Meet Your Zambezi Expedition Guides


Steve Jones - Global Descents GuideSteve Jones

Legendary, what else can we say? Steve is a native of California where his love for rivers began. Honing his skills as a young river guide on the famous Kern River, Steve was an integral part in pioneering one of the greatest sections of river in the U.S., the Forks of the Kern. Steve’s calm demeanor and meticulous eye for safety has led him to become on of the world’s greatest expedition leaders. Leading trips down some of the world’s greatest and most difficult rivers including the Zambezi, Futaleufu, Yangtze, Colca, Katun and the Apurimac. While not leading Global Descents trips, Steve works as a boatman supporting the many scientific research projects on the Colorado River and throughout Grand Canyon.


Andrew "Sven" Bolton - Global Descents GuideAndrew “Sven” Bolton

Sven is yet another legendary guide that we are lucky to have running trips for Global Descents. If you have ever paddled in Zambia, Switzerland or Austria, chances are you’ve heard of Sven and he probably had something to do with the logistics of your trip. He is a magician when it comes to making things happen. With more than 20 years of river running experience and 15 of those on the Zambezi, Sven is an incredible addition to any trip we run. If you join us on the Zambezi, you’re sure to meet Sven and have the trip of a lifetime. Sven is also a budding politician whom we expect to make a run for Parliament sometime soon. When he’s not on the river or managing rafting operations, Sven enjoys exploring the Alps with his girlfriend, Andie.


Vinnie - Global Descents GuideVinnie Maplanga

Vinnie grew up close to Livingstone, Zambia with the Zambezi River close by. Little did he know that soon crazy rafters would be running the rapids of the Batoka Gorge. As soon as the rafters came, Vinnie quickly worked his way through the ranks of hysider and guide. That was more than 20 years ago. Now, nobody knows the Zambezi better and we are lucky to have Vinnie as a primary part of our Zambezi crew. In addition to the Zambezi, Vinnie has worked on many rivers throughout Europe and is an accomplished chef with a specialty in Zambian cuisine.



Kenny Kiley

Kenny grew up on the banks of the Sandy River in northern Oregon. River running is in his blood and he has made it his life pursuit in every aspect. Kenny is an accomplished class V rafting and kayaking guide and other than his home rivers in Oregon you’re likely to see him on the mighty Zambezi safety kayaking or guiding a raft. When Kenny is not guiding he is hard at work in his shop making custom wooden paddles and oars under his brand, Blunt Family Paddles. Kenny always has a smile on his face and is regularly requested as a guide for our returning guests.


Matt Gontram - Global Descents GuideMatthew Gontram

Matt started rafting and kayaking in Colorado at the age of eighteen. Since that first summer on the rivers of the southwest, Matt has pursued his passion for running rivers around the globe. He has worked as a guide and led expeditions in numerous locations and can never seem to get enough. When not working on the river, you can find Matt looking for a ride to the put-in or tirelessly looking for new destinations for Global Descents. Matt and his wife Wendy call Embudo, New Mexico home and enjoys the rivers of the Southwest as much as possible.