TOURISM is remarkably booming in Chimanimani. There is a good number of tour guides who are taking up the trade in that eastern region. Business Wave Africa.com’s Editor-in-Chief, STEVE EPHRAEM (SE) had a chance to speak to one of the most respected tour guides, LINIWE TSANGAMIDZI (LT), who is reputable and holds the record of being the first female tour guide to hail from Chimanimani.
SE: How old are you?
LT: I am 24 years old.
SE: How many years have you been involved in the tourism industry?
LT: This is my fifth year.
SE: What exactly are you doing in the tourism industry?
LT: I am a tour guide specialising in bird guiding.
SE: What inspired you to join the tourism industry?
LT: I am interested in being involved in challenging activities. This led me to coach a men’s soccer team. Jane High, who operates a tourism entity named Frog & Fern, came into the scene by sponsoring community sports teams. I asked her if my team could be considered in her sponsorship and she agreed. After a while, she extended her hand to me by asking if I was interested in tour guiding. That is how I became involved in tourism. She sponsored my tour guiding training course. Up this hour, I am still receiving tour guiding training, specialising in bird guiding.
SE: How is tour guiding developing you?
LT: I am able to break barriers. I am mostly humbled whenever I remind myself that I am the one holding a record of being the first female tour guide to emerge from Chimanimani. I tell myself to remain disciplined and examplary to other female and tour guidea. My record is inspiring a lot of young girls. I also understand the need for serving my community.
SE: Are there any challenges related to your work?
LT: Yes. The community sometimes doesn’t understand a female guide walking in the bush with male tourists.
SE: How do is bird tourism faring in Chimanimani?
LT: Specialisation of bird guiding as well as availability of rare bird species is attracting many birders to descend onto Chimanimani. I urge tourists to make Chimanimani their tourist destination of choice. The weather is favourable here.
SE: Apart from being a bird tour guide, what else do you do?
LT: I work at Frog & Ferns, a world class accommodation facility which is open to tourists of all classes. I love working at this place which is beautified by natural gardens, miombo woodlands and bird sounds. We offer guiding services to our clients.
SE: Any words to the girl child?
LT: First, I would like to give thanks to Jane High for sponsoring my tour guiding course. To the girl child, I urge you to conquer gender barrier. It is possible to do what men can do. Bird guiding is involving and keeps you fit, focused, smart and learning. We need more of you.
SE: Any closing remarks?
LT: Tourism depends on conservation of our environment. I urge people to desist from burning the forests and bushes. These fires kill vegetation and creatures. We don’t like to lose our rare bird species to forest fires.