During the past few months we have been developing a safari experience like no other, going beyond our normal safari experience offering. As some may know, our sustainability practices are based on the 4Cs (Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture), adopted from the Zeitz Foundation. With our commitment to protecting the planet’s precious natural and cultural resources, we believe that this is only possible if commitments and contributions to each of the 4Cs are made.
In 2012, as a result of Wilderness Safaris being a finalist for the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, I was fortunate enough to take one of the judges, Judy Kephor Gona, on a tour of some our best examples of sustainable tourism. While all our camps do operate according to the values of the 4Cs, some of our camps are positioned to be our examples of best practice and star performers and contributors to the 4Cs.
It was through this experience that the concept to design a 4Cs Safari was born and is now being developed. The 4Cs safari is one that takes our guests behind the scenes of our philosophy and goals – to where our vision of making a difference in Africa is actualised. This experience is in addition to the wildlife and scenery for which our areas are famous for.
The 4Cs safari will seek to highlight our best example of sustainable ecotourism across our operations. Each camp visited is selected for its excellence in sustainability across the 4Cs, while making a particularly significant contribution in one or more of the Cs. Exclusive opportunities are created for full access to the camp and its initiatives. These vary from environmental programmes and conservation projects, to HIV programmes, right through to supporting communities through joint ventures or other engagements, all while embracing diverse cultures of these areas.
The tour will be led by myself, Brett Wallington. I am the Group Sustainability Coordinator for Wilderness Safaris and will ensure an all-round 4Cs experience and ensure that guests fully understand the impacts Wilderness has in the areas that we operate. As part of the sustainability theme of the safari guests will have the opportunity to offset the carbon emissions associated with this safari package. At the final stop of this tour, Toka Leya, guests will get the opportunity to contribute to our reforestation programme on the banks of the Zambezi River. Calculations at this stage indicate that each guest will emit 2.79 tonnes of CO2 for the entire itinerary and will need to plant approximately six trees in order to offset their trip.
The following is a brief insight into the itinerary of this pioneering safari package:
• Days 1 & 2: Arrive in Windhoek; transfer by light aircraft to Damaraland Camp. Focus on the joint venture and equity partnership between Wilderness Safaris and the Torra Conservancy.
• Days 3 & 4: Depart by light aircraft for nearby Desert Rhino Camp, Palmwag Concession. Track one of Africa’s last free-roaming black rhino with Save the Rhino Trust.
• Day 5: Fly to Windhoek and board a scheduled flight to Johannesburg for the night. Dine with Wilderness Safaris executives and learn about the 4Cs across our operations.
• Days 6 & 7: Depart for Maun, Botswana; transfer by light aircraft to Kalahari Plains Camp, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and walk with the San Bushmen and experience this ancient culture.
• Days 8 & 9: Air transfer to Vumbura Camp via Maun. Focus on the history of the Okavango Delta and the role ecotourism and safaris play in supporting this iconic area.
• Days 10 & 11: Arrive at newly built DumaTau Camp, Linyanti Concession, via light aircraft. Here we will see how we build our camps but also how we decommission our camps with respect to our reduced impact on the environment.
• Days 12 & 13: Depart for Toka Leya Camp by air via Kasane. Focus on the green running of our camp and the reforestation programme of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and visit Victoria Falls.