And the Winning Photos Are… Almost as Fabulous as Their Photographers

By November 27, 2019Our Stories

The Tongabezi Treasures Competition was always going to be a lot of fun but even we couldn’t have predicted how incredible Tongabezi guests are as photographers and as people.


Kelly McInroy-Edwards has won not one but TWO of our categories.

Kelly obviously has a keen eye for detail and a powerful ability to capture a moment, but what we loved the best was his ability to spin a story around each image he submitted. His captions for each photo were not only beautiful but they also drew us right into what must have been a very special holiday with his family.

“Music Man. It’s often the unexpected surprises while exploring a place that prompt the stories we tell others. As we arrived at Victoria Falls, this man playing the wooden marimba instantly caught our attention. The enthusiasm and joy that came through every stroke of his mallets translated into really lively music, and it was great! He even let our two young sons try it out! It was an experience in and of itself, and we had not yet seen Victoria Falls!”

Music man

Kelly McInroy’s winning ‘People’ category entry



“Elegant Nick. When traveling with kids, leave it up to them to find the most interesting insects! This one – who our sons named ‘Nick’ – captivated all of us with its striking colorful markings. These are Elegant Grasshoppers and we quickly learned that bugs on safari can be every bit as impressive as the Big Five!”

We hope his boys are proud of their dad, taking the prize for Best People Photo and Best Nature Photo too.


Kelly McInroy wins the ‘Nature’ category with this impressive grasshopper image


Donald Allen has chosen to donate his prize to the Tongabezi Trust School.

The Honeymoon House

Donald Allen wins the ‘Experiences’ category

Donald Allen’s golden hour shot of the Honeymoon House (as it was before our sliding doors) not only won the ‘Experiences’ category but he also got the most votes out of any photo in any category. And we’re not surprised, this picture manages to look dreamy and romantic and yet wonderfully wild and African at the same time. We can almost hear the birdcall and feel the cool breeze off the river, how gorgeous.


Kelly and Donald have BOTH spontaneously decided to donate their prizes to the Tongabezi Trust School 

Not only are our first official winners incredible photographers, but they’re also wonderfully generous people. Donald was the first to reach out and offer to donate his prize to our Trust School, but without any communication between the two Kelly also offered to do the same.

This is why we say that Tongabezi guests are the best in the world.

We’re trying to decide the best way to share their kindness with the school… a hamper wouldn’t quite work for so many children, and Tongabezi would get quite crowded if we had the whole school (all 270 children!) staying for a night. We had some other thoughts instead, but might need your help deciding:

  • A brand new pair of school shoes for two children who have done especially well in exams. School shoes are expensive and the children often end up wearing sizes that are too small or far too big! This will make the long walk to school that much easier for the lucky winners when they return for classes next year, and will hopefully inspire next year’s students to work even harder!
  • A voucher for food for some of our Grade 9 students based on merit. Our Grade 9’s are about to head off to high school, and although The Tongabezi Trust School will be sponsoring their education, it may come as a bit of a shock when they no longer have access to the Tongabezi Trust School’s daily food program. A food voucher would take the edge off their first few weeks at school and give them time to settle in.
  • A surprise snack box for one of the extra-curricular groups who remain at school outside of class times. Tongabezi has so many extra-curricular activities, from Traditional Dancing to Singing to Art and Sewing. A surprise snack box would be a lovely way to let the children putting in extra effort know that their creative work is appreciated.

Please do comment on our Facebook post to let us know which option you think would be best, or if you have another idea and would like to be a part of it!

We will update you with images in the new year once the children are back from their holidays and once we know what would be the best way to spread the kindness of our guests into the local community.


And Tim Freeman has won a SURPRISE extra category: The Tongabezi Team favorite.

Fishing on the Zambezi

Tim Freeman wins the ‘Tongabezi Team Choice’ category

We are not always going to do a surprise extra category, and our reasons when we do may be entirely different, but each other category is determined by votes and every now and then we may want to give a little extra recognition to something that really calls out to us.

And how could we not fall in love with this adorable picture of Victoria Freeman on her first-ever fishing trip!

We just loved how perfectly Tim caught the pride on Captain Ronald‘s face. Our Captains are almost more excited than our guests when they help somebody bring in a big tiger fish, and in this case even the fish looks happy to be caught.


Now It’s Your Turn

We are totally in love with every Tongabezi Treasure we received but would like to make a special mention of Alyssa Porrit for her ‘Hippo Pouncing‘ photo, which must have taken great courage and great timing to capture!

Don’t forget to send in photos for the next round… you might be the one to win a hamper sent to your door or a free night at Tongabezi!* Plus, what a wonderful excuse to re-live your holiday as you go through all your photos and force your family and friends to help you choose which ones to submit.




*Terms and Conditions on the Competition page