Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Our Leaders

Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris carefully selects leaders who are tops in their field to ensure that your experience is the best it can be. We also provide a complete support staff on our larger expeditions and often use local guides to enhance your experience. Your trip itinerary lists your trip leaders.

David 'Billy' Herman

Billy loves nothing more than sharing nature and wildlife with travelers. He has led trips around the world and his passions are mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and large insects. He worked as an educational assistant for a nature youth movement and Natuurpunt, one of the biggest nature organizations in Belgium. For the last several years he has specialized in nature photography. His enthusiasm for adventure, good food, wildlife, and beautiful landscapes will make this an unforgettable experience.

Diogo Lucatelli

Diogo studied Biology at Bahia Federal University, one of the most renowned academies in Brazil, and began working as a naturalist guide in the Pantanal region in 2011. His skills in zoology, animal behavior, botany, animal tracking, ecology, birding, and photography have propelled his career in guiding for renowned lodges, safari groups, and research programs. On safari, Diogo aspires to build a bond between travelers and nature and instill a commitment to conservation by sharing his experiences, knowledge, and love for the region.

Doug Cheeseman

Doug leverages his expertise gained during 35 years of teaching ecology and zoology at De Anza College to offer travelers a unique learning experience in wildlife-rich regions of the world. Doug and Gail have led over 70 safaris to Africa, especially to Tanzania and Kenya, since 1978. They also led many tours to all corners of the globe including the Antarctic, South America, Australia, and Asia. A love of photographing wildlife behavior and giving college-level lectures to interested groups adds to his accomplishments.

Gail Cheeseman

Gail is a naturalist of the best kind–self-taught through a lifetime in the field fueled by a deep passion for wildlife. Her attention to tour details and individual desires ensures that each Cheesemans’ traveler has the experience of their dreams. Gail has a true spirit for conservation that drives her actions on many issues, both local and worldwide. Together, Gail and Doug make a team of remarkable ecologists who seek to inspire others to enjoy and conserve the Earth’s wild landscapes.

Geoffrey Lungu

Geoffrey loves to observe and interpret Zambia's animal behavior and interactions and leads with great enthusiasm. To put it in his own words, "there is never a chance to get bored in the bush." Always keen to encourage interest in all his guests, his ambition is to write a book about the mammals of the South Luangwa. Geoffrey enjoys pointing out reptiles and birds and is always keen to listen to your questions and photo requests.

Grephus Andalo Ingati

Grephus knows the birds and mammals of Kenya very well, and as a photographer understands how to position the vehicle for great photos. He grew up in the Kakamega Forest in western Kenya and was one of only nine students chosen to receive an in-depth course in forest ecology and is now is an excellent professional naturalist. He has worked with Cheesemans’ since the early 1990’s with rave reviews.

Hishey Tshering

Hishey spent his lifetime promoting and preserving nature in Bhutan through many guiding and conservation efforts. He worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature and the International Crane Foundation on bird issues. His belief in "Gross National Happiness" and extensive knowledge of culture, birds, and wildlife make him one of the most sought-after guides in Bhutan for over 15 years. Hishey will be helped by an assistant guide and driver.

Hugh Rose

Hugh has over 20 years of professional guiding experience and has been a key member of the Cheesemans’ Antarctica staff since 1998. The vast landscapes and incredible wildlife of Alaska and the Polar Regions are his subject and passion, evident in his inspired leadership and stunning professional photos (www.hughrosephotography.com). Hugh receives unending praise for his amazing knowledge, delightful and accommodating personality, and attention to every trip detail.

Jan Kelchtermans

Leading trips throughout Europe is Jan’s passion. He started birding at a young age in Belgium, which blossomed into watching and sharing his vast knowledge about all European mammals. Jan was one of the first Belgians to see Europe's Big Five: lynx, wolverine, wolf, brown bear, and European bison (wisent). He has led trips throughout all of Europe, including Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Spain, and more. Speaking wonderful English, he is always happy to answer your questions and help you take home outstanding photos.

Juan Manuel Salcedo

Juan grew up in the Galápagos Islands where he developed his passion for wildlife while sailing on his father's boat. He received a degree from the University of San Francisco, Quito after studying Applied Ecology, Biology and Geology. Juan also earned a skipper certificate after studying sailing and navigation in Los Angeles. Involvement in Environmental Education projects in the Galápagos Islands and on mainland Ecuador fills his spare time.

Matias Ballarini

Originally from Santiago, Matias moved to Patagonia in 2004 and now lives in Punta Arenas so he can spend more time enjoying nature and the outdoors. He has guided trips to King George Island, Buenos Aires, Brazil, the Chilean Lake District, and Patagonia. He works with nonprofit organizations that help conserve the local environment and ecosystems. Because he loves to expand his knowledge of biodiversity, photography, environmental interpretation, and conservation, you may find him in a course offered by the local universities.

Nan Eagleson

Nan is a wildlife biologist who has worked as a professional guide in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alaska for over 20 years. She currently works as the head naturalist and instructor for the Denali Education Center in Denali National Park when she is not off birding, hiking, canoeing, dog sledding, guiding photographers, or conducting botanical surveys in the wilderness of Alaska. She worked with many photographers throughout her long career, so understands and delivers the elements that make a great photo: proper light, unique composition, and the best positioning to capture wildlife behaviors and beautiful landscapes.

Nkosi Sibanda

Nkosi has led safaris for many years in Zimbabwe and Botswana. His love of the bush and its amazing wildlife inspired him to earn both Zimbabwe and Botswana Professional Guides licenses. He also has an advanced degree in Tourism and Travel Agency Management and is an all-round knowledgeable guide with a great personality. Nkosi loves photography and is very helpful with photo assistance.

Paco Madrigal

Paco has over 20 years of experience guiding wildlife, natural history, and birding tours throughout his native Costa Rica. He has been leading tours in Panama since 2014. He studied English and Ornithology at the University of Florida then worked at Costa Rica’s La Selva Biological Station before following his dream of starting his own tour company. His deep knowledge and charming personality make him one of our best leaders.

Rodrigo Tapia

Rodrigo developed his lifelong passion for birds at the early age of ten, which led to his studies of Biology at Universidad Católica de Valparaíso and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He spent years researching birds for different organizations throughout Chile and Antarctica and also worked as a birding guide, guide instructor, independent researcher, and birding consultant. He is also interested in increasing public awareness of birds through children’s education, lectures, and birding festivals. Since 2006 he has led birding, wildlife and wildlife photo tours. Rodrigo has done it all!

Scott Davis

Scott is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and travel (www.scottdavisimages.com). Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, his research and photo assignments took him to the far corners of the globe. National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, and renowned magazines have used his photography. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.

Ted Cheeseman

Ted grew up traveling extensively and began studying and photographing wildlife as a child. After completing a Master's degree in Tropical Conservation Biology at Duke University, Ted returned to California to lead and organize expeditions with Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris. Ted leads expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Caribbean, he served a five-year term on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), and he recently founded the citizen science project Happywhale as part of the PhD he’s working on.

Tom Murphy

Tom has offered custom photographic tours and seminars for nearly 30 years, specializing in engaging locations such as Yellowstone National Park, Antarctica, and Africa. He travels and photographs extensively throughout Yellowstone and has hiked thousands of miles and skied on hundreds of extended overnight trips in the backcountry. Much of his work in Yellowstone was highlighted in a popular PBS Nature series program, Christmas in Yellowstone, and several of his own books. His passion and talent is photographing wildlife in their environment to tell the story of life and survival. He is a popular teacher, known for his easy-going attitude, helpful demeanor, and one-on-one style of instruction.

Tom Wairegi

Tom is a wonderful safari leader relying on his extensive knowledge, especially about African mammal behavior, great personality, and high level of energy. With an excellent eye for photography, he will position the safari vehicle so you can take home wonderful photos of your safari in Kenya. Tom guided for us in the past and we are happy that he will once again be part of our slate of leaders.

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