INSPIRING INNOVATION: COLIN BELL - We Are Africa

WE ARE AFRICA POSTPONED TO 17-20 May 2021

INSPIRING INNOVATION: COLIN BELL

3 -min. read

INSPIRING INNOVATION: COLIN BELL

The second in our series of interviews with this year’s panel of judges for the 2016 Innovation Awards is Colin Bell (read our first interview with fellow judge Masingita Mazibuko here).  As one of the continent’s most renowned conservationists and tourism experts, he’ll be using his experience to help shortlist the initial entries before we hand over to the tribe to choose the winners.

Find out what Colin will be looking out for from this year’s entries…

What are you looking for from this year’s Innovation Awards entries? Is there any one category that you are particularly excited about judging?

They are all interesting categories. I hope that there are a number of innovative entries this year that push the sustainable / responsible tourism boundaries to new heights to inspire the rest of us to do better. The conservation category interests me the most by a whisker – and hopefully there are no greenwashers!!

“To me, Africa is where we all began. Each and every one of us has had their DNA crafted here in Africa. Getting to know what makes each of us tick and ultimately better understanding oneself can best be fully unlocked after spending quality time in remote, rural Africa. Travels to the continent leads to inner content – but be warned, it is addictive!”

What innovative projects, people or initiatives are being started in Africa that you think the rest of the world should know about? 

One of mankind’s looming and still to be answered questions is how will our wild places and wildlife interface with the billions of additional people that will shortly be inhabiting the planet. Policies that we implement today will very much become the foundations for the future. We are at the crossroads between the high road and the low road and it’s important to get those policies right. For decades Africa has been at the forefront of community / wildlife interactions – some of these experiments have worked and others have failed. The successful formulas should be emulated throughout Africa and then around the world to help solve the looming conflicts between rural people and their neighbouring wild places.

What stereotype of Africa would you like to banish for good – and what would you replace it with?

Brand Africa must be reinvented and the word spread far and wide so that travellers from around the globe place Africa higher up on their bucket lists. In the process, Brand Africa must banish all messages of Africa being “too difficult” and “too dangerous”. Brand Africa must motivate people to get over here to discover the wonders of the continent and to discover their roots!

What does being African mean to you?

It means being “home” – that place where I feel completely at peace

Complete the sentence: “To me, Africa is…

Where we all began. Each and every one of us has had their DNA crafted here in Africa. Getting to know what makes each of us tick and ultimately better understanding oneself can best be fully unlocked after spending quality time in remote, rural Africa. Travels to the continent leads to inner content – but be warned, it is addictive!

Tell us your innovative and inspiring story and stand a chance at making the shortlist for the 2016 We Are Africa Innovation Awards. Find out more about the categories and apply here.

Colin Bell

Colin Bell
Colin Bell landed his first job as a safari guide in Botswana in 1977. In 1983 Colin co-founded Wilderness Safaris with Chris McIntyre. Over the decades it grew to manage camps and lodges across seven countries. Colin sold his shares in Wilderness in 2005 and went on to co-found and manage Great Plains for the next five years. Colin’s new-found independence resulted in Africa’s Finest, an iconic book about the good, the bad and the ugly of the tourism industry in 2013. After five years of enjoying life in shadows, Colin is about to launch his latest (and last) company – one with communities and wildlife and its core!

We use cookies to improve your experience, by browsing this site you are agreeing to this. For more information, including how to disable these cookies, please see our privacy policy