AFRICA’S SMARTEST SAFARI TRENDS – AND BIGGEST THREATS

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An interview with Luke Bailes,
Singita Owner and CEO

LukeBailes
Luke Bailes, Singita Owner and CEO

Interviewed by Annie Fitzsimmons

Travel can be a powerful catalyst to educate and protect natural and cultural heritage for future generations – which is part of the reason why The United Nations has declared 2017 the Year of Sustainable Tourism. As part of a year-long series, we’re interviewing experts and trendsetters in sustainable tourism. For this installment, we talk with Singita owner and CEO Luke Bailes. Renowned for its sustainable conservation, environmentally conscious operations, and community support, Singita operates 12 lodges and camps in three African countries. Talk about thought leadership: Bailes even has a 100-year plan for the company.

“Singita’s 100-year vision is to protect and preserve large areas of pristine wilderness for future generations,” he says. “With the continent’s precious wilderness areas and most vulnerable species under severe threat, Singita’s total dedication to conservation is important now, more than ever.”

What is the smartest trend in luxury safari travel right now?

We are seeing wealthy people – who focused on other things before – now understanding the challenges that a lack of conservation is posing. There is a heightened awareness of the plight of wilderness and wildlife in Africa. But now, high-net worth individuals are committing large personal resources to be part of the solution and solve these challenges – not just financially, but to raise awareness on a broader level.

Before, travelers wanted to be disconnected from the wild and not too close to nature. But now, they want to feel connected to the earth. They are more aware of threats to the environment, and they want the most authentic experiences. That’s why Singita’s Mara River Tented Camp and Explore are popular: off-the-grid and close to nature.

What are you most nervous about when it comes to tourism in Africa?

Population growth – because of it, pristine wilderness areas are diminishing. Also, the mass slaughter of some animal species such as rhino and elephant.

How do you believe Africa’s exploding population will affect tourism and the continent as a whole?

The world’s resources are under increasing pressure – degradation of habitat which has a negative impact on many species – as populations increase. The situation in Africa is dire due to this population pressure and is placing wildlife and land at risk. We have recognized the need to elevate our conservation message – it is more relevant now than ever before. Tourism plays an important role in creating awareness.

What destination in Africa is on your radar?

Definitely the circuit between the gorillas in Rwanda and the Serengeti and the ability to experience that in one trip.

Singita’s conservation efforts are vast and admirable – including projects and commitments in Kruger, Sabi Sand, the Serengeti, and Pamushana. What are the three most effective things Singita does to ensure the future of the African landscape?

  • Manage and protect the ecosystems and wildlife under our care – it is what travelers come to see.
  • Minimize the impact of our tourism on the ecosystems where we operate.
  • Provide economic opportunities and support to the communities around our reserves so that they benefit from, and support, the wildlife-based, land-use that we promote.
SingitaPamushanaLodge
Singita Pamushana Lodge.

You have 12 properties across South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. What attracts you to each region?

We have 12 unique lodges that offer something for everyone, across five different ecosystems in Africa. The wide open plains of the Serengeti allow for beautiful viewing of large herds of game, while the lush bushveld of the Sabi Sand and Kruger National Park create adventure around every corner with surprise viewings of elephants and cats. One of the most dramatic settings is Singita Pamushana:  the majestic baobabs, mopane forests and sandstone outcrops take my breath away every time.

 

Adapted from: www.blog.virtuoso.com
YYZ Travel Group, TICO:#04332359. 7851 Dufferin Street, Suite 100. Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3M4.
Published: 11/07/2017

To Book Your Trip
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

Is This Your Perfect Paradise?

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Discover your perfect paradise in the world’s most secluded locations. Soak up the beachfront luxury of Los Cabos for the weekend, gaze at the tranquility of the Maldives from your overwater villa, explore the vibrant oasis of Cape Town or indulge in the romance of Australia’s Wolgan Valley. Find the indulgence, bliss and serenity cultivated by One&Only Resorts.

 

LIMITLESS LUXURY

 

Palmilla, Los Cabos

  • Learn the history of Mexico’s favorite drink during a tequila tasting class
  • Harvest your own herbs and veggies at Los Tamarindos Farms during a special culinary experience
  • Virtuoso guests receive two complimentary 30-minute spa massages

Reethi Rah

  • Fly over the Indian Ocean in a sea plane, exploring the neighboring islands
  • Sail off in a luxury yacht from the One&Only Reethi Rah to your private diving spot
  • Unwind in the private pool at your villa after a day exploring the scenic Wolgan Valley
  • Reserve a Water Villa, suspended over the turquoise lagoon, surrounded by over-water hammocks

Cape Town

  • Relax in the thermal pools in Cape Town’s spa or indulge in a signature African Journey treatment
  • Marvel at Cape Town’s breathtaking Table Mountain from your suite’s open terrace
  • Virtuoso guests enjoy a $100 dining and beverage credit

Wolgan Valley

  • Take a guided horseback ride through diverse but beautiful terrain
  • Sample a few of the 150 Australian and international wines at the Valley Bar & Terrace Lounge
  • Virtuoso exclusive: guided Nocturnal Wildlife Spotlighting and Stargazing, or Signature Wildlife and Sundowners Tour, for two.

One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos: 3 nights’ minimum stays required. Valid for arrivals on Thursday and Fridays only. Applies to new bookings only. Blackout dates apply, including but not limited to all major holidays. All normal booking, payment, cancellation procedures and policies apply. Offer is subject to availability at time of booking and closeouts. Offer applies only on the selected room types. Room Rate is in USD based on double occupancy, mandatory taxes and service charge will apply. Rates are subject to a 19% tax and 15% service charge. Not available on group/wedding bookings (any booking of more than 10 rooms). Not combinable with other promotions or offers. One&Only Palmilla reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any time. Inclusions are once per Stay for two people.

One&Only Reethi Rah: All rates are per villa, per night and include full American breakfast in the Reethi Restaurant. Rates are quoted in USD based on single or double occupancy except for Two-Villa Residence with Pool and Grand Beach Villa 2-bedroom which are priced for 4 adults and Grand Sunset Residence 3-bedroom Villa which is priced for 6 adults. For more terms and conditions see www.oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-reethi-rah-maldives.

One&Only Cape Town: Applicable to new bookings only, during the above booking period. Only Combinable with the Stay Pay offer based on Stay Pay offer availability. Not combinable with 15% Suite Offer or any other offers. All rates include breakfast daily for a maximum of 2 adults and 2 children per room in Reuben’s, tax and service, but do not include R40.00 Tourism Levy per room/per night. All rates also include complimentary access to the KidsOnly Club for children. Not applicable to group bookings (10 rooms or more). 20% Deposit required 14 days from booking. Child, Cancellation and No Show policies apply. Subject to availability and confirmation from the resort reservation office. One&Only Cape Town reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time. Children up to 11 yrs old sharing a room with parents stay free of charge. An additional cost of R 750 per person per day will apply for a child 12 yrs old and above or an adult sharing. Early departures will be charged in full. One&Only Cape Town reserves the right not to provide exemptions from its cancellation policy for medical matters or any other unforeseen circumstances. Early departures or cancellations due to inclement weather conditions are fully chargeable. In case of a no-show or cancellation 7 – 0 days prior to arrival, cancellation penalty charge amounting to 100% of total room charge will apply. 

One&Only Wolgan Valley: Offer is subject to availability and applicable for new bookings only. Valid for stays from now until 17 December 2017 and subject to change without notice. Complete travel by date means guests must check out on the date specified and does not include a stay on the night of the specified date. Black-out dates may apply. Rate is based on a minimum two-night stay in a Heritage Villa on a twin-share basis including gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, non-alcoholic beverages and select local wine and beer with meals, a 90-minute Couples Spa Treatment, a Gourmet Picnic for two, a Romantic In-Villa Breakfast including half-bottle of French champagne and two on-site nature based activities per person per day. Please note, Couples Spa Treatment will be pre-booked at time of reservation, subject to normal availability and treatment options are set. 12-hours’ notice is required for Romantic In-Villa Breakfast and Gourmet Picnic. Offer not combinable with any other promotion, discount or offer. Inclusions are set and cannot be substituted. Not valid for group bookings of 5 rooms or more. Offer not combinable with any other promotion, discount or offer. Rates are quoted in Australian dollars inclusive of GST and subject to change without notice. Other terms and conditions may apply.

Fares, schedules, Virtuoso exclusive amenities, events and benefits are subject to availability and blackout dates and may change without notice. Unless otherwise stated, prices are in U.S. dollars, per person and based on double occupancy. Restrictions may apply. See your Virtuoso travel advisor for more details and applicable restrictions. Virtuoso is not responsible for any errors in pricing. The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 – Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.  367042 US/CAN AGT/STF 06/17. YYZ Travel Group, TICO:#04332359. 7851 Dufferin Street, Suite 100. Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3M4.

Published: 15/06/2017

To Book Your Trip
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768