Meet the Team

Markus Jebsen (Owner)

Markus Jebsen, Founder and Executive Chairman of the MF Jebsen Group, with a diversified business portfolio in Hong Kong and China, is the owner and founder of Zingela Nature Reserves. Influenced by the South African Conservation Success Story, Markus understands the importance of sustainable and ethical Ecotourism as part of the overall conservation strategy benefiting the local communities and balancing the interests of various stakeholders.

Markus owns and operates numerous nature reserves and rewilding projects in Southern Africa as well as in Romania, Australia, Denmark and the USA. He is one of the founding board members of Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC) and has donated over 1,700 hectares of forest, alpine meadow and farmland to the FCC. He is also a founding board member of the recently established Asia Pacific Advisory Board to African Parks. He supports numerous, other Grassroots Conservation organizations such as the Tsavo Trust, Kenya Wildlife Service, Giraffe Conservation Foundation and WWF.

Nico & Michelle van der Merwe (General Managers)

General Managers and conservation enthusiasts Nico and Michelle van der Merwe have been married for 10 years. Their immense passion for the industry, bushveld, wildlife and conservation makes them the winning management team.

Nico grew up in the, unfenced Timbavati Private Nature Reserve which is situated adjacent to the Kruger National Park. His father was a warden at Timbavati Nature Reserve. It was during this time, that he joined his father on numerous exhibitions where Nico’s captivation for conservation began.

Michelle has always been fascinated with nature, animals and conservation. After completing her studies in Marketing and Accounting, she was appointed as a sales representative at her family’s business for 10 years. It was during these years that she learnt client professionalism and managerial skills.

Nico and Michelle will gladly assist with inquiries, bookings and logistics involved in ensuring guests the most memorable experience at Zingela.

Josef Ramadi (Maintenance Supervisor)

Josef Ramadi grew up with Nico on their family farm in North West, where he gained many years of technical and maintenance experience. With Zingela Nature Reserve being located in a remote part of Southern Africa, having him as a maintenance team leader has been extremely beneficial to the reserve.

Frans Tau (Lodge-and-camp Supervisor and Chef)

Frans Tau grew up in the Limpopo Province and has been working on the reserve for more than 12 years. Frans’s passion for the reserve, loyalty and positive attitude turned him into the Goal Orientated Supervisor that he is today. His cooking and hosting also did not go unnoticed, he was sent for further education as a chef by Zingela. His cooking will ensure that each client’s taste buds tingle with sensation whilst they enjoy marvellously African cuisine.

Joel Mphago (Supervisor)

Joel also grew up in the Limpopo Province and has been working for the reserve for more than 10 years. His interest in nature, conservation and passion for people enabled him to become one of the leaders amongst the working team. His excellent animal and tracking knowledge makes him a brilliant bush guide.

At Zingela all of the staff are privileged to work for a company with a bigger vision in mind, that never loses sight of their conservation efforts, biodiversity and welfare of animals.  Here all personnel are friendly and always willing to for fill your needs.