It all started when five individuals in their 50’s pooled their considerable skills and experience to create innovative, world-class conservation projects in diverse and threatened habitats throughout Africa.
To find the right formula of conservation, communities and commerce that would make a lasting, sustainable difference to the world’s iconic wildlife and wildernesses.
Over the years we have witnessed the steady degradation of these natural treasures in spite of considerable efforts to protect them. Species are being taken to the brink of extinction and habitats are being wiped out through poaching, hunting, mining, pollution and human development, use and abuse.
As human populations explode, these rare places, and the diversity of life they support, are valued less not more. They are protected less, not more. In order to secure their future this has to stop and alternative, bold conservation models that successfully integrate communities, governments, and the private sector must be created.
Our model takes stressed and threatened environments, surrounds them with compassionate protection and intelligent, sustainable management, and funds them with sensitive, low-volume, low-impact, tourism. Communities are an intrinsic part of this model and benefit directly from it. The final piece of the puzzle is you – our clients and guests – who pay to visit the camps we create, and through doing so, become our valued partners and agents of positive change.
When we started on this incredible journey, we didn’t feel like we were eco-tourism operators. Most eco-tourism companies are primarily involved in the business of travel, occasionally getting involved in conservation initiatives to help sustain their tourism operations. But Great Plains is first and foremost a conservation organization that uses eco tourism as a tool to sustain conservation programs.
We even coined a new name for what we do – “Conservation Tourism”. We define it as the use of quality led tourism experiences that are environmentally sound, with the benefits going specifically into making the conservation of an area viable and sustainable.
It is important to us that this is done without any negative influence on the land, on any species that uses that land, or, indeed, on any individual animal. We do not do conservation by triage, killing some to save the rest, because this is a defeatist and disrespectful way of interacting with nature.
Our philosophy is grounded in the fundamental appreciation of the good in life… Good people, good staff, good decisions, good things we share and enjoy, but most of all we try to extend that “goodness” to our interactions with you, with wildlife, with nature and with the local communities which so depend on them.
So, welcome to Conservation Tourism – we are delighted to have you on board!