We are delighted (see happy faces from Mpala Jena Camp in the main image, above) to announce the addition of Mpala Jena Camp, Zimbabwe, to Relais & Châteaux and Duba Plains Camp, Botswana, to National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, two very prestigious associations whose values we cherish deeply.
The association with Relais & Châteaux, with the finest establishments in hospitality along with our association friends around the world, is one that we clearly, really enjoy. As an organisation, it stands for more than fine hotels or camps, dining or an appreciation of wine and hospitality. For us, it is about a deep appreciation of ‘life.’ We appreciate the time our guests give us, their dedication and commitment to fly halfway across the world to support us, and to become, if just for a week or two, a part of ‘our family,’ to hear of our causes, to support our communities and to get involved in our conservation. With Relais & Châteaux, we are seeing an evolution of travel to the degree where the fine components of being hosted, are turning into a refined taste of a new lifestyle, one of elegance and experience with a desire ‘to be moved.’
So it is with so much pleasure that we are announcing the inclusion of our newest camp, Mpala Jena in Zimbabwe, set on the banks of the Zambezi River near the famous Victoria Falls, into the Relais & Châteaux membership. This is our fifth property to join the association so we are delighted to be accepted once again. It is also the only property in Zimbabwe to be accepted as Relais & Châteaux endorsed. This acceptance is not one they take lightly, and nor do we. We hold the association’s ethos high, with pride and with a certain sense that we are collectively changing the way people travel, the way travellers engage with the community and the way we all reach out and touch the planet. I am inspired by the sustainable food guidance that comes from the team at Relais & Châteaux and the way all aspects of this very refined hospitality has been taken, based on, in essence, a philosophy that we have designed Great Plains Conservation’s own ethos around that of being Caring. Time is the most precious commodity in the world. Why risk wasting it by NOT going to a Relais & Châteaux property?
With this offering now we can connect our guests from Duba and Zarafa in Botswana to Mpala Jena in Zimbabwe and further along to our camps in Kenya through Relais & Châteaux’s Routes du Bonheur.
As an Explorer at National Geographic, a conservationist and owner of a number of camps across Africa I would be remiss in not aspiring to also become a National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World member. It is a hugely prestigious association sanctioned by a 131-year-old institution that stands for exploring and finding the best places on the planet to report back from. That is what travellers really want to experience – that sense of adventure and uniqueness. We started with adding some of our camps to the program with ol Donyo Lodge and Mara Plains in Kenya and Zarafa in Botswana being the first. I am delighted to announce that we are now including Duba Plains in the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World program too.
The Unique Lodges program’s emphasis is on sustainability and offering unique experiences: Each applicant goes through a rigorous test of one’s sustainability values because travellers who subscribe to this institution and its travel advice, trust it to have done the vetting of property for ‘doing no harm.’ But in the Unique Lodges program now, it has become even more than that. Lodges are now chosen not just for sustainability but for their sustainability leadership. We have to lead the way with our peers and competitors to deliver more and more each year. A good example is that the small collection of lodges provided over $3 million to community projects, $7 million to conservation and over 1.5 million kilograms of waste being diverted. This is serious stuff, and while livestock and air pollution are suffocating us, the landfill is the second-largest producer of toxic methane.
So we are delighted to, once again, be newcomers into the portfolio with our fourth National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World camp, and be the only collection of properties to qualify in Botswana!
With these camps members of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World or Relais & Châteaux (in the cases of Duba Plains, Zarafa, Mara Plains and ol Donyo Lodge they are members of both associations) and owned and operated by Great Plains Conservation you can be assured that these three great brands will deliver high-quality standards, unique experiences and the lightest of environmental footprints to safeguard wildlife for generations to come. We look forward to welcoming you to our camps and lodges soon.
CEO, Great Plains Conservation