Beks Ndlovu – Shape Africa Award Nomination
Beks Ndlovu qualified as a professional guide in 1999 and spent some time learning the industry before his roots called him home to Hwange National Park. In 2006, he opened Somalisa Camp, the first in a unique portfolio of camps. Beks built this company in Zimbabwe through years of political and economic instability, as well as expanding the African Bush Camps portfolio across borders, into Botswana and Zambia. Beks, who has been involved in the industry since the age of 18, has been recognised by key publications such as Condé Nast as one of Africa’s Best Guides.
He created African Bush Camps to celebrate guides and to inspire young tourism professionals, to show them that tourism is not a closed industry for a privileged few, but one that any young African can break into. Beks also formed the African Bush Camps Foundation and is a founding member of the Conservation and Wildlife Fund. The Foundation runs community orientated projects that focus on sustainable tourism development through education, conservation, resource management and community empowerment. The CWF is a group of conservationists and stake holders of Hwange National Park who work together with local communities to raise awareness and provide tools to manage wildlife resources. In 10 years Beks has become not only a tour operator but a social entrepreneur. He is proving to be one of the most enterprising and inspiring players in the Tourism Industry today, one who continues to promote and influence travel to Africa on a global scale.
Yvonne Bahlangene – Rise Africa Award Nomination
Yvonne Bahlangene, or Vovo as she is affectionately known, learnt the hospitality trade when she was studying in Australia and worked at a restaurant called JoJo’s in Brisbane where her sunny disposition and the power of her smile charmed even the most difficult customers.
Zimbabwe called Vovo home in 2014, where she began working as a hostess at Somalisa Camp. Her bubbly personality and enthusiasm draws guests in and makes them feel like family, enchanting them. Guests return time and again because of the warm welcome they receive from Vovo. She creates an ambiance of geniality that is the key to making a safari a memorable African experience. Using her natural charisma, Vovo unravels a wilderness adventure that exceeds guests’ expectations, and shows them the true spirit of Africa.
Vovo’s mentor while she worked in Brisbane was Australian hospitality icon, Stefan Ackerie. Stefan taught Vovo about the importance of giving back to the community, so it was only natural for Vovo to become passionate about the charitable side of the industry. Yvonne became involved with the African Bush Camps Foundation, engaging with guests about the importance of giving back and sustainable tourism practices. Vovo’s interactions with guests serves to affirm our shared humanity and enrich curious, energetic safari travellers open to discovery. Through her ambassadorship of the African Bush Camps Foundation, Vovo paves the way for visitors to Africa to be a conduit toward prosperity & development for the continent and to help us preserve our continents heritage.
See Yvonne in action here with the ladies of the Vukani Project in Dete Town, Zimbabwe:
We are calling all tribe members to vote for Yvonne and Beks.