Zimba is the third generation from his family in the adventure tourism sector
Zimba Zangbu Sherpa is not a new name to those involved in Nepali travel trade especially the adventure tourism sector. Born in 2015 BS in Khumjung village of Solukhumbu district, Sherpa is the former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), owner of Khumbi-Ila Trekking & Mountaineering and La Villa Sherpani – a deluxe resort in Lukla, and President of Khumbi-Ila Samrakshyan Samuha – a non-profit organization.
Born to a family of mountaineering sirdars, adventure tourism was the obvious career choice for Zimba. “My grandfather Dawa Tenzing Sherpa was the first sirdar form the Sherpa community. He assisted legendary mountaineers like George Malory and Andrew Irvine as they explored peaks like Mout Everest in the 1920s,” Zimba shares. “My father Ang Temba Sherpa continued what my grandfather did.”
Zimba is the third generation from the Sherpa family in the adventure tourism sector. While his grandfather and father only worked as sirdars, Zimba established his own company to handle groups in the Himalayas.
The young Zimba studied in Khumjung School built by Sir Edmund Hillary. As his parents were not educated, he used to look after their accounts. “My grandfather and father used to bring groups to our village. I used to look into their accounts. Later, I also joined trekking parties led by my father. This is how I entered tourism sector,” Zimba adds.
Zimba was only 15 when he embarked on his first trekking trip. It was a trek to Gokyo and he joined the team from Khumjung. After few years, Zimba came to Kathmandu along with his family. “We had to walk all the way to Banepa via Jiri, Charikot and Dhulikhel. The journey took many weeks. My father had a Newari friend in Ason. We live at his place for some days,” he adds.
After completing his high school, Zimba enrolled at Amrit Science College for his Intermediate in Science. “But I was transferred to Biratnagar Science College because of reasons best known to them. After completing one semester there, I was again transferred to Amrit Science College. But as the college didn’t have seat, my year was wasted,” Zimba laments. He also enrolled for a pharmacy course at Teaching Hospital but couldn’t continue it. He completed Intermediate in Arts at around 2031 BS on the insistence of his friend. He also enrolled for BA. “But I didn’t sit for exams. But I received honorary diploma in mountaineering by ENSA after many years,” he adds.
Zimba’s father used to work for Mountain Travels promoted by Col Jimmy Roberts. “Most of the popular trekking routes in Nepal are explored by Mountain Travels. Many difficult routes explored by the company are no longer in use as trekkers prefer teahouse treks these days,” Zimba adds.
In the initial years, Zimba helped his father in Mountain Travels. Then he worked under Dinesh Gurung with Himalayan Rovers. After working there for some years, he moved to Trans Himalayan Treks promoted by Takahasi Miyahara. “My father and Miyahara climbed Jugal Himal together. Miyahara was a family friend. It is one of the reasons that prompted me to join Trans Himalayan Treks,” he shares. After working with Miyahara for seven years, Zimba felt he should start his own venture now. Thus he established Khumbi-Ila Trekking and Mountaineering in 1984. Since then, there has been looking back.
Zimba met a French national named Robert Reiffel in the 1980s. “It proved to be a turning point in my career in Nepali adventure tourism industry. He helped to promote my company in France and also authored a book on me – Avec Zimba, Le Sherpa which means ‘With Zimba, the Sherpa’ in English,” he informs.
Three editions of the book has already been published – one each in France, India and Nepal.
Talking about his business, Zimba said it was very difficult in the initial years. “I had to struggle a lot in the first six years. I used to look after everything: welcoming guests at the airport, taking them to hotels, arranging stuffs, leading them to treks,” he said and added: “I started looking after the management after business volume started picking up.”
Zimba also opened a branch of French company Atalante Trekking & Mountaineering in Nepal in 1994. “But I parted ways with the company in 2015,” he added.
Not just a successful adventure tourism entrepreneur, Zimba is a mountaineer and mountaineering instructor too. “I have climbed all trekking peaks of NMA. I have attempted Everest three times leading French and Korean groups. But I could reach up to the height of 7,400 meters only,” he added. Zimba has also climbed Ganesh IV, as part of Nepal-Japan joint expedition, and Amadablam. “Climbing Amadablam was a very memorable experience for me. “I was standing on the summit of Amadablam on the fourth day since I left Kathmandu. I arrived Lukla on the same day I reached the Amadablam summit,” he shared.
Zimba’s major clientele comes from France. “French people love Nepal. Lot of French people visit different destinations around the globe. But for those looking for mountaineering and adventure tourism, Nepal has no alternative. French people like our hospitable nature and smiling face. No matter how difficult is our situation, we always welcome guests with a big smile. This is our unique selling point,” he adds. He also argues that Nepal is the adventure capital of the Himalayan range. “We taught Tibet, and Ladakh and Sikkim of India to promote tourism. The incumbent chief of Tibet Mountaineering School learnt mountaineering from me. But they are now marching ahead of us,” he laments.
Zimba has completed basic and adventure mountaineering training from NMA. He has also trained in France two times. “I have also received mountaineering training in France two times. Likewise, I hold an honorary diploma in mountaineering from École Nationale de Ski et Alpinisme (ENSA), France.
Information about his social affiliations, Zimba said he was in the executive committee of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) two times in the 1980s. He was first elected in the board of NMA in the 1990s when late Dawa Norbu Sherpa was the president. Similarly, he was an office-bearer in the executive committee led by Tashi Jangbu Sherpa. He has served as vice-president of the association for two terms, and president for one term. Currently, he is the coordinator of International Mountaineers’ Memorial Park of NMA.
Zimba is living with his wife, three sons, two daughters in-law and two grandsons at his home near Chabahil, Kathmandu. As his office is on the premises of his home, he can be seen playing with his grand children. “My elder son is helping in my business, while the middle one is an orthopedic surgeon. Similarly, my youngest son holds a Masters in Political Science from India,” he adds.
Zimba owes his success to Fench national Robert Reiffel. “He introduced me to France and the French people. The book that he authored helped me a lot in my business,” he adds. Comparing today’s trekking with that of 1980s, Zimba said trekking was lot better in the past. “We had to everything – food and tent etc all the way from Kathmandu. After a tiring day, we used to set up camps, play madal and sing around campfire. We prepared our food ourselves. That was a new experience altogether,” Zimba adds.
Lamented that our trekking activities is still centered in Annapurna, Everest and Langtang, Zimba underscored the need to explore routes in other parts of the country and promote them effectively in the international market. “Far-east, mid-western and far-western regions have immense tourism potentials. But trekkers are not going there as these places lack infrastructures. We still don’t get good porters in mid and far western region. People there are also yet be friendly with tourism,” he said, adding: “The government should build necessary infrastructures first.”
Apart from his daily work schedule, his is sparing some time for social works as well. He has opened Khumbi-Ila Samrkashan Pratisthan to give back to the society. The organization is providing scholarships to needy students as well as building schools in quake-hit districts.
With the election for the new executive committee of NMA round the bend, Zimba is observing the situation closely. “I have led NMA in one of the difficult times. My friends and colleagues in the mountaineering industry know what I am capable of. If they think I am the right man to lead the association, I am ready to take the responsibility,” he said.
Popular travel magazine National Geographic has featured Pokhara city in its ‘Best Spring Trips 2017’ list.
Pokhara made it into the list with 11 other destinations from over the world.
“Soaring over the Pokhara Valley delivers adrenaline-junkie Himalaya views without the hiking. Pokhara, a gateway to Nepal’s Annapurna region, is considered one of the world’s top spots for paragliding due, in part, to jaw-dropping views of glaciers, lakes, and snow-covered peaks,” the publication writes.
The magazine has also praised the service of Sunrise Paragliding – a paragliding operator based in Lakeside.
“No experience is required to ride with an instructor on a Sunrise Paragliding tandem flight. Options include the relatively tame Cloud Buster (20- to 30-minute) scenic flight, a longer (45- to 60-minute) Cross-Country tour, and the spinning-and-spiraling Acrobatic Flight,” the magazine writes, adding: “Before launching from Sarangkot (2,000 feet above the Pokhara Valley), snap a picture of Pokhara’s majestic mountain triple crown—26,795-foot Dhaulagiri, 26,040-foot Annapurna II, and 26,781-foot Manaslu.”
Pokhara is the second popular destination in the country after Kathmandu – the capital city of Nepal. The city, which is famous for breathtaking mountain views, is a gateway to popular trekking trails in the Annapurna Region.
Other destination featured in the list are Cape – to – Cape in South Africa, Eastern Europe by Balkan Flexipass, New York City Central Park in USA, Olympic National Park in Washington, USA, Suzhou in China, Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Balloon Rally in Wisconsin, USA, Philadelphia in USA, Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, Aogashima Island in Japan and Bubble Lodges in France.
Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) has condemned the decision to distribute bonus to the staffers of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
Issuing a statement on Monday, the umbrella association of Nepali travel agents said that the decision taken by former tourism minister Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, who also chairs the board of directors of CAAN, was against CAAN Act 1996, Bonus Act 1973 and Bonus Rules 1982.
“The decision has thrown cold water on our hope that CAAN would spend the money collected from air passengers to build new airports, upgrade facilities at existing airports and build necessary infrastructure at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), NATTA said.
NATTA has also reminded that the European Union (EU) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have kept Nepali airlines in blacklist as CAAN has not upgraded infrastructure of TIA and improved safety standards.
Saurya Airlines had added a new Bombardier CRJ-200 series aircraft to its fleet.
According to the company, the aircraft has been acquired with an investment of Rs 1 billion.
Pilots of Bombardier flew the aircraft from the US to Nepal via Azerbaijan, the company said issuing a statement.
With the expansion in fleet, Saurya Airlines plans to expand its flights to different trunk routes. The airline has been flying to Bhadrapur, Biratnagar and Nepalgunj. Now, it plans to start scheduled flights to Bhairahawa and Dhangadhi as well.
Deepak Kumar Pokharel, the chairman of Saurya Airlines, said that the domestic carrier will add a third aircraft within three months. “Apart from trunk routes, we also have plan to start mountain flights,” he added.
The aircraft is configured to carry 50 passengers.
The three-day #photoNepal photography exhibition began in Kathmandu from Friday.
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) CEO Deepak Raj Joshi inaugurated the expo amid a function organized in NTB on Thursday.
The exhibition is being organized by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) as part of its efforts to promote tourism among both Nepalis and foreign visitors. The expo is organized in the first weekend of English calendar on different themes. The March session of #photoNepal is being organized in coordination with Facebook group Nepalese in Photography which has more than 200,000 members.
Speaking at the program, CEO Joshi said he was pleased to note that general people were helping in promotion of tourism products and services through products like this. “We are also taking the expo out of Kathmandu. #photoNepal has already been organized in Biratnagar. Preparations are underway to organize the expo in Panauti and Pokhara,” Joshi added.
Joshi also awarded top three photographs submitted in ‘Nepalese in Photography’ Facebook group.
Photograph of Kalinchowk taken by Rajiv Kapali won the first prize, while the photographs of Kulekhani taken by Bijay Gurung and Namche Bazar taken by Sabrina Dangol won second and third prize, respectively.
Talking about the expo, Sudhan Subedi, senior officer of NTB, said the main objective of the expo was to promote Nepal through photographs. “For this session, we asked the members of ‘Nepalese in Photography’ what Ghumphir is for them. And they have responded to our question with beautiful photographs. We have selected 60 photographs from thousands of entries,” he added. “Increasing visitors’ footfall shows that the expo is becoming popular. We are getting photographs of tourism attractions from throughout the country.”
An interaction with journalist Kunda Dixit, and a special show of documentary ‘Helicopter Rescuer in the Himalaya’ will be organized on Sunday as part of the exhibition, according to Subedi.
(All photos by Nepalese In Photography)