Marlies Alpers-Gabriel is a conservationist and community development leader born in Namibia who with her husband has owned and run Hatari Lodge and Shumata Camp in Tanzania for fourteen years. The daughter of a farmer, she went to university in Capetown where she studied interior design and proceeded to hold increasingly responsible positions in the hospitality industry in Namibia, Botswana, and Tanzania.
Early in her career Marlies was drawn to elephants and became involved in their conservation and in sustainable human development solutions for the communities and the environments entrusted with their care. Once, charged with taming three orphan elephants to accompany guests in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, she was saved from an imminent danger by one of these elephants, solidifying a longstanding reverence and commitment to their survival in harmony with human communities.
A cook since eleven years old when her father passed away, Marlies has used food as a key instrument in these efforts, beginning with nourishing and nurturing her younger siblings to adulthood. The African People’s Cooking School is the culmination of a lifetime of projects and conservation efforts combining food, the environment, and human development. Marlies leads a team of dedicated professionals and volunteers and has partnered with other relevant organizations including Slow Food International to realize this vision.