Earth Day 2020 will forever be remembered as The Earth Day When the World was Still. Never before in the entire history of the Earth as we remember it, has the concept of nature as a global network been better underscored than at this moment in time. The ripple effect of one microscopic organism that originated in a far-flung corner of the globe, has given us chance to press pause and reflect.
From Five to Six
Psychologists suggest that the spectrum of feelings we are experiencing right now is aligned with Kubler-Ross’s Model of The Five Stages of Grief. Drawing from this model, David Kessler suggests we incorporate a sixth stage: Meaning.
Along with our affiliated organisations, lodges, camps, wildlife scientists, game rangers, anti-poaching units and wildlife rescue orphanages, Safari Giants has been fortunate to witness the incredible grace with which people are dealing with the disappointment of having to postpone, or in some cases, cancel their holidays and safaris.
The support and understanding we have received from our clients who “prefer to defer” has given us a glimpse of the meaning that has stemmed from one, small, crown-shaped virus. For this we are immeasurably grateful and here is why…
One stone, many ripples
Have you ever noticed how ripples in a pond grow bigger and bigger the further they get from the centre? Well, that’s how lodges and game reserves in Africa work.
The centre point from where the ripple emanates is the first contact between the lodge and their guests. The ripple is the incredible, far-reaching, benefits that guests – directly and indirectly – bestow on surrounding communities and the environment.
In order to be effective, conservation acknowledges the intersection between the natural- and social environment. For this reason, the three pillars that underpin all conservation efforts are biodiversity, sustainability and community.
Education is a key component in both community empowerment and conservation. Every lodge underscores the importance of education, not only as a stepping stone to employment, but also as a vehicle for personal growth, intellectual enrichment and global awareness.
“Even during these unprecedented times, Wilderness Safaris continues to focus on our two most valuable assets – our people, both internal and external communities, and our wildlife.” – Dr Neil Midlane (Wilderness Safaris)
Ubuntu: I am because we are
The income derived from safari guests not only pays for staff members who tend to their guests immediate needs. This income is also essential in order to preserve the environment, sustain wildlife, conduct research, and prevent poaching. Without safari guests, poaching would be rampant as surrounding communities would have to resort to the cruelty of poaching to generate income from the sale of wild animal parts for “exotic remedies”. Sadly, they may also have to resort to illegal hunting for bush-meat to feed themselves and their families.
“We expect commercial poaching syndicates to capitalise on this moment by expanding their efforts to obtain ivory, rhino horn, bushmeat and other wildlife products.” – Dr Neil Midlane (Wilderness Safaris)
In addition to the porters, housekeepers, drivers, game rangers, chefs, waiters and all other staff you might see in a lodge and game reserve, there are “invisible beneficiaries” that benefit from the investment that lodges make within their surrounding local communities.
From investing in education and skills training to building health centres and establishing empowerment programmes and small local enterprises, African lodges spread the frosting thin and wide on the cake, rather than thick and small on one piece.
Years of experience have taught us that if we take stock of how social and environmental intersect, we are able to decrease the discord that exists between humans and the environment, and between luxury and sustainability.
“Luxury does not have to be at odds with conservation if it is done in an ethical, sustainable way. The undesirable alternative would be to have more rooms and run high occupancies – which would have a negative impact on the environment – in order to reach the same results.” – Singita Founder& Executive Chairman, Luke Bailes
Remote and at Risk
“Africa has the innate ability to transform you as an individual… to become more connected with mother nature and its people. It opens ones’ eyes, mind and soul to the magic that exists in experiencing untouched and authentic beauty” – African Bush Camps
Africa is a unique destination with unique dynamics. The secluded, exclusive, intimate, and often family-run nature of African lodges and reserves means that guests get to enjoy tranquillity, attentive service, unspoilt wilderness and remote locations. But it also means that the same rules that apply to a large, multi-national business model can’t be applied here. There’s no access to relief funding from giant parent companies, and to cease operations would have devastating and irreversible implications for both our people and our wildlife.
The African wilderness, like all wilderness spaces, is at risk of ruin. If you visit Paris today, and then visit again 10 years later, and you will see very little change in the landscape. The same can’t be said about the wilderness. Within one year, an entire species can become extinct, acres of forests can be decimated, and urban spaces can spring up. For this reason, Africa has to “sleep with one eye open”, because conservation never sleeps.
Paying it forward, with thanks
“Our biggest desire would be for all our guests to leave with a new found appreciation for some of the last remaining unspoilt wildlife areas left in the world, its intricacies, importance, vulnerability, and why it should be our primary purpose to protect it.” Michelle Milias (Wilderness Safaris)
Africa is eternally grateful to previous generations. Without their insight and foresight to establish game reserves, found wildlife sanctuaries, and instigate conservation legislation, we would not be able to enjoy the African wilderness as we can today.
In the same way that the travellers, explorers, adventurers and safari enthusiasts who came before you paved the way for today’s African wilderness experience, so too will the income from your African experience ensure that Africa can be enjoyed by your children, your grandchildren, and hopefully their children and beyond. For this, Africa thanks you.
If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together ~ African Proverb
From the moment your deposit is paid, to the moment you buy your last beer in the lodge – the funds you help us generate go far, go wide, and change lives. Now you understand how very grateful we are for those who choose to travel in Africa. And now you understand that when we think and act as one, we think and act for all <3
“Our guests feel privileged to stay in unpopulated, untouched wilderness areas and they
choose to stay with us because our lodges have a reputation for being rare and authentic,
while embodying a philosophy of sensitivity. The experience touches guests on every level
– spiritual, emotional and physical, and makes a profound impact on their lives.” – Singita Founder & Executive Chairman, Luke Bailes