THREE young aspiring tour guides walked away with scholarships to undergo the Learners Professional Hunters Licence after emerging as winners of the inaugural Last Guide Standing Contest held at the Bulawayo History Museum last Saturday.
For Chaimaine Poorey, Lwandile Mpofu and Shalom Ngulube, all in their early 20s, the scholarships are a gateway to realising their dreams of working with tourists, showcasing the country’s flora and fauna.
To be recognised as a tour guide in the country, one must be a holder of a Learners Professional Hunters Licence, which is administered by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
The exams are held twice a year in February and September.
The Last Guide Standing Contest was organised by local tour operators Mbira Tours in partnership with the TD Muhambi Foundation.
Over 30 young participants took part in the quiz that centred on the history of Bulawayo and the country in general, wild life and tour guiding as a career.
“We are proud to be part of this initiative that aims to encourage the younger generation to take up tour guiding as a career. Tourism is a big industry that sells Zimbabwe as a safe and beautiful tourist destination and young people must be part of that slice of the national cake.
“The TD Muhambi Foundation will award scholarships to the top three participants so that they are able to sit for the Learners Professional Hunters Licence next year.
“We hope to make the Last Guide Standing Contest an annual event that benefits young aspiring tour guides,” said TD Muhambi Foundation spokesman Tapfuma Mapfuwa.
One of the winners, Mpofu said the scholarship came at the right time as her parents were struggling to raise the US$200 exam fee to sit for the Learners Professional Hunters Licence.
“Being a tour guide is a career that I have always wanted to pursue and the scholarship will help me realise that dream. I had not yet paid the registration and exam fees to write the Learners Professional Hunters Licence so winning the contest came at the right time when I needed the scholarship the most,” said Mpofu.