As resilient as nature can be, an even though it seems to be flourishing in the midst of this global pandemic – in many instances, nature relies on man to give it their space and the support it needs to thrive.
Unfortunately, global travel bans have had a two-prong negative effect on the conservation tourism (lodges, reserves etc.) industry in Africa. These lodges play a key role in the protection of some of the world’s most endangered animal species and environments. They also support local, underprivileged communities and empower women. The overall loss of revenue from having no visitors has severely restricted their ability to carry out these critical roles.
GUEST – FUNDED CONSERVATION EXPERIENCES
There are three essential pillars of Impact Travel, namely:
- Wildlife – We need to ensure that future generations can enjoy our world and the incredible animals that live within it.
- Community Upliftment – Working towards poverty prevention, education, employment and more.
- Environmental – Promoting sustainable tourism and attempting to make a positive impact on the environment.
African conservation is in jeopardy without revenue from tourism and there has never been a better reason to make your next adventure a safari.
Here are a few fantastic ideas whereby guests can give back and stay in amazing locations and viewing wildlife in their natural habitat.
- This is sadly the most trafficked animal in the world. Thousands are poached every year and they are killed for their scales, which is used for Chinese Traditional medicine and their meat is sold as a delicacy. To provide an idea of the numbers – for 1 ton of pangolin scales, an estimated 1 900 pangolins are killed.
- Participate in our one-of-its-kind Pangolin conservation experience at &Beyond Phinda, South Africa – Travel with your specialist conservation team as they locate the animal, replace the GSM/UHF tag and conduct general health checks, and gather crucial data.
- To get further insight we suggest you watch this amazing movie about the African Pangolin called Eye of the Pangolin Film
A Lion recover project at Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, called KopeLion
- KopeLion main objective is to create a ‘corridors of tolerance” between the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, whereby the lions can move freely and to ensure long term survival. For many generations, lions and the Masaai have lived together in uneasy proximity
- This project has selected warriors, known as “Ilchokuti” – lion warriors, from the local community. The warriors’ main focus is to prevent the hunting of lions, through various measures. They patrol and safeguard their allocated areas and alert their local communities of the presence of lions. They help search for lost livestock, assist with fortifying livestock enclosures, and assist with wounded livestock.
- While staying at &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, guests have the opportunity to book an experience, in advance, to interact with the KopeLion conservation team. This is a half day tour where guests will get a deeper understanding of their day-to-day operations, like checking the Panthera camera traps, and also meet one of the KopeLion “Ilchokuti” who will give greater insight into the amazing work they carry out.
- Watch this video called: Creating corridors of Tolerance
SINGITA COMMUNITY CULINARY SCHOOL (SCCS)
- The main focus is to help young members of the local community forge a career in hospitality as well as empower the people around them.
- This school opened in 2007 and it is situated at Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa. This Culinary school offers professional cooker course which sees people drawn from local communities graduating at commis chefs of the highest caliber. Ten students are sponsored by the Singita Lowveld Trust and guests generally fund additional scholarships through donations.
- At Singita Lebombo guests can participate in a cooking class at the SCCS, which is a great option to connect and spend quality time with your partner, friends or family. The cost for the class is a set donation per person which goes directly back into the School.
- Watch the following video: Singita Community Culinary School
BISATE LODGE, Rwanda
This lodge incorporates, community, environmental and the Wildlife aspect.
At Bisate Lodge – every guest is a philanthropist
- Bisate is Rwanda’s first truly lavish safari stop, focusing on Africa’s most vivid, wild primate experience. The property is situated adjacent to Volcanoes National Park and offers just 6 en-suite Forest Villas that maximise comfort and views while adhering to environmentally responsible principles and offer a reflection of the rich culture of rural Rwanda.
- Bisate’s vision of reforestation and rehabilitation means that each guest contributes to biodiversity conservation and local community upliftment – making a far-reaching positive impact on an iconic endangered species: the mountain gorilla.
- While visiting the lodge you can part take in the following activities that contribute to positive impact travel; 1) Nursery visit and tree planting –all guest can contribute to the reforestation by planting a tree. 2)Community visits – guest can walk down to the nearby village.. Here, they will be introduced to the various cultural rituals, little markets and have some time to hang out with locals and experience a typical village day in Rwanda. 3) Gorilla trekking, has a deep impact to both wildlife and communities – the majority of the cost goes back into Gorilla Conservation and 10% goes towards local communities, to build schools, health centres and roads. 4) Golden monkey trekking – creates employment for many locals, from rangers, trackers, porters, drivers and staff at tourist lodges.
- Watch this video: Bisate – Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda
MARATABA CONSERVATION CAMPS, South Africa
This property offers a fun and exciting way to experience wildlife by allowing guests to get involved in helping to protect and secure wildlife for future generations.
- This is a unique conservation-based Safari, which is situated in a malaria free area in the Marataba Contractual National Park, a privately managed section of the Marakele National Park- a mere 3-hour drive from OR Tambo or Lanseria Airport.
- They offer two types of accommodation: 1) Founders Camp (5*): This is an exclusive-use lodge which offers just 4 luxury tents. 2) Explores Camp (4*) – This is a semi- exclusive use lodge which offers 6 luxury tents (one being a family room) and can accommodate two group on an exclusive basis.
- Both camps accept children of all ages and their focus is for guests to have fun while getting involved in the daily conservation activities. A few included activities that guests can get involved with are : telemetry tracking walks (tracking of wildlife through collars for scientific purposes) with cheetah and rhino (valid to guests 14 upwards), compilation of individual identikits for elephants, elephant impact assessments, transect walks for vegetation mapping and planting, snare patrols and game capture and census counts.
- Other incredible wildlife experience on offer are: 1) The rhino conservation safari, over 3 days, which includes intervention with darting, notching and DNA collection (only available from 1 February to 31 October – available to all ages). 2) Contribute and set up new artificial intelligence camera traps (available to all ages or 14 years upwards, depending on location) – Please note these activities do incur a surcharge.
- View this amazing video – you can be a part of this: Rhino Conservation in action
Written by Kay & Nwabisa