A huge component of the Global Basecamp experience is the incredible guides and partners we work with. We’ll be highlighting some of these extraordinary guides and giving a our community a glimpse into everything from their favorite memory on the job to why they first wanted to become a guide. We hope these spotlight interviews will help give insight into their contribution to the GB experience as well emphasize how travel can be used as a vehicle for cross-cultural connection and learning.Sibahle Sibanda (Sibs) is a Head Pro guide at Imvelo Safari Lodges who began his career under pioneering Professional Guide, Alan Elliot. He has since worked for other leading safari operators which has taken him to the Zambezi National Park, Mana Pools National Park, as well as the Kalahari Desert in Botswana.
Read on to learn more about Sibs's favorite things about being a guide, his top tips for travelers on a Zimbabwe Safari and what - according to him -makes the people of Zimbabwe so special.
Where are You From?
I was born in a small village close to Beitbridge ( southern part of Zimbabwe); I grew up in 3 areas, this small village I was born in, Bulawayo and Hwange.
What is your favorite part of being a guide
Sibs began his career under pioneering Professional Guide Alan Elliott and has since worked for other leading safari operators which has taken him to the Zambezi National Park on the upper river and Mana Pools National Park on the lower Zambezi River, as well as into the Kalahari Desert in Botswana – where he guided visitors among the San people – true experts at living in the wilderness.
What’s your favorite local food or drink that visitors should try?
My favourite local food is papa – also known as isitshwala, sadza, insima and this goes with beef stew mixed with veggies. I grew up eating this dish and it still remains my favourite to this day – filling and nourishing and just takes me back to my childhood.
What’s your top tip for visitors from overseas visiting Zimbabwe for the first time?
A visit to Zimbabwe is not only worth the money for the beauty and diversity but it also greatly benefits the people and our wildlife, especially if you stay with responsible lodge operators such as Imvelo Safari Lodges, who build lodges on community land and are embedded with the frontline communities . Due to the economic hardship, Zimbabwe’s wildlife has been left in the hands of safari operators to step up and protect our beautiful land so there are some great programs in place like for example we pump water for the wildlife in the park and have funded and work closely with an anti poaching unit to protect our wildlife. Guests that visit us will be able to experience these programs in action along with having a very unique experiential safari – as we offer very interesting safari activities such as canoeing, horse riding, mountain biking and a safari rail car that takes our guests into our 2 camps in the south eastern part of Hwange.
What’s special about the Zimbabwean people?
We are hardworking people, we start doing manual work at a very tender age and we are also very good at hosting visitors. Hosting is in our culture, it is part of our upbringing in the extended families that we are brought up in . You live with close to distant relatives and are consistently visited by lots of family friends and relatives, this will shine through in the hospitality shown by the Zimbabwean people when you visit us.
Stay tuned for more Guide Spotlight interviews. In the meantime check out our interviews with Eka - a guide from Indonesia and Nadeera - a Sri Lanka Guide.
For more info on traveling to Zim, read our Zimbabwe Travel Tips blog or check out our Zimbabwe Safari Tours.