Sharing Wilderness journey with “Lesh” Moiteela – Wilderness Cultural Ambassador & Community Relatio
How and when did your journey with Wilderness Safaris begin?
My journey with Wilderness began in 2004 while working in Gaborone. An ex-employee of the company, and a then-colleague, suggested that my energy levels and enthusiasm were well-suited for the tourism sector. She recommended that I head for Maun – and insisted that Wilderness Safaris was the right place for me. Sixteen years later I am still here!
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Central Botswana, in the village/town of Serowe but left for high school in Gaborone and big city life. While attempting night school, I derailed my formal education studies in favour of working in the hotel industry. During this time I enjoyed a stint as a cultural representative, and later worked as a concierge and in guest relations for one of the world’s best entertainment destinations, Walt Disney World, Florida.
What do you love most about living in Botswana?
Botswana is home… “goora motho go thebe phatshwa”, which means, there is no sanctuary of virtue better than home. I love our people, our different cultures and our beautiful country.
What do you enjoy most about working at Wilderness?
I love working for a company that is dedicated to making a significant difference to Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. What resonates with me the most is our purpose of “Restoring Africa’s wilderness and wildlife”.
What does your role include? We know you are involved with culture…
I have covered a few roles in the last 15 years, with most spent in lodge management and operations. In the last two-and-a-half years I have worked as Cultural Ambassador and Community Relationship Manager. I have also worked as a Coordinator for Children in the Wilderness, a non-profit organisation supported by Wilderness Safaris.
Why is culture and community so important to you?
In our sphere of ecotourism, community and culture plays an important role in uplifting communities and improving livelihoods. It is thus key for us to make this a priority, especially during this difficult time of travel restrictions and lockdown. Our team at Wilderness Safaris in Maun has been providing food hampers and essential supplies to local communities feeling the brunt of reduced incomes from a variety of struggling industries and employment-drivers in the region.
Out of our four values of Fun, Leadership, Respect and Dedication, which of these resonates with you the most and why?
Leadership is never reliant on laurels and I am forever looking for new ideas, which I am not afraid to pursue, within reasonable boundaries…
Surprise us with one thing we (probably) do not know about you.
I am a hands-on guy and I cannot sit still for long. If I am not at work or asleep, there is always something on the go – I am a DIY guru.
Do you have a motto or life quote that speaks to you?
“Success is an attitude” – Dr Laura Lyons.
What lessons have you learnt from living and working in the wilderness?
The need for human and wildlife to co-exist is paramount to the success of conservation.
What excites you most about Botswana’s present-day tourism industry?
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the tourism industry, ecotourism is on the right track with the creation of employment and support of the government.
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self, knowing what you know now?
I would let my 20-year-old self-know that it is important to have a positive attitude. By being positive you can overcome any setback and tackle any challenge that comes your way. Always keep your eye on the ball!
Greatest Wilderness Safaris adventure so far?
Having visited all Wilderness Safaris camps in Botswana and experienced the uniqueness of each camp over the years, it was wonderful to recently experience these areas with our community partners as well as our Children in the Wilderness Eco-Clubs members. It was very rewarding for the soul – we definitely do change lives!
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
I have been privileged to visit destinations where Wilderness Safaris operates in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe … so Rwanda is next on the list.