MEET THE TEAM
It takes the proverbial ‘village’ as they say, here is a look at the people who make Mavungana such a slick operation.
Jonathan Boulton AKA The Boss. Jonathan started the business way back when Brad Pitt was still soaking wet after being dragged down the Blackfoot River in Missoula. A Zoologist by qualification he is a passionate conservationist, who will go off on a tangent when lured into the topic of global climate change. Jono has fished and guided the world and has only ever wanted to be outdoors. As anyone he has dragged along knows, best your energy levels be where they should – Jono will cast to every fish as if it were his last, and tackle every beer as if there weren’t any more in the cooler.
Trevor joined the company in 2016 as a partner after battling it out in the corporate trenches for more years than he would like to remember. Originally from Zimbabwe, Trevor studied in South Africa and spent his previous career cleaning up the water, air and waste of a large multinational, South African company. His passion for environmental sustainability is only superseded by his passion for flyfishing, in particular dry-fly fishing. Whether it be in the Dullstroom area, the KZN Midlands or the expansive lakes and rivers of Argentina, there will always be a rod rigged with some creature-like fly that floats, and you’ll frequently hear the phrase ‘dry flies only boys’…
Sarah is a local farm girl, who could catch a trout long before meeting Jono and is still in the habit of catching bigger fish than him. Sarah has had a vital hand in all aspects of the business – A graphic designer and illustrator by trade she has crafted a lot of Mavungana Flyfishing’s cool ads and branding over the years, as well as worked the shop floor in Dullstroom, ran all of Jono’s trip logistics, co-hosted trips from the Amazon to Argentina. Today she still manages her Riverman Leather factory by remote control, all this while dealing with the very important job of the school run, cheerleading at kids’ hockey games and coffee with her friends in Franschhoek.
Lejean joined the family nearly a decade ago, on April Fools Day. If you’ve met Lejean your are now nodding and smiling! Her position was ‘PA to Jonathan Boulton’ and was that the proverbial ‘hospital pass’ of note! Not 365 days later and Jono had been out of the office for 193 days away on trips. Lejean was tasked with everything from invoicing clients, booking flights to assisting with visas, sending out tackle lists and booking a table at Jono’s favourite restaurant in Buenos Aires. Jono being focused on taking people fishing and showing them a good time with zero regard for admin, means Lejean spends her time wading through the aftermath, piecing together invoices, taxi slips and forex notes for the accountants. To this day the company could not function without her and yet her sense of humour remains razor sharp and as dry as the Richtersveld desert.
Head guide Gareth Reid has been flyfishing for just over 20 years. Cutting his teeth in the harsh SA salt and always up for a challenge or adventure. Whether hosting bespoke international tours, guiding and managing local operations or running around with camera in hand he is always pushing the envelope for quality experiences both on and off the water.
Nathan is the newest member of the team. He is both the youngest (and oddly) the most ‘serious’ guide on the crew, but that is only to your advantage… With a background in competitive flyfishing Nathan is a stickler for detail. When he’s not explaining how to double haul, or drawing a road map to how you’re going to hook and land that 20lb Largie, you’ll find him on the Dullstroom shop floor; running around between explaining why the Hardy Zephrus is 9 grams lighter than the T&T Exocett (really, look it up) and tying two dozen SF Dorado flies for our next Argentina trip.
John runs the show in Dullstroom. Hailing from the Free State he’s spent over 20 years in Dullies speaking Afrikaans, Zulu and English. (He is worried he might be forgetting some of his home language Sotho). Anyone who’s been lucky enough to be served by John knows his attention to detail when it comes to advice on anything from fly line tapers to tigerfish flies. His knowledge comes from hours on the water and years of experience out in the field. John has fished some incredible places, from the Amazon Jungle to the Fjords of Norway, but guess what he does on his day off? Loads up the family to spend a day next to a quiet Dullstroom stream or Stillwater – could there be anything better?
Rowan Black turned his back on the construction industry some six years ago to join Mavungana Flyfishing and has never looked back. Rowan is the joker in the crew and if there is a prank in camp, chances are he instigated it. That fun-loving nature translates to his client interactions both in the Jozi store (where will happily advise clients on gear selection and fly choice as as demonstrating new knots or even pointing out good fishing spots on google earth) and while out guiding – which is his first love. Rowan has been flyfishing for over two decades and has fished Seychelles and St. Brandon’s to the Amazon, Mexico, Florida and Andamans. He’s also a highly experienced local sweet water specialist.
Colen was born in the heat of the South African Lowveld in Mbombela (Nelspruit). His first exposure to the tourism business was as a talented school choir singer entertaining patrons of the Poacher pub in Dullstroom. The Big Man started with Mavungana Flyfishing in 2000. He is involved in all facets of the the Dullies business, from retail to leather work, to guiding and instruction and heading up fishery management. Indeed, his list of nicknames is almost as long as his list of talents. If you’re a gambling man, never take him on at a casting competition, an arm wrestle or downing a Zamalek quart, like that bottle of beer – you will go down…!
Raymond Mutemeri grew up south of Harare in Zimbabwe. He finished his O’ levels in 1986 and began tying flies for the G and G tying company that exported flies globally, in 1988 and was soon promoted to Group and Quality Control Supervisor with over 50 tiers under his watchful eye. Mavungana Flyfishing was privileged to have Ray join the team in 2011. His huge range of tying talent – from classically dressed salmon patterns to tiger brush flies means people come from far and wide to pick his brain. Under pressure Ray is bombproof – cool, calm and collected, even stacked with the task of finishing up a batch of Peacock bass flies for a group leaving the following day, he will still have time for a cup of coffee and a chat about tying.
Rosie was born in 1978 on Driehoek farm, a well known flyfishing syndicate property just outside of Dullstroom, while she may not have known it back then, trout fishing was in her blood. Rosie joined Mavungana Flyfishing as Dullstroom’s in-house fly tier in 2002. She remembers well her first own custom fly, inspired by the late, legendary Jim Keaveney who loved a small, beaded Pheasant tail nymph on a floating line and long, fine leader. Rosie had a huge bag of tiny red glass beads from the local haberdashery store and Rosie’s Beaded Nymph was born. Today Rosie’s tying range is unbelievable, from small CDC dries to pioneering massive Nile Perch flies used by Jono to land the lake Nasser fly-caught record of 70 pounds.
Kabelo ‘Kortman’ Msuthu has been with the team for over a decade now. A farm lad from the Machadodorp Valley he started working in Mavungana’s leather factory – incredibly talented with is hands he whips up anything from a ladies clutch bag for the Hyde Park fashionistas, to a buffalo hide gun slip for our Texan hunters. Korti showed an interest in flyfishing and the lads soon got him casting like a machine on the lawn, he now assists with guided fishing days and corporate groups. He is on the water at least three days a week, heading out to the day waters to check on the anglers and offer a bit of advice, so if in store he gives you the wink and a nod as to what fly pattern and technique is working – your in!
Thembi Mabhena is one of Mavungana Flyfishing’s longest serving members (we lost count at 15 years). Thembi is a multitasker of note, assisting with back-office bookings, online orders and accounts. She can tie 60 flies a day and gladly gives kids free instruction. Her product knowledge is great and she often helps out behind the till in the Dullstroom shop. A trained barista Thembs runs the coffee shop in the Dullstroom store, come in and sample her Americano. On her off days she attends church, loves gospel music which can often be heard through the Dullstroom offices.