Like many of the staff who work for the Zambezi Queen Collection, Ernest Sikanda grew up in a small village on Impalila, an island at the far eastern tip of Namibia surrounded by the waters of the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers. And when we say small, we really mean small. Impalila has a population of 3 000 and is just under 18km in length.
Ernest is one of our staff members who is most recognised and thanked by our guests for making their stay so memorable. What many of our guests don’t know is that Ernest, despite his humble beginnings, studied hotel management internationally at West London College in Mayfair, Central London.
Ernest was the first host on the first Chobe Princess way back in 2004 and since then has become an integral part of our guests experience on the houseboats. Having grown up on the banks of the Chobe River, Ernest has extensive knowledge on the many varieties of birds (over 450 to be exact), game and fish species in the area. If you want to try your hand at tiger or bream fishing, Ernest is your man!
Ernest’s most memorable sighting was when he came across a fight between a crocodile and a python, an epic saga which lasted days and ended with a jackal saving the crocodile. While this may sound like the start of a children’s fable, it is a true story. The crocodile literally bit off more than it could chew when it killed a snake four times longer than itself and proceeded to swallow it. Realising half way through it’s meal that it couldn’t bite through the snake, the crocodile accepted its fate and sat on the banks of the Chobe River waiting to die. Luckily for the crocodile, a jackal came to its rescue and ate the other half of the snake. We’re sure there’s a life lesson in that story!
While we’re on the topic of life lessons, Ernest’s advice for would-be travellers? Keep clear of hippos, while they look chubby they can easily outrun a human. He would know, he was attacked by one while fishing.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the first profile in our collection of staff stories dedicated to the passionate people who work alongside us. You can stay up-to-date with the latest stories from our beautiful part of the world by signing up to our newsletter below or following us on our social channels.