One of the reasons why having BBC Earth film the Painted Wolves episode at our camp, Vundu Camp in Mana Pools, was so fulfilling is that our own family dynasty has grown up with the wild dogs over the last two decades, and their story has become our story too. Read below to find out more about our family characters.
The first of the alpha pair of Vundu Camp is Nick Murray, who grew up and went to school in Zimbabwe. In 1988 Nick first began his career as a learner guide at Fothergill Island in Kariba. From there, he studied a BSc Zoology at the University Natal, Pietermaritzburg. South Africa. Returning to Zimbabwe, he worked on developing a private game ranch in Nyamandlovu. However, he then started professional guiding again working his way up to being head guide and manager at Bushlife Safaris in Mana Pools in 1998. Nick and Des were married in 2002 and ran mobile canoeing safaris together. In 2007, Vundu Camp at Bushlife Safaris was established. Nick clearly remembers his grandfather giving him wildlife magazines to read when he was 3 years old and has always known he would work with conservation and in the wild.
Des was born in Zimbabwe and did both primary and senior school there. With an adventuring outdoor spirit Des knew she didn’t want to work in an office, so after finishing her A-levels, Des began an apprentice role at Shearwater safaris as a canoe guide. She loved both the people and the lifestyle, and said every day was truly an adventure in survival! Des became Zimbabwe’s second professional female canoe guide in 1993, third professional female guide in 1997 and is still the only lady in Zimbabwe to hold both licenses. In 1997 Des was awarded Professional Guide on the Year – the first female to have won this award. Her motto in life is that “you can’t get back time so choose how you spend it wisely”. Watch this video to meet Des in person!
Jed and Tait – are the “pups” of the Murray family. Jed, their son, is both the spitting image of his father, Nick and also has his same quiet character. Tait, their daughter, is a bubbly character, inheriting the more chatty genes of her mother Des. Jed and Tait have had the privilege of spending much of their childhood growing up in Mana Pools, and have a deep affinity for the bush and especially the wild dogs. Tait – the alpha female from the BBC Earth Dynasties, is named after our very own Tait.