Globetrotter and activist Sherwin Banda, President of African Travel
Hotelier, Africa ambassador and activist, Sherwin Banda has spent more than 17 years in the international hospitality industry and is renowned for his passionate devotion to all things Africa. Born and raised in Cape Town, Banda’s impressive pedigree includes various positions in South Africa, the United Kingdom and United States.
We caught up recently with the busy globetrotter to discuss his passion and his quest to save the rhinos.
Tell us where you have just come back from?
I have been fortunate to visit Ashford Castle in Ireland. Once the home of the nobility as well as the Guinness bear clan. This 13th century manse still stands tall on the edge of Lough Corrib, aided by the fact that the property was lovely restored by the Red Carnation hotel group.
Where in the world have you felt happiest?
It would have to be South Africa. It’s a magical and sacred place – a place where I am at peace.
Name a place that most lived up to the hype?
I moved to London in my early 20s and since then I have returned every year. There is an energy in London that grabs hold of you and never lets go of you, until you escape its grip upon departure.
Which is your favourite place/destination and why?
Botswana! The vast expanse of the Kalahari Desert is punctured at its heart by a lush tropical oasis. Its river arches swell with the rains attracting wildlife in abundance. Yet by the end of the dry season all the water is simply gone. The delicate balance between predator and prey will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. This amazing destination has to be on everyone’s bucket list.
Favourite travel companion(s)?
I have to admit being with husband and son is truly special. They make me belly laugh and fill the empty spaces which one sometimes feels when traveling alone.
What’s your guilty pleasure while travelling?
There is nothing I love more in this world than being a dad. It is the greatest blessing in the world.
Which is your road most travelled?
No matter where I find myself in the world, I have a deep desire to stay connected to Africa and return as often as I can.
A wise man once said –
you come into this world with nothing and you will leave this world with nothing. What really matters is what we do in between.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met on your travels?
Traveling through South Africa, I met Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This amazing man changed the hearts of a broken nation during one of the most tumultuous times in our history. His leadership of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission led a nation on the brink of civil war to compromise and forgiveness.
What people still do not know about Africa?
Africa is so much more than just safari. People have always been fascinated by Africa, the world’s most exotic continent, and for good reason; in a single trip, guests can perch at the top of Victoria Falls, face their fears on an underwater cage-dive with Great White sharks, relax by the beach in a five-star resort, and witness the Big Five up close and personal.
What inspires you to keep exploring this planet?
Travel breaks down barriers and creates a greater understanding of our global community.
Why is 1973 a very important year?
It is the year I was born and share a special birthday with my twin sister. It is also a time when there were 95% more rhinos roaming the African continent. Today, 95% of rhinos have been wiped off the face of the earth in the past four decades. Due to ignorance these majestic creatures have been hunted for their horns.
At African Travel we have been sharing with travelers how to they can support wildlife conservation with regards to their social media posts. While on safari, tourists post photos of animals to social media sites, not realizing that embedded within the post or the photo is a geotag containing the GPS location of the photo or poster. This allows poachers to track animals of value. Thus we encourage to keep your posts private by removing any geotags and in so doing protect Africa’s wildlife for generations to come.
“I lost my heart in …”
Cape Town, South Africa. It is the city where I fell in love and returned to marry the love of my life. It is also the city where we met our son and adopted him into our family