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Love Africa’s Top 10 Highlights for 2023

2023 has definitely brought more than 10 highlights…but, we thought it best to prioritise.

Once again, we have seen huge growth for Love Africa with new partners, team members and exciting projects on a large scale. We are grateful to our amazing team whose skills and hard work have contributed greatly to the many successes Love Africa has had this last year. 

From partners who have been with us from the beginning, to those who joined us in 2023; we have loved telling their stories and supporting the impact they continue to make in Africa, whether it’s through conservation or tourism, or a combination. 

We hope you enjoy reading our top ten highlights for 2023 below:

1. Love Africa Wins Gold at WTM Africa Awards

Many thanks to our conservation partner, Roz Greef of Wildlife ACT for representing us at the Awards in Cape Town. Photo courtesy of WTM Africa.

In April 2023, Love Africa Marketing was ecstatic to receive recognition on an international scale for our work in tourism and conservation across Africa. We were awarded Gold for ‘Most Compelling Agency Story’ at the World Tourism Market (WTM) Africa Awards, held in Cape Town. The WTM Africa Awards are hosted annually to acknowledge successes in the tourism sector. 

In addition, ‘There is Power in our Mountains,’ a short film produced in collaboration with Semonkong Lodge, took home two Silver Awards for ‘Most Compelling Tourism Story’ and ‘Most Compelling Adventure Story.’

2. Blood Lions Movie released on YouTube

The Blood Lions documentary, an award-winning feature film, was released on YouTube in June 2023, allowing the public to freely access the film in seven different languages. 

This South African documentary premiered in 2015 and is a collaborative global campaign to create awareness of the captive predator trade in South Africa. The film showcases ‘canned’ hunting, live trade, lion bone industries, and associated activities such as voluntourism, cub petting and walking with lions. 

The release of the film on YouTube came at a strategic time, as the South African government continue their work to phase out the country’s commercial captive lion breeding industry.

Allowing the public free access to the Blood Lions film further increases awareness around this exploitative industry, and helps create the public pressure needed to get the phase out over the legislative line.

3. Love Africa Marketing turns 10 years old

Love Africa Marketing turned 10 years old in November 2023, leading us to reflect on the past decade and all the achievements we have had, the partners we have connected with, and the team members who have played a key role in getting us to where we are today. 

As part of this milestone and celebration, we launched a fresh, new look for our logo. In addition, our founder, Nicola Gerrard, released a personal reflection on how and why Love Africa Marketing came to be.

“For me, this was centered around working and living my passions; on choosing to work with amazing people and organisations, and most importantly, around making an impact. This is when I started Love Africa – with the aim to use communication and marketing to highlight this continent, its people and its landscape with a key focus on tourism and conservation.” 

Read the reflections piece here.

4. Launching Madwaleni River Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal

Collaborating with Babanango Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal to launch their newest lodge, Madwaleni River Lodge, was another highlight for Love Africa in 2023.

In August we worked with the Babanango team to document and announce the news of their fourth tourism product – a luxury tented lodge situated along the White Umfolozi River.

During the pre-launch phase, our team visited the lodge to photograph and film the architectural features and interior design of Madwaleni River Lodge. Since the launch, the lodge has been featured across international and national media including Tourism Update, Getaway Magazine, IOL, Conde Nast and Travel&Leisure. 

5. Partnering with Foxes Safari Camps

Love Africa Marketing expanded further into Africa where we have partnered with Foxes Safari Camps, located in southern and western Tanzania. This is a passionate and dedicated family-run company who have been living and working in this region of Tanzania for over 60 years. With camps and lodges in the most renowned and beautiful national parks in the south, and impactful projects on the ground – we are proud to be working with this team.

We were fortunate enough to spend two weeks at Foxes Safari Camps while on a site visit and photography shoot near the end of 2023. The experience further fueled our love for Africa, its wildlife, travel opportunities, and people.

Visit their website here

6. The ALL RISE campaign

In November 2023, we supported a campaign with partners, ALL RISE to launch their bilingual Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Guide in isiZulu and English. 

An Environmental Impact Assessment assesses possible impacts that a development might have on the surrounding environment and the people who live there. It is a legal requirement that should be accessible to affected parties and enables them to hold developers and authorities accountable. 

Often, affected communities are unable to read and effectively participate in the EIA process due to language barriers resulting in inequality around decision making. 

Together with community members of the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation, the South African affiliate of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIAsa), and Wakhiwe Stakeholder Engagement Specialists, ALL RISE created the isiZulu EIA Guide, making EIA accessible to isiZulu-speaking communities.

This is especially important when proposed projects will have negative effects on the communities’ environment, well-being and health, and will enable communities to participate more effectively in the EIA process.

7. Production of SEE US with WILDTRUST

Image by Mnqobi Zuma of WILDTRUST during the SEE US production.jpg

This year, Love Africa worked alongside our longest partners, WILDTRUST, to produce a short marine film called ‘SEE US’ which was launched across South Africa in August 2023.

It explores South Africa’s untamed coastline revealing the secret sanctuaries that sharks and rays embrace as their refuge. Watch as two intrepid underwater explorers uncover life below the surface with these national treasures.

Thank you to the passionate team at WILDOCEANS for the opportunity to highlight the importance of our ocean and its conservation. And thank you to our dedicated crew and conservation partners for this production.

Watch SEE US here.

8. Wildlife Translocations

In June and July, Love Africa worked with Babanango Game Reserve in documenting, and later announcing, two of their wildlife reintroductions to the reserve – lion and elephant.

We joined their conservation partners on the ground to capture the significant efforts and collaboration that is needed for projects like this.

Love Africa is proud to have been involved in telling these important stories of conservation success and the ‘rewilding’ of Babanango Game Reserve. A special mention to our cinematographers Sven Musica and Calvin Thompson for their craft in filming these.

9. African Nature Based Tourism Proposal Writing workshop

Love Africa was invited to conduct a communications presentation at a proposal writing workshop hosted by the African Nature Based Tourism Platform in July 2023. 

We shared the importance of including Marketing and Communications when submitting budgets for funding proposals, and the effectiveness of allocating funds towards marketing campaigns. 

The workshop was hosted in Johannesburg by WWF US and attended by representatives of the Platform’s partner organisations from across 10 southern and eastern African countries. As a result, each partner organisation left the workshop with the foundations of a proposal document, which have all since been refined and submitted for funding opportunities.

Watch the workshop reflections video here.

10. International Film awards over the year

Love Africa Marketing was thrilled to take home ten international film awards throughout 2023. We are thankful to our conservation and tourism partners for their trust and support in us – we are proud to tell their stories and launch their impact across the world. 

Recognition for 2023: 

  • Two Silver Awards for ‘Most Compelling Tourism Story’ and ‘Most Compelling Adventure Story.’ for ‘There is Power in our Mountains’ with Semonkong Lodge. 
  • Silver in the category of best ‘Tourism Services’ for ‘There is Power in our Mountains’ with Semonkong Lodge. 

Love Africa Marketing attended the International Tourism Film Festival Africa (ITFFA) Awards in May and took home three gold awards for two films we produced. 

  • Two Golds for the category ‘Doc and TV series’ for the five-part mini series, ‘Making CONTACT’ series and for episode 5 of ‘Making CONTACT’ With Hills Pet Nutrition. 
  • Awarded Gold for ‘There is Power in Our Mountains’ for Best Tourism Video in the ‘Tourism Product – Adventure Tourism’ category with Semonkong Lodge.

In October, three of our partners films took home four awards at the ART&TUR – International Tourism Film Festival. 

  • Gold for ‘Making CONTACT’ under the ‘Environment and Ecology’ category.
  • Gold for ‘There is Power in our Mountains’ in the category ‘Best Promotional Film: Nature Tourism.’
  • Gold for ‘The Return of the King‘ with Babanango Game Reserve for ‘Best African Documentary Film.’ 
  • Silver for ‘This is Home‘ with Babanango Game Reserve for ‘Best Nature Tourism Documentary.’ The documentary follows efforts to reintroduce the iconic black rhino into Babanango Game Reserve, aligning with the reserve’s rewilding strategy.

Film Production: Love Africa Marketing team with director and producer: Nicola Gerrard and cinematographer and editor: Sven Musica. 

Love Africa’s Top 10 Images for 2023

Here is a short selection of images taken by our photographers that showcase a few of our top highlights and stories of 2023.

Vulture monitoring with Wildlife Act in the Southern Drakensberg. Picture: Casey Pratt - Love Africa Marketing
The elephant translocation to Babanango Game Reserve. Picture: Kirsty Baker - Love Africa Marketing
Elephant translocation in Babanango Game Reserve. Picture: Sven Musica - Love Africa Marketing
The lion translocation to Babanango Game Reserve. Picture: Casey Pratt - Love Africa Marketing
Foxes Safari Camp's Katavi Wildlife Camp in southern Tanzania. Picture: Casey Pratt - Love Africa Marketing
Babanango Valley Lodge in Babanango Game Reserve. Picture: Sven Musica - Love Africa Marketing
Babanango Game Reserve's flagship lodge, Madwaleni River Lodge. Picture: Sven Musica - Love Africa Marketing
Babanango Valley Lodge's boma. Picture: Sven Musica - Love Africa Marketing
Babanango Valley Lodge in Babanango Game Reserve. Picture: Sven Musica - Love Africa Marketing
Captured during the filming of Wildtrust's SEE US short film. Picture: Sven Musica - Love Africa Marketing

As another exciting and successful year comes to an end, we know we couldn’t have done it without our incredible partners and team members. We look forward to 2024 and all the new opportunities that are to come. 

Ready to work with us in 2024? Get in touch HERE.