Recognising the plight of Wilderness Safaris communities in Zimbabwe after the devastating loss of tourism income from COVID lockdowns, in 2020 Children in the Wilderness (CITW) and Wilderness Safaris Zambezi quickly set up a regional Conservation Heroes relief programme to assist their neighbours with food and other essential supplies. Their latest outreach was conducted in September 2021, in partnership with WildAid.
It is particularly rewarding to have Wilderness Safaris recognised amongst its peers for our recent community engagement and conservation initiatives. In a marvellous reminder of how our journeys truly change lives, I was proud to represent Wilderness at the Environmental Management Agency and Corporate Social Responsibility Network Zimbabwe’s 2021 Awards.
The evening event, which was also graced by the presence of Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Richard Moyo, was held in a beautiful garden at The Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls. All in attendance were dressed to impress, myself included. As the night began, and the Minister and other senior Government dignitaries had just taken their seats, a light rain fell on the crowd, marking the first of the summer season. All the guests remained seated, seemingly not bothered and rather revelling in the brief shower, as traditionally this is a sign the ancestors are happy and blessing the event.
Stepping onto the stage to receive this prestigious award on behalf of all at Wilderness Safaris, and all those who have made this journey possible, I felt honoured, and gave thanks that we have been able to continue making a positive impact on the communities in which we operate.
The social event was a great platform to engage with other stakeholders who are on this journey with us. Our partnership with Wild Aid in the Conservation Heroes COVID-relief food programme meant we stood shoulder to shoulder as we received our awards, and emphasised the sustainable and empowering nature of our partnership. Discussions around the table as the dinner progressed availed the opportunity for future synergies with various entities, and raised the profile of Wilderness Safaris as leaders in the conservation tourism industry through its commitment to the communities.
Thank you to all who ensure this ongoing journey is possible. Together we can keep making a difference as we continue to fly the Wilderness flag high.
Written by Shuvanayi Taruvinga – Community Liaison, Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe