Sustaining Our Africa - message from Caroline
‘As travel specialists I believe it is our duty, and privilege, to protect key conservation areas by supporting lodges and camps who not only have a conservation conscience, but who actively exercise this ethos through innovative community empowerment, anti-poaching and endangered species protection. Because our business is taking people to places mostly in the wild, not only do we feel compelled to make a difference, we want to. After all, no matter how many times we experience these properties and places, we never take their beauty and fragility for granted.‘ Caroline Bayly, Founder & Director, Classic Escapes
Rhinos Without Borders is an initiative aimed at eradicating the scourge of rhino poaching in Africa, partnered by &Beyond and Great Plains Conservation. In 2015, South Africa alone, lost more than 1 175 rhino to illegal poaching. That’s one rhino killed every seven hours. Since inception, Rhinos Without Borders have successfully relocated several rhino to Botswana’s Okavango Delta, a successful relocation region due to the conducive habitat, strong military presence and monitoring framework. The project aims to raise 8 Million USD for the translocation of one hundred rhinos in total, moving them from South Africa to undisclosed locations in Botswana over the next few years - a drive we vehemently support.
Zambia's, Luangwa Conservation Community and Fund was conceived in 2009 and spearheaded by the Bushcamp Company and handful of tour operators. These insightful and passionate people realised that if they didn’t save the region’s wildlife and natural resources, this remarkable place would soon be lost forever. The non-profit organisation has made it their mission to educate and empower local communities and have successfully raised funds for projects including law enforcement, research, monitoring, training, anti-poaching and animal rehabilitation. Our favoured project being Uyoba – an initiative that transformed a modest local school under the shade of a tree to an educational institution school as we know it, educating over 380 pupils.
The Neighbour Outreach Programme (NOP) is the vehicle by which Singita Pamushana and the Malilangwe Trust aligned to reach their community-development goals. Apart from wildlife awareness and education, their most significant programme is a school-feeding scheme that provides a fortified meal to some 19 000 children (mostly aged 5 and younger) every school day. Fuelled by the government’s cry for help in 2003 after a severe two year drought that left many children malnourished, the programme helps children realise their educational potential by eradicating hunger. A more recent and equalling heart-warming pilot scheme include introducing other forms of nutrition through subsistence initiatives such as honey from local hives and vegetable gardens.
Since 1994 the FCF (Friedkin Conservation Foundation) have invested heavily in habitat protection, community development, infrastructure, camps and extensive anti-poaching programs in Tanzania. In doing so, the fund has successfully protected over 2 million acres of pristine wildlife regions in Tanzania. Since 2015, the FCF together with their commercial arm Legendary Expeditions entered into a thirty-year renewable franchise agreement with the Tanzanian government which included detailed plans for boosting tourism and broadening resource utilisation. FCF addresses issues of poverty and human pressure on natural resources at a community level that is carefully co-ordinated in conjunction with anti-poaching efforts. A remarkable conservation leadership story lead by a remarkable conservation initiative and one which we proudly support.
One of our favoured desert dwellings - not just for its raw beauty but because it demonstrates what eco-tourism is, and should be. The Tswalu Foundation, founded by Jonathan Oppenheimer in 2008, affords guests the opportunity to contribute directly to the sustainability of their one hundred thousand hectare reserve. Their research programmes facilitate fundamental knowledge for the management and conservation of this unique part of South Africa. Their three main goals are to restore the natural environment, to re-establish and protect biological diversity and to maintain the natural ecological process characteristic of the Kalahari. As Gus van Dyk, Director of Conservation, Tswalu Kalahari so rightly puts it ‘Mother Nature is a great healer. All she needs is time and space. Fortunately there are plenty of both on Tswalu.’

Tomorrow is another world

Often misunderstood and over simplified, sustainable tourism has become synonymous with eco-consciousness, which of course, it is. But, what people don’t know is that the economic and socio-cultural aspects play equivalent roles to environmental preserve. What does it all mean and why do we care about it as a company?

Tourism is one of the world's fastest-growing industries, but the negative effects aren’t given nearly as much attention. The UNWTO states that tourism is the largest industry in the world with an estimated 11.5% of the world GDP and employing about 12.5% of the world’s work force. The tourism industry alone has enormous potential to make a significantly positive impact on these global challenges.

Environmental sustainability is more than being ‘green’, it means ensuring that resources in the area are preserved for future generations. Socio-cultural Sustainability is the social and cultural impacts that tourists have on the host community. Economic Sustainability revolves around money and giving back to the local economy. Not forgetting conservation which speaks for itself.

What are we doing about it as a brand?

We are committed to partnering with properties that do their level best to aspire to these regulations and more importantly protect and preserve iconic wildlife regions which are under increasing threat of human encroachment and poaching. One of the most powerful ways in which to accelerate the process is by involving and educating the local communities, and receiving their buy in. While we support our industry partner’s initiatives by sending clients their way, we also concurrently support social projects close to our heart. An example of this is The Pebbles Project at Villiera Wine Estate in Stellenbosch that changes young lives on a daily basis through education and healthcare which we believe is the key to eradicating poverty. A project we have supported for over four years through Uthando a not for profit, responsible tourism channel.

Let’s make a difference, together by supporting the right initiatives and sustain the beauty of Africa.


Classis Escapes logo icon