Have you ever tried to plan for a trip but things like work schedules or budget constraints get in the way? Or sometimes you just want a friend to join you on a trip and help you split the costs but your personal calendars just don’t match up.
For many of us, the outdoors space seems inaccessible with activities such as hiking, cycling and camping often feeling exclusionary to anyone who isn’t physically fit, a tourist or a travel fanatic.
Thankfully, Travel Influencer, Fahad Fuad is working tirelessly to change that impression. Through his travel brand dubbed ‘UnzipTanzania’, Fahad organizes group trips to unique destinations within Tanzania with trips to Kenya and Uganda set to open in the near future.
Born and raised in Arusha, Tanzania, Fahad started his career as a model working for an impressive list of brand names such as Vodacom, Airtel, NMB and more. He later decided to invest in a camera which enabled him to earn a living as a freelance photographer for major social events, models and celebrities including Mi Casa, Omarion and Wizkid.
Fast forward to today, Fahad is a travel influencer, content creator, wildlife and travel destination photographer. He is also the founder of UnzipTanzania, an illustrious travel community which offers tours designed to give travelers a photo-centric experience of mind-blowingly beautiful landscapes across Tanzania.
What inspired you to set up UnzipTanzania?
As I transitioned from the fashion industry, I fell in love with the process of traveling and taking pictures of my experiences, the landscapes, birds and animals. However, at the time I could not afford to visit 5 star hotels and the likes. And Tanzania was only known for places like Zanzibar, Mount Kilimanjaro and its national parks.
So in 2017 I started traveling solo to unknown destination where I would create a lot of travel content and post on social media. Everyone kept asking where those places are thinking that I’m in Switzerland or Norway, only to find out that I was just in Tanzania.
In December 2018, I decided to disclose an itinerary for my next trip and I invited guys to join me. 10 people showed up and the community has grown to what is today known as UnzipTanzania. Currently I organize group travels of more than 80 people per trip.
How does UnzipTanzania work?
UnzipTanzania is all about opening up Tanzania to the world and creating awareness of how beautiful our country is through unzipping hidden destinations and experiences. For starters, we try to eliminate all the excuses one might have for not traveling. Domestic traveling has always been deemed expensive and time consuming. To counter this, trips are usually scheduled between Fridays and Sundays which is convenient for most people. We also keep it budget friendly since to some extent cost such as fuel are shared among the group.
Anyplans to expand across East Africa
Oh yes. We have set up UnzipKenya and UnzipUganda; however, we have not made any trips yet. Before the year 2020 ends, I plan to explore Kenya to identify some hidden spots. UnzipTanzania seeks to connect the East African borders so that we are not always thinking of traveling to Dubai. For instance, currently, we have close to 30 Kenyans studying or working in Tanzania who frequently join our group trips.
It’s crazy to believe that the self-taught photographer’s fame in the travel industry spouted from a single photo taken at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. What’s so interesting about the photo is that he is shirtless at the Arctic zone where temperatures are estimated to range between -7 and -29 Celsius degrees; which is extremely cold for an average person covered with insulated jackets.
The image sent a message that Fahad is an adrenaline driven influencer with a willingness to go anywhere and try anything, which makes for amazing adventures and photo opportunities. It has also inspired many locals to try out domestic tourism.
Scrolling through Fahad’s Instagram page is like browsing postcards with backdrops that are so beautiful that they appear unreal. Lately, he prefers to be the one behind the camera rather than in front of it and his images prove that a picture can in fact be worth a thousand words. It’s no surprise that his Instagram community has grown into a community of more than 82K followers. Instagram: @fahad_fuad
What challenges do you face as a travel influencer?
At first, it was difficult to convince hotels and different destinations about the value of investing in influencer marketing. Some of them did not appreciate local photographers, instead they heavily relied on photographers from abroad to sell them internationally.
I’m glad that they are now starting work with local influencers, that’s why many photographers are now venturing into this line of photography.