Conservancy Guardians In The Wild with heart

Conservancy Guardians
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We fell in love in Africa. Then we fell in love with Africa. 

Africa’s vast open spaces and her enormous diversity of life hold a value and splendour that go far beyond our understanding.  Her wildlife and her people changed and enriched our lives in ways we couldn’t have possibly imagined. We gained meaning, purpose, peace and happiness by immersing ourselves in the most unlikely locations and experiences. We could never fully repay the debt that we owe for its impact on us.

A safari should enliven all of the senses. It should be a riot of colour, flavour, scent and shivers down the spine. We have made so many new friends by inviting people to spend time in the wonderful places we discover together: letting them feel, letting them be, and giving them time to explore for themselves. On these adventures, nature offers just a little of her magic. After all, to be magic is to transform, to delight, to bring to life.

Beyond this magic, Africa also has many challenges. Population growth, in combination with significant climate change, has created new challenges for Africa’s ecosystems and increased the conflict between humans and wildlife.

Africa’s National Parks are often well known, but there is a significant wildlife population that exists outside of Government National Parks and Game Reserves, which are vital to those countries and their environments. (For example, 65% of Kenya’s wildlife is outside of National Parks and Reserves).

The traditional National Parks and Conservation models have long been based on keeping local people out – both physically and in terms of decision making and gaining benefit. This has created a mistrust, and in some cases resentment, of conservation and its long-term goals.

One of our personal projects with In The Wild is Conservancy Guardians – a registered charity focusing on community owned ecosystems, with the goal of helping them fulfil their self-sustaining potential. 

A new model of engaging with the community and allowing ownership within protected ecosystems is starting to gather momentum, and we want to support this evolution.

Through visionary partnerships formed between the Maasai Landowners and some of the continent’s most innovative eco-tourism businesses, the habitat surrounding the Maasai Mara has been rescued from the brink of devastation.

Together they have created and protected a growing cultural landscape in which key populations of Africa’s most iconic and endangered species can expand and thrive.

In The Wild creates tailored adventures that take you deep into the African wilderness with a personal guide. When you embark on an adventure with us you will also go on a journey of discovery to learn and to nurture the places you visit. Each safari is created to directly benefit the region or area that we are travelling to.

There is a built-in, project specific donation and a carbon offsetting, region specific payment included in all safaris. Once at our destination, there are so many ways we can engage as a family or group with local projects and initiatives.

One fantastic example is the funding and building of predator proof bomas (livestock corral) for, and with, the Maasai families that live north of the Mara alongside populations of Lion, Spotted Hyena and Leopard. It is several days of immersive work and has a huge impact on all involved.

We also feel very lucky to have met and connected with so many local and international experts during our time in Africa.

We have a wonderful network within the conservation and research community who give their time and insight to our guests, going deeper into the challenges the wildlife and region may be facing at this specific time.

We’ve hosted dinner with the Gorilla Doctors (the vets that monitor, take care and treat the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda and DRC) and joined experts from the Serengeti Cheetah researchers, rhinoceros guards and Big Life Foundation Rangers. There are always stunning stories told, and plenty of questions asked and answered.

We remain optimistic that the mindset of fencing local communities out of conservation is changing, with an enlightened version emerging, engaging with the people who live along the borders and within key wildlife areas.

As safari planners and private guides we understand our role in supporting these efforts and take it incredibly seriously.

Our decisions, advice and itineraries have a huge impact on places and people, and this is where our on the ground experience has allowed us to engage with our clients to create an incredible expedition with a lasting positive impact.

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Note from NOW Founder:

African safaris has been hit hard by Covid-19 and its full impact is yet to be seen on an industry valued at US$12.4 billion before the pandemic. There are signs that interest in African safaris is returning slowly, but the August 2021 survey report run by SafariBookings.com revealed a significant trend of decline in new bookings and large-scale cancellations of existing bookings.  In addition to big-game conservation programmes, wildlife projects and rangers that rely on income from the sector, there are countless workers in local communities that survive on tourism. The restrictions spell trouble for Africa’s people and animals, and many are still in a holding pattern, at the mercy of things they cannot control.

Nik and Jana Kershaw founded In The Wild prior to the pandemic and they do more than offer travellers in-depth knowledge, expertise and personal guidance for tailored adventures and bespoke safari experiences in some of Africa’s most magical and remote destinations. To offer a safari that makes a positive difference to local communities, they founded Conservancy Guardians in May 2020, a non-profit charity dedicated to protecting community-led conservation.   As part of your adventure with them, travellers will have the opportunity to engage in local initiatives and learn more about the organisations that protect and develop the beautiful landscapes and wildlife that you will encounter.   Become a Guardian.  Get in touch: https://inthewildsafaris.com/our-heart/ 

View a curious traveller’s diary entry of her private safari trip guided by Jana in Rwanda and Uganda to visit the gorillas HERE.

At NOW, we believe that we need to travel responsively and make a difference by leaving places better than we found it.  Regenerative tourism seeks to balance the economics of tourism with the well-being of its natural resources and communities.  We believe that protecting nature is our first, best, and most cost-effective line of defense against future pandemics and climate emergencies. We believe that we must save nature to save ourselves. It must be NOW!

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