we are entrusted by future generations to preserve the priceless  global wildlife heritage found in Zimbabwe. This belief, combined with his love of aviation, led him to co-found Flying For Wildlife Trust, which provides aerial assistance and support, free of charge, to National Parks and conservation organisations working on the ground. The aerial perspective provided by Flying For Wildlife’s aircraft is of enormous value to field operationsThe flights open up the exploration and monitoring of remote, rugged and expansive areas, which are otherwise often left unpatrolled.  

nicci-stevensNicci Stevens
Zambezi Elephant Fund Administration, Marketing & Fundraising

Nicci and John, together with a group of like-minded individuals, started the Zambezi Elephant Fund in January 2015, with the aim of protecting the elephants, other wildlife and landscapes of the Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe.

Nicci’s background in safaris and her extensive travels throughout Africa mean that her understanding of the importance of conservation and her love of wild places and animals come to the fore with great organisational, chivvying and networking skills.

laura-taylorLaura Taylor
Zambezi Elephant Fund Marketing & Fundraising

Laura’s “day job” is in the safari office with Nicci, but whenever she can, her love of wild places, elephants and her country lead her to doing as much as she can for the Zambezi Elephant Fund’s efforts in conservation. Laura’s background is in advertising and marketing and her enthusiasm to keep learning and doing whatever is needed, especially on the awareness creation and fund-raising fronts, translates into passionate appeals and updates.