We Are Vuya. Nice To Meet You

Dylan Thorne

Dylan is an accomplished guide who has trained and worked at numerous luxury game lodges, including two and a half years at one of Africa’s most world renowned lodges. Before Vuya, Dylan ran a walking safari business together with friend and mentor Alan Yeowart – one of the most highly-qualified field guides in the industry.

Dylan has always felt a connection to the bush but his interest really developed when, at sixteen, he went on a wilderness trail in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. The moment he experienced the incredible freedom of exploring nature on foot, he knew he was hooked for life.

Dylan has been leading guests on walking safaris for the past six years yet still finds each walk just as exhilarating as the first. His immense skill, sharp eye and sixth sense for the wild will leave you in awe, while his infectious laugh will have you in high spirits throughout your Vuya trip.

Dean Smithyman

A former guide at one of South Africa’s most prestigious private game reserves, Dean’s passion for the bush is palpable. For three years he was fortunate to have Elmon Mhlongo as his tracking partner; a legend widely regarded as one of the best master trackers in the country. This sparked Dean’s special interest in tracking and interpreting animal behaviour.

A knowledgeable guide with a genuine manner, Dean goes the extra mile for every guest. As an avid fly fisherman, when not on safari you’re likely to find him casting a line on a secluded stream.

Dean’s favourite aspect of a walking trail is the feeling of peace that being completely immersed in nature evokes. While he loves the sounds of the wild, the evenings are often filled with the sounds of his captivating stories and, if you’re lucky, his acoustic guitar.

Devon Simpkins

Devon is a true naturalist who has travelled the world in search of weird and wonderful wildlife. From jaguars in the Amazon and orangutans in Asian rainforests, to free diving with orca in Norway – there’s no place Devon won’t go to discover a fascinating creature. He is driven by a need to share the amazing secrets of the natural world with as many people as possible.

Devon loves how the African bush has endless lessons to teach us. His favourite aspect of a walking safari is the chance to stop and enjoy nature’s small beauties.

Devon boasts an impressive bird list and even more impressive amounts of what us South Africans call “gees”. Don’t expect him to leave the campfire until the last flame has fizzled out.

James Hobson

Hailing from the Eastern Cape farmlands, James grew up with the wilderness as his front lawn. He spent a number of years guiding at an exclusive South African private lodge and, along with Dean, was fortunate to work closely with expert tracker Elmon Mhlongo – learning insights into animal behaviour you won’t find in a text book.

James has travelled extensively throughout Africa and has a fascinating knowledge of our continent’s remote wild places.

James enjoys the sense of adventure and anticipation he feels when lacing up his boots each morning before a walking safari, not knowing what the next few hours have in store. He’s a keen tracker and level-headed guide with innate instincts for the bush.

Perhaps the only thing that could rival James’ love for nature is his love for test cricket. James has a sharp wit and is incredibly generous – especially when it comes to pouring the perfect G&T.