A country that is about people, connection, resilience and safari #OneZimbabwe
Katja asked the audience of the #OneZimbabwe Roadshow whether they could still remember their first safari experience – the experience that made them fall in love with Africa. Fondly, she remembered and told her own story, where on her first African safari she ran to a payphone (albeit in Etosha National Park) to call her dad so he could hear that lion roar, too! Her message? Zimbabwe allows you to recreate this first-time safari experience for your guests…
Hideaways became one of the founding members of the #OneZimbabwe movement that started with a Roadshow in Cape Town and Johannesburg. This collaborative event of industry partners with a passion for sharing the essence of Zimbabwe is debunking the negativity that circulates. Our CEO Katja was one of the speakers, as well as our Marketing Specialist Nicole, introducing Hwange National Park and essential conservation goals.
“…one of Africa’s best-kept secrets.”
While the park is a special haven for massive elephant herds and a recovering wild dog population, it is still one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. They talked about what they have learned working with Zimbabweans and why they think RESILIENCE should be written across the Zimbabwean flag, earning a well-deserved applause at the end.
“Hwange National Park, as is actually the whole of Zimbabwe, is not only about wildlife viewing and safari. This national park and this country are about people, true connection and resilience through bonding together as a community while facing economic, ecological, social and conservation challenges.
It is here, in Hwange, where wildlife enthusiasts witness how communities coexist with Africa’s wildlife in one of the world’s last remaining wilderness areas. It is here where travellers see the positive footprint they leave when travelling to Zimbabwe. It is in Hwange where safari enthusiasts connect not only with themselves while having wonderful wildlife encounters but also with people that live in the area and the wildlife ambassadors that pour their passion into their jobs as guides, managers, waiters, chefs, back-of-house staff and, of course, lodge operators.
“Zimbabweans are selfless and resilient.”
If there is one thing that I have learned during my time of working with Zimbabweans is that they are selfless and resilient. In actual fact, they should have RESILIENCE written all over their flag. And I have learned that especially while working with my competitors in the Conservation & Wildlife Fund.
The Conservation & Wildlife Fund (CWF) is one of those selfless cooperations of competitors that have established in Hwange National Park and have come together to work with communities, government institutions, and the tourism industry in order to raise awareness and provide adequate tools for the management and conservation of Zimbabwe’s precious wildlife.
This works through fundraising but also through conservation levies that are being collected from every guest. The impact is apparent when pulling forces together. Not only does CWF promise to protect the peripheries of the park with anti-poaching units and community work, but we also engage with government and Zimparks when it comes to difficult conversations such as trophy hunting.
The night before this event, it was confirmed that another male lion had been hunted in the Gwayi area bordering the national park – a pride lion’s death which will put his pride’s life in imbalance. The conversation about how sustainable and useful the hunting of iconic species is, in areas that are being used for photographic tourism, is an on-going challenge that we are not scared to have.
“…make an impact on conservation matters and support a country that is home to some of the last wilderness areas.”
So, travelling to Hwange National Park is not just about offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience to your travellers, one that may replicate or better their first-time safari experience. It provides you and your guest with a true opportunity to make an impact on conservation matters and support a country that is home to some of the last wilderness areas. So that Hwange and Zimbabwe do not become victim to another statistic like the ones that David Attenborough recently published during his speech for the new Planet Earth series. 96 % of the world’s birds are domesticated poultry.”
Do you feel as strongly about Hwange National Park and Zimbabwe? Will you join us in spreading the positive message of this destination? #OneZimbabwe is the hashtag around which this conversation will take place, join us!