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ACTIVISM AN EMERGING SAFARI TREND
Witnessing Africa's incredible diversity of wildlife firsthand is without a doubt the main reason most travelers go to Southern Africa. But increasingly, travelers want to do more than see; they want to help preserve these unforgettable experiences for the next generation.
Conservation safaris are emerging as a hot trend for 2015, according to tour operators and lodge owners in Southern Africa and the U.S.
"With all the education and publicity coming out on rhino poaching and saving threatened species, we are seeing more requests from guests who want to see these species, get up-close-and-personal experiences with them and to help," said Kent Redding, president of Africa Adventure Consultants. He said U.S. travelers are increasingly asking to participate in safaris that include some education or experience with endangered or threatened species such as rhinos or elephants.
Responding to customers' demand to be more actively involved in conservation, African Adventure Consultants recently introduced a tour called Botswana Save the Rhino, which contributes to the Zeros for Rhinos fund, in which Great Plains Conservation and tour operator AndBeyond will translocate up to 100 rhinos from South Africa, where they are being poached, to the safe haven of Botswana's remote wilderness.
Joss Kent, CEO of AndBeyond, said U.S. travelers are very invested in making meaningful use of their vacation time, and when going to Africa, they want to help.
"This could mean physically participating in programs or staying at a lodge or private reserve with a strong conservation focus and therefore funding the efforts," he said.
At AndBeyond's Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa's KwaZulu Natal Province, guests can participate in rhino notching, a guest-funded program enabling AndBeyond to protect the rhinos from poachers. Guests are able to join a team that locates and captures rhino data.
Saskia Brown, sales and marketing manager for Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape in South Africa, reports that she has started getting more requests from the U.S. travel trade in particular for information on active and hands-on rhino conservation trips.
During Kwandwe's three-night, four-day Rhino Conservation Safari, travelers meet with a dedicated rhino conservation team and a wildlife vet and are allocated specific roles before helping the team to sedate rhinos in order to administer any medication needed and take measurements for scientific purposes. They also help to drill rhino horns and insert microchips and perform ear-notching procedures for future identification, both essential tasks to ensure the preservation of these magnificent animals.
For travelers looking for a taste of conservation without getting their hands dirty, Kwandwe also organizes a Save the Rhino Drive, a three- to four-hour experience learning about rhino conservation and the differences between black and white rhinos and then going out onto the reserve to view them up close.
Visit www.andbeyond.com/phinda-forest-lodge; www.kwandwe.com; and www.adventuresinafrica.com/product/botswana-save-the-rhino.
AFRICA'S 10 BEST NATIONAL PARKS
By Mark Eveleigh
Singita Mara River Tented Camp Opens in
the Far Northern Serengeti
November 30, 2012 –
Singita Mara River Tented Camp has opened in the secluded Lamai triangle, the northernmost tip of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The new camp is a contemporary take on the classic East African safari that offers a pared-down approach to the quintessential Singita experience. Run entirely on solar power, the camp reflects Singita’s commitment to greater sustainability.
The Lamai triangle is a prime safari location with its concentrated population of wildlife and breathtaking views of the annual wildebeest migration. With just six tents, two of which are for families, Singita Mara River Tented Camp’s remote location epitomizes Singita’s eco-driven philosophy of preserving iconic locations by offering “fewer beds in larger areas.” Designed by Cécile & Boyd’s, the camp aims to further immerse visitors into the wilderness around them with natural textures and local textile patterns. The look is cool, modern, edgy and fun without losing the elegant yet relaxed, feet-up style that defines the Singita brand.
While being immersed in the African safari backdrop, guests are treated to the luxurious furnishings that are featured in the lounge, dining area as well as outside seating, a sundowner bar tent and plunge pool. Guests are served healthy and light cuisine to refresh and reenergize the body. Restorative fresh fruit smoothies, iced Fair Trade coffees and teas, crunchy salads and ethically sourced ingredients, such as organic eggs and grass-fed meat are the order of the day, with luscious desserts and homemade ice cream adding a touch of sweet decadence.
Singita Mara River Tented Camp captures the essence and simplicity of safari life, brought up to date by clever design and cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technology. It’s a place to relish being close to nature while doing good.
Rates start at US$1,200 per person per night until 2013 when they will be US$1,275 per person per night during the high season and US$950 per person per night during the low season. Children over the age of 12 are welcome. The camp is closed in March and April. Rates are all-inclusive, with the exception of French Champagne and wine on the connoisseurs’ wine list, air transfers to the camp, and Serengeti National Park Fees of US$50 per person per night, increasing to US$60 from July 2013.
Focused on eco-conscious hospitality, sustainable conservation and evolving local communities, Singita’s vision is to share a unique part of the world while respecting the natural environment and challenging today’s notion of luxury. Recognized internationally for providing the best safari experience in Africa, Singita includes 11 iconic, low-impact, luxury lodges in four African destinations: Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand in South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Inquiries and reservations can be made through the address below:
Singita, Tel: +27 21 683 3424
Great Flying Safaris in Tanzania
by Jerry Bird. Photos by Muguette Goufrani
Our Air Safari, which took place during the 10 days of Christmas 2003, began with a seafood dinner on the patio at one of my favorite places, "The Slipway" on Dar es Salaam's rapidly-changing waterfront. At this unique shopping mall, now in its third or fourth stage of development, we were introduced to the owner Nicola Colangelo, an exceptional person and gracious host. Having just completed two weeks of dawn to dusk sessions at conferences in Zanzibar and at Dar es Salaam's Golden Tulip Hotel, the idea of flying on the Coastal Air Safari circuit had a special appeal. Another good omen that same day was our reunion, after five years, with popular entertainer King Kiki, the Swahili Coast's Louis Armstrong - his musical beat goes on forever. The Slipway is a magnet for creative people of all types, as some of the top local artists create and display their works on the broad square facing the harbor.
Photo-above: Muguette Goufrani (left) with Mangers Sean and Fiona Torrie, and Mr. and Mrs. Zannuchi (right), owners of Adventure Camps at Selous. We enjoyed Christmas dinner with this wonderful group.
Slipway is one of several thriving enterprises developed by Mr. Colangelo of Coastal Aviation , which among other activities, provides tours and air safaris to the Swahili Coast, National Parks and Game Reserves. By the time a week had passed, Africa Travel
Magazine's Editor Jerry Bird and myself were familiar faces around the Dar es Salaam Regional Airport and the Coastal Air office in particular. Before describing our back to back adventures, that involved flights on Coastal Airlines' Cessnas to Mafia Island, and later to two tented camps - - the new Impala Camp at Selous and Old River Camp at Ruaha, here is some basic information provided by our hosts.
Photo Sequence (top): Christmas Dinner with Mr. and Mrs.Zanacchi, owners of Imapa Camp, Selous, their management teram and holiday visitors. Above: On the deck of our attractive tented unit at Impala Camp.
Agenda: Flights start daily from Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar to the Selous; then to Ruaha and finally to Zanzibar - to shake of the dust on the pristine palm fringed white beaches. Coastal Aviation Tanzania and Coastal Travel Services are "connecting the dots" of the diverse Tanzania tourism product. Now travelers can more easily combine the Southern and Northern circuits explore the Spice Islands and Swahili culture of Zanzibar or snorkel and dive in the coral-studded Marine National Park in Mafia Island, all on the same Safari.
Coastal Aviation, developed by Dar es Salaam-based Coastal Travel Ltd., pioneered scheduled flying safaris in Tanzania. Coastal Director Nicola Colangelo, said that the company has invested USD 10.5 million in new aircraft alone. "Our flying safaris are so successful because they offer the opportunity for small parties and single persons to join an adventure which otherwise would have been an prohibitive cost." As Tanzania tourism is expanding, Coastal Aviation created new safari combinations that were never possible before. In the next two years, Coastal will invest an additional USD3 million in aircraft and USD million in camps and lodges.
About Selous Impala
A truly beautiful camp located on the banks of the Rufiji River, in Selous Game Reserve.
There are just 6 beautifully furnished en-suite tents at Selous Impala built on platforms, giving superb views of the Rufiji River and its wildlife. Set amidst Borassa Palms and Tamarind Trees. The camp provides superb comfort and wonderful wildlife.
Hosted by the widely experienced Sean and Fiona Torrie they will ensure warmÊ hospitality and good food; dining under the stars.
Selous Impala has skilled and knowledgeable guides who will lead the game drives, boat trips, walking excursions and fly camping, and ensure the best possible game viewing experience.
Opening officially for the 2004 season on 4th June, the Rate will be just $350 gross per person per night sharing, inclusive of park fees, full board accommodation and two activities.
Coastal Aviation's flight plans feature some first-time scheduled combinations including: Arusha in the Northern Circuit with Ruaha and the Selous in the South; Ruaha, Katavi and Mahale; Rubondo Island and the Serengeti; the Selous and Mafia Island. At the World Travel Market in London this November, Coastal Aviation launched an "Agent Friendly" online booking system. Coastal Account Holding Travel Agents will be able to plan and book the entire safari itinerary, as well as confirm and issue travel documents. Other agents and clients will have access to the information but will not be able to book online. Flying Safari Specialist http://www.coastal.cc/
More links: Observe Wildlife from a boat http://www.selous.com/
Explore Ruaha National Park http://www.ruaha.org/
In Zanzibar the most beautiful small hotel http://www.mbweni.com/
Coastal Travels Ltd
Tel: +255-22-2117 959 or 2117 960
Fax: +255-22-2118 647 or 2117 985