Natsai Chiremba is a pilot for Wilderness Air in Zimbabwe. She was born in a small village in Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe, the youngest of six children. Her dream of becoming a pilot was inspired by her brother who was himself a pilot. The stories he recounted about aeroplanes and his travels around Zimbabwe while training had her spellbound. Sadly her brother passed away in 2003, which only increased her desire to follow her dreams.
Soon after completing her Advanced Level exams in 2006, Natsai moved to Harare to begin training as a pilot at Charles Prince Airport. It was during the time when the country was still using the rapidly declining Zimbabwean Dollar that she realised that soon her money would no longer buy her the amount of classes she needed in order to graduate. She therefore moved to Westline Aviation in the Free State Province of South Africa where she completed her Private Licence, Night Rating and Commercial Ground training. Natsai then moved to Johannesburg to finish her Commercial and Airline Transport Pilot exams and to build up her hours in the air. She moved back to Westline to complete her training before heading back to Harare to convert her licence at Zimbabwean-based Guthrie Aviation.
It was mid-2011 when she began looking for a job. Knowing that Wilderness Safaris operated a stable and well-established charter – Wilderness Air – with a good history and high safety standards, Natsai contacted pilots she knew who worked for the business.
In 2012 Natsai was invited for an interview with Wilderness Air Zimbabwe and was offered an office job as a receptionist while she completed her Instrument Rating on her Zimbabwean licence. Finally, in September 2013, she took to the skies with a Training Captain for a few months and started flying solo in February 2014.
Natsai says, “Working for Wilderness Air is fantastic. I love wildlife and nature, travelling and meeting new faces and this job allows me to see and do all of these things. I also get the opportunity to travel to the most remote areas, which are often inaccessible by road, and to places that I never thought I would ever set my eyes on.”