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March & April 2010 Bush Blog

Marketing Madness

The best thing about running a safari camp in a beautiful part of Africa is the satisfaction of seeing our guests coming and going, soaking in the beauty of the surrounding wilderness, whilst letting it slowly soothe stresses and strains of the “real world”.  The medicinal effect of the safari is second to none; a guinea-fowl soup for the soul perhaps?  Our partners, Greg & Susan were recently up in the Park with us for a couple of weeks and they too seemed to unravel the longer they stayed.  The restorative power of nature should not be underestimated...

Whilst Jos and I have been running around the world in recent months on a massive marketing road-show covering the States, the UK and South Africa, the one thing that constantly came back to us was this feeling that people the world around need to unwind a little – perhaps to discover the true meaning of the word 'safari' again.  Saffar is an Arabic term referring to a number of “journey”-related aspects of life.  However, way beyond the current Western understanding of the safari link to being a physical journey, the reality is a much deeper journey, in a number of stages, involving the body, mind and soul.  In the great parable, The Alchemist, this concept is beautifully captured through the journey of a boy in search of treasure.  The “treasure” ends up being more in the journey and the learnings thereof, as his adventures take him on a full circle back to his home again.  There is quite a lot if the story of the Alchemist in all of us, I feel, and I guess this is why travel is one of the oldest past-times of our species and one of the biggest economic drivers in the world today.  Apart from it being big business, it’s also vital to reduce one’s busy-ness.  And judging by the response we have had as we have travelled around to various agents, operators, shows, friends and family over these past months, we realise that there are many out there who share our dream and our passion to make people happy through providing a really great experience in one of Africa’s least-known but most exciting destinations – Gorongosa National Park!

 

One of our most popular marketing spiels recently was the launch of the National Geographic film that covers Gorongosa in all its current glory: Africa’s Lost Eden.  Towards the end of the movie the narrator says something like “if a place like Gorongosa can be saved after all it has been through these past few decades, perhaps no wild place in the world is beyond hope”.   Now we may just be biased and over-idealistic, especially since we sell this concept as part of what we are all about at Explore Gorongosa, but I truly feel that Gorongosa is more than just a Park, more than just a restoration project, more than just a beautiful place in Mozambique that combines well with its stunning beaches and islands... I truly feel it is a journey.  A journey of the body, mind and soul. An exclusive saffar for the converted Africa-phile and the Africa-novice alike.   And perhaps as a result of this, we feel it has something supremely unique in the somewhat busy African safari industry.

 
 
So when we see guests leaving our Explorers Camp happy and relaxed without too many cares in the world, and where their biggest decisions are all too trivial - would that be scrambled or fried eggs this morning Bill?  Walk or drive this afternoon Jane?  Single or double gin and tonic, sir? – we feel a sense of hope again.  Hope in the world, but especially hope in Africa.  Hope in the future of wild places, and wonderful people.  And hope that perhaps sometime in the near future, when the world is back on its feet again... we may hear doctors prescribing ”2 weeks in Gorongosa” as a cure to stress rather than another prescription of sedatives or beta-blockers...  we may even ask our medical aid companies to make travel a tax benefit.  Hah – bring it on!

If you just can’t wait for your annual fix of Good Times, and your current set of sedatives are lacking any further punch... This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and come play in the land of Explore Gorongosa...   

 
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