A glimmer of hope for Tanzania tourism private sector

As the DUST DEVILS start to devour the last remains of those who made a DARING leap towards greener pastures. It makes me reflect this awe inspiring, dangerous and yet a persistent endeavour led by savannah’s most underrated mammal by the name of the WILDBEAST.

Gruesome as the Mara River may look as of now on the August of 2019. The DUST is slowly subsiding in the Serengeti, with every foot print near the river bank telling its own story of the GREAT LEAP towards success, be it for predator or prey.

After having acquired enough knowledge of the Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park, Selous Game Reserve & The Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It all started when I finally started escorting Tourists to these beautiful natural setting when something profound touched my heart.

For unnecessary attention, names that I will use are as follows, Tom, Julius , Timothy & Baraka as the four guides I have interviewed in depth. Leserian as one of the competitor guides, Donald as one of Tour operator owners who was once a guide himself and Shaban one of my trusted guides over 15 years experience.

In an entourage of four cars who worked according to my directives (the guides calling me mnene slang for Boss), I was surprised when one by one stopped by a safari car asking “ kila kitu nisawa ? nikusaidie na kituyoyote ?”

The fact that one of our cars would stop and ask is understandable but why all the cars ? And I asked my driver guide Tom on the justification of such an inflated gesture of kindness.

He told me “The bush is a lonely place for a driver guide, you don’t know when will you encounter a breakdown, where & how fast will you get help ! So in order to ensure the experience of the guest is not AFFECTED, we try and help each other so that the wider Tanzanian Product is rated 5 star”.

Such selflessness & wisdom from a character spending at least half of his busy life in the rough bush while owner’s of tour operators may have yet to even think of such wisdom.

During one of the Lunch breaks I spoke with Julius on this touchy subject and he gave me a great insight. He told me he knows of a beautiful incident of a Safari Car’s spring breaking inside Ngorongoro and yet to drive all the way to their Lodge 4hrs away in the Serengeti.

Slowly but surely the Guide manoeuvres his car with the nervous guests all the way up to the RIM of the crater to visit one of the big operators garage. This may take at least 2hrs to get there considering the 20kilometers per hour speed and the sun about start setting.

In situations like these imagine the low setting sun clearly reflecting on one’s skin, exposing the lonely driver guide’s blemishes who is trying to stand up to the task. It may take an additional 2hrs to sort out the spring considering the garage may have their own cars to deal with first.

Alas Miracle of the high season on the Ngorongoro – Serengeti highway ! A competitor’s car stops by after an initial wave from the driver guide and he volunteers without a second thought to pick the guests, taking them to Serengeti inclusive of an en route game drive at no cost.

The competitors car did this without informing his manager ( informing his boss later) in Arusha due to common sense sack that the car was not deviating from its course, as it was going empty to pick up guests at Seronera airstrip the following morning.

A heart throbbing etiquette that centuries back hundreds of Prophets advised us about, this is very much prevalent with most of the traditional safari guides of Tanzania, but unfortunately the great leap towards greener pastures with the same mind set for Tanzanian operators owners is farfetched! To that extent Timothy told me a driver guide has lost his job by borrowing his fuel to a competitor’s car with a promise of the fuel being returned the following morning before departure.

For some immature reason the concept with many tour operating owners is that I will make the cake mixture, bake it and eat it myself. Be it also with my limited resources I end up making a small cake with less flavour. To the extent of not even cooperating enough with fellow operators during the global shows in making our country’s exhibitions stand out, the proof of this would be our underwhelming exhibition in major tradeshows that are easily overwhelmed by neighbouring Kenya and many times Uganda & Rwanda for all its limited resources or products for tourism.

From statistics gathered by Tanzania Bureau of Statistics we are a growing tourism market hardly more than 1,500,000 tourist visiting Tanzania per year, with such mentality from operator owners I do not see a UNISON presence of Tanzania on the world stage to reach any vision 2025 to bring the tourist number to 3 million.

If we learn from our employees and shift our paradigms, then I feel we will be able to create niche markets, bigger customer bases, create more jobs and at the same time create a world of experience. Only possible by uniting our resources with of course the support of our Government in UNISON to market Tanzania.

Yes War is a despicable thing, but the longevity of an empire amazes me .The Roman Empire never grew to such greater extents by fighting within or being helpless within, it was the united powerhouse of Rome that took its glory to the WORLD. Arusha could be that Rome that Tanzanian Tourism is looking for with a plethora of tour operators to take the first step.

As I congratulate the great migration who are now in their greener pastures of the Masai Mara, they being animals showed us how it is achieved in following the right leader and jumping into the river in UNISON.

I pray to the Almighty that the Tanzanian vision 2025 is realized and in a few years time. We need to ensure the greener pastures for an African Safari are realized more in Tanzania through collaborative marketing.

Let none of us fall short of the great leap and all together avoid being dusted off by the Devils.

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