Ben Parker | Tongabezi Lodge - Victoria Falls

February 05 2019


If you're planning to visit The Victoria Falls, we would highly recommend a stay at Tongabezi Lodge, an award winning luxury safari lodge located near Victoria Falls on the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia. Sadly, we have just heard of the loss of Tongabezi Chairman and Co-Founder Ben Parker and would like to share his story with you courtesy of Honorway.

My life changed forever the day I met Ben Parker, and my journey and love affair with Africa began. I would never have thought then, that 15 years later, I, alongside my Tongabezi family, would be having to bid farewell to a man who has not only been an inspirational colleague and friend to me, but through his own passion, has changed the face of tourism to Zambia, and has inspired countless hundreds of others, ensuring that he left behind a legacy of sustainability and upliftment for Zambia's communities. His impact and contribution to Tourism in Africa will be forever remembered and appreciated. 

It is therefore with deep sadness that we wish to announce that our Tongabezi Chairman and Co-Founder Ben Parker has moved on to greater adventures after a courageous fight against cancer.

Ben first came out to Africa on a university holiday. He always joked that he only stayed because it was raining on the day he was meant to hitchhike to the airport, but really his soul was simply too aligned with the spirit of Africa to allow him to leave. Ben loved Zambia with such a passion that Zambia could do nothing but love him back. As locals often recall, Ben arrived in Livingstone in a Microlight with floats. He and Will Ruck Keene started Tongabezi with only four tents and a few bucket showers, but since then and despite the tragic loss of Will to a car accident, Ben turned their dream into one of Conde Nast’s top 20 hotels in the world.

Ben changed the face of Zambian tourism through his passion for sustainability and uplifting communities. In this he was helped by the love of his life, Vanessa, who has run the Tongabezi Trust School on a volunteer basis for the last 23 years.

We will all mourn the loss of Ben but we will keep his legacy at Tongabezi going. Rudy Boribon is at the helm of Tongabezi as he has been for 12 years and will ensure Ben‘s vision will continue to grow. Ben’s brother Stephen - who has been a director of Tongabezi for the past 16 years - will be taking over the board and his daughter Natasha will be continuing her role as digital marketing manager.

Our thoughts are with his family, his wife Vanessa, his daughters Natasha, Acacia and Tamara and his brother and sister Stephen and Naomi.

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