Altezza Travel holds diving courses for employees
Altezza Travel's aquatics training began in mid-March 2023. The tourist season in northern Tanzania traditionally went down on the eve of the rainy months, the Aishi Machame Hotel had fewer guests and every day you could see Tanzanians in diving gear by the pool. The directors of Altezza Travel made an interesting decision - to teach the local management team how to dive.
"Diving opens up a whole new world for you. When you dive into the ocean and see its underwater expanses, you understand how vast our world really is. Perhaps diving can be compared to going into space", says Alexander Andreychuk, the founder of Altezza Travel and a certified Rescue Diver.
It was Alex who came up with the idea to train the company's office staff in diving. This is an indirect contribution to the professional growth of the employees. Altezza Travel is a tour operator that organizes expeditions to Kilimanjaro, as well as safari tours through the national parks of Tanzania. Even though we also organize island vacations for our clients, our managers do not work on the islands of Zanzibar or the ocean coast. So, why spend so much effort, money, and time training managers on something they will never work with directly?
"I believe that knowledge about diving and personal diving experiences broaden one's horizons and noticeably change the diver’s view of the world around them. Our managers will have even more common topics for discussion with clients, "- believes the CEO of Altezza Travel. This is an unconventional approach to providing further training for the company’s Tanzanian employees, increasing their professional value and, in the end, the image of Altezza Travel.
All full-time employees of Altezza Travel's office have been on expeditions to Kilimanjaro at the company's expense. This is a standard thing not only for foreign managers but also for all operational managers from among the local employees. And all our Tanzanians and their families, including the company's hotel staff, gardeners, and security guards, periodically go on safari.
But what is challenging about learning scuba diving skills? The most problematic thing is not even that the ocean is almost 400 kilometers (250 miles) away, but that Tanzanians from the mainland often don't know how to swim at all. This is normal because not everyone here has a chance to swim in the ocean, and those who have are likely to experience that for the first time already as adults. In mainland Tanzania, there are practically no safe lakes and rivers where you can learn to swim. The Europeans and Americans are lucky, their reservoirs are not teeming with crocodiles and hippos, but the Africans are not as fortunate in that regard.
So the first thing we had to overcome was the fear of water. Fortunately, we are in a tourist area near the southern slopes of Kilimanjaro, which means we have swimming pools at our disposal. The first assignment for Altezza Travel managers was to head to the pool.
Everyone to the water!
Most of our managers live in Moshi, the capital of the Kilimanjaro region. The city's largest swimming pool is located on the grounds of the YMCA, a world-renowned sports organization for young people. Classes started with trying to get into the water and get used to it.
The second stage was to get familiar with the equipment, learn the basic theory, and do a little bit of practice - diving into the water with all the equipment. Those sessions were held in a small swimming pool of Aishi Machame Hotel.
Diving lessons started on March 12th. They were attended by operations managers who meet Altezza Travel clients, give briefings, check expedition gear, and provide trekking groups with everything they need. All of our trainees were so great from the start and so enthusiastic that we never ceased to admire their courage and accomplishments.
ЗClasses were held daily during the day, and in the evenings we exchanged thoughts on the progress of our future divers. And although many participants were apprehensive and somewhat hesitant at first, everyone did well in the end, making us proud of what diligent people we are working alongside. Look at their happy faces!
Within a week, our first group got to grips with the gear: everyone learned the basic equipment and its components, including the terminology, what all the parts are needed for, and how to use it all. Each of our students passed a practical exam: they set up their equipment from scratch and tested it before diving.
All of the guys learned how to swim on and under the water: kickboards were helpful with the former, and diving fins were useful for the latter. By the end of the week, the Tanzanians, who were initially afraid to go in the water, passed a difficult standard: swimming underwater with equipment for 45 minutes.
Everyone has also taken a basic water first aid course. Now the trainees can use the diving equipment correctly, but also monitor the situation in the water, and provide first aid if necessary before the lifeguards arrive. Alex, as an experienced diver, shared many other useful "tricks" that are taught at higher-level classes. Everyone learned and tried techniques that will be needed when diving in open water. Practically, our first group mastered the pool portion of the Open Water Diver course and a little more.
In addition to the skills listed above, here are other exercises that the Altezza Travel beginners have mastered:
- taking the regulator out of the mouth underwater and finding it again;
- filling the mask with water and then removing the water from it;
- blowing correctly to equalize ears;
- taking the buoyancy compensator off underwater and then putting it back on.
Now they will have to quickly confirm their newly learned skills at the professional course, after which they can head out to the ocean.
To the ocean
The next stage of the training will be a trip to Pemba Island, part of the Zanzibar Archipelago. Pemba is located in the island part of Tanzania and is considered one of the best diving spots in the Indian Ocean. The island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, and in some places, the water depth here reaches 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles). Underwater wildlife is very rich - you will not see such diversity of species of fish and mammals even on Zanzibar itself. This is where our managers will see for the first time what Alex admires so much - the beauty of the underwater world, hidden from the eyes of most people
The trip will take place from March 27th to April 4th. We look forward to hearing from our brave Tanzanians about the amazing oceanic underwater life. We very much hope that everyone will successfully complete the course and confirm their Open Water Diver qualification
On Pemba, our team is hosted by the Afro Divers diving center. We have been working with them for a long time and we are pleased with the skills of the instructors and the quality of diving they provide to guests from all over the world. By the way, Altezza Travel heartily recommends the Afro Divers center to anyone interested in diving in Tanzania. These guys will gladly guide you through the underwater trails to the treasures of the Indian Ocean.
And let's also take this opportunity to thank our other partners - the local airline Flightlink, which offered special discounts for our diving team. This company carries out flights to key tourist destinations in Tanzania.
We will have to use the partners' offers once again in May, when the second group of our managers will go to Pemba. We'll be sure to tell you how Altezza Travel managers have passed the qualifications to dive in the open water. Stay tuned for more company news!