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Blog 24/03/2020

The travel industry and wildlife conservation

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Wildlife conservation is currently a hotter topic than ever before. The rising tide of social awareness around the importance of sustainable behaviour has swept into all facets of modern life and the tourism industry is no different. Thankfully, many forward-thinking brands and individual hotels across the globe are investigating how they can take advantage of the economic prosperity and cultural diversity which travel brings, while still ensuring it does not have a negative effect on the planet.

This year, we celebrate our 10th anniversary and we’d like to recognise the wonderful moments and incredible landscapes we’ve been proud to have experienced over the last decade by giving back – especially to the planet that has given us so much. That’s why we’ve partnered with a variety of sustainably minded organisations and initiatives around the world, from Amazon rainforest restoration projects in Peru to the rejuvenation of endangered gorilla species in Uganda. We hand-select properties guaranteed to give you an experience that’s guaranteed to leave indelible footprints in your memory – but not on the environment. Here are a handful of the amazing places we work with who are actively helping wildlife conservation efforts in their area. 

Africa

Giraffe Manor – Nairobi, Kenya

It’s rare that a hotel’s USP is the prospect of visitors poking their head in through the window, but at this boutique hotel in the Kenyan capital, that’s exactly the main attraction. Located next to the Giraffe Centre – which is home to 10 of these gorgeous long-necked mammals – the Manor was built in 1932 and modelled on a traditional Scottish hunting lodge. 

In addition to elegant furnishings and African-themed artwork throughout all of its 12 luxurious rooms, the Manor allows guests to enjoy afternoon tea on its lawn while the giraffes roam freely around, or else breakfast indoors while they pop their heads in to say hello. A truly unique way to start the day. But unlike some wildlife experiences, the emphasis at Giraffe Manor is very much on conservation and very much against exploitation. These majestic creatures are under threat; their global population has fallen by around 40% in the last 30 years, with just 68,000 specimens left worldwide. Rest assured that the 10 in residence at the Manor are very well looked-after, while it has also served as a breeding centre for Rothschild’s giraffes for far longer than it’s been a hotel. As well as running a sponsorship programme for these endangered animals, the Safari Collection (by whom Giraffe Manor is run) are also careful to follow sustainable practices and give back to the communities they inhabit, taking a holistic approach to conservation.

Asia

Wa Ale Island Resort – Wa Ale Island, Myanmar

Where better to get away from it all than a desert island? This exquisite, exclusive resort is located within the Lampi Marine National Park, meaning it’s surrounded by a diverse array of flora and fauna. From the colourful fish which frequent the nearby underwater caves and coral reefs, to the various types of sea turtles which visit the island’s sandy shores, there’s a wide variety of exotic animals to feast your eyes on. 

Meanwhile, the hotel itself is the epitome of secluded decadence, with a choice of tented or treetop villas. The kitchen serves up delicious food made using locally produced ingredients on a menu that changes daily, while the idyllic location makes for the perfect backdrop for yoga, meditation and massage. Wa Ale Island Resort also employs the most forward-thinking sustainability practices possible in its operation. A percentage of the proceeds from the luxury resort go directly towards the Lampi Foundation, which was created to help fund conservation projects and social welfare initiatives in the surrounding area. In 2016, the Lampi Foundation successfully developed a turtle hatchery, providing a much-needed boost to the dwindling numbers of these serene ocean dwellers in the process. The hotel itself has been designed to leave behind the smallest green footprint possible, with all buildings constructed from local raw materials and all produce in the kitchen sustainably farmed and caught.

Australasia

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley – New South Wales, Australia

Few hotels on Earth enjoy such a privileged perspective on the world. Set inside the dramatic splendour of the Wolgan Valley in the Greater Blue Mountains – which are themselves listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO – the resort comprises just a single percent of the 2,800-hectare conservation area it occupies. 

The drastic dive of the cliffs on one side is offset by the expansive sprawl of the valley floor on the other, with mile upon mile of scenic Australian outbreak unfurling before you. There are a variety of dining options, some of which serve up sumptuous six-course extravaganzas, while the One&Only Spa specialises in holistic body care therapies. More active guests can take advantage of the surrounding countryside to participate in wildlife safaris, gallop off on horseback adventures or learn more about the locale with heritage tours. That unique heritage, and the incredible landscape which has fostered it, is a special point of interest for the resort; their conservation programme allows guests the opportunity to become a part of the reserve’s history and make a hands-on contribution to ensuring its beauty and biodiversity extend far into the future.

Indian Ocean

North IslandSeychelles

Another waterlocked paradise, North Island has been described as an “evolution laboratory”, which is testament to the sheer assortment of wildlife species which call it home. As such, there’s simply no better setting for a conservation project. Aptly titled Noah’s Ark, the in-situ enhancement programme has brought the island from an overdeveloped fruit and spice plantation whose indigenous species had been overwhelmed by invasive ones, to a world-leading sanctuary for native plant and animal life.

The 11 villas here have been designed with the surrounding biodiversity in mind; all the buildings have been constructed from materials sourced during the island’s rehabilitation, while the marine colour scheme and multi-textured surfaces evoke an abode that’s truly at one with its environment. Guests can partake of the plentiful snorkelling, scuba diving and water sports activities, or focus all their energies on feeling good with a variety of spa and wellness treatments. Those more interested in understanding more about the impressive outcome of the conservation efforts can spend time chatting with the resort’s Environmental Staff, or simply experience those results first-hand by wandering in awe around the island at their own pace.

India

The Oberoi Vanyavilas Wildlife Resort – Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India

The vibrant sights, smells and sounds of India might not be intuitively linked with relaxation or conservation, but the Oberoi Vanyavilas Wildlife Resort in Rajasthan will soon dispel that particular preconception. Situated within the Ranthambore National Park, the resort offers guests luxury tented accommodation in close proximity to the native Bengal tigers which call the area home. 

Indeed, the Park has done incredible work over the last half-century to coax the population of these noble predators back from the brink of extinction to a stable figure of around 80 specimens today. Meanwhile, the nearby Chambal River is home to India’s largest group of the critically endangered Gharial crocodile, offering even more opportunities for conservation. Aside from all that sustainability, Oberoi Vanyavilas is quite simply a stunning safari destination in its own right. The triple-canopied tents are modelled after the fashion of the Indian Royal family’s own opulent accommodations and each room is equipped with air conditioning, a king-size bed, plush armchairs and a claw-footed standalone bathtub. As well as the wildlife exploration activities, the hotel also offers all manner of extra-curricular pursuits, from cookery classes and fine dining feasts in its world-class kitchen to stargazing sessions and cultural excursions in the surrounding environs.

South America

Pacuare Lodge – Limón, Costa Rica

Nestled between the fast-running Pacuare River and the tropical rainforest which it bisects, every aspect of Pacuare Lodge has been designed to complement the abundance of natural magnificence all around. Not a single tree was cut down in order to construct the lavish suites which welcome visitors, with the timber sourced from a sustainable forestation site operated by small farmers nearby. 

The Lodge is also engaged in a number of conservation projects in partnership with Costa Rican universities and non-profit organisations, allowing it to give back to the communities it interacts with and raise awareness over the importance of environmental issues in the process. By staying in one of its sumptuously adorned suites, you can contribute to that good work. It’s not all about philanthropy, though; there are plenty of other enticing reasons which make Pacuare Lodge a firm favourite with everyone who’s ever crossed its threshold. The proximity of the Pacuare River offers unbeatable white-water rafting opportunities, while the lush rainforest on all sides is teeming with birds, mammals and amphibians just waiting to be spotted. Meanwhile, the appropriately titled “Nest” is a purpose-built viewing platform 20 metres above the rainforest floor, where guests can enjoy an unforgettable meal in the company of one of the best views in the world.

USA and Canada

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort – Vancouver Island, Canada

This 600-acre eco-safari resort opened in 2000, offering unprecedented access to the UNESCO-designated Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve and immediately establishing itself as Canada’s top sustainably minded destination. 

The Reserve is a delicate and distinctive blend of a myriad of different ecosystems, with temperate rainforests and alpine peaks dissected by meandering rivers and expansive lakes. The brainchild of founder Richard Genovese, the Resort has been conceived as a means of allowing guests the chance to experience this incredible utopia through safe and sustainable means. Home to just 25 intimate guest tents, this reclusive retreat is only accessible by floatplane or boat, creating an atmosphere of seclusion and serenity. But don’t let its remote location fool you – the resort is still a hive of gentle activity throughout the day. Guests can avail themselves of the opportunity to embark on horseback forays into the untouched valleys all around, participate in restorative yoga classes or try their hand at fly-fishing in the many rivers which criss-cross the terrain. The delectable cuisine is concocted from a plethora of locally sourced and sustainably farmed ingredients, while the log-built Cookhouse, with its open fireplace and overstuffed couches, provides the perfect place to unwind at the end of a long day’s adventuring.


Quintessential conservation

Whether you crave the isolated tranquillity of a tropical island paradise or the thrumming rhythms of a cloud-kissing rainforest, there’s a holiday destination that’s sure to put you back in touch with nature and leave you feeling refreshed, recharged and ready to go. At Quintessentially Travel, we pride ourselves on being able to identify the unique tastes of our clientele, often ascertaining preferences of which they themselves were not even aware.

Then, using our team of globally placed and highly passionate travel experts, we can marry those predilections to a tailor-made holiday experience designed to satisfy your every desire. What’s more, our commitment to giving back means we are intimately acquainted with the most sustainably minded organisations out there, allowing you access to luxury locations which work hand in hand with the communities and ecosystems that support them. To ensure your next holiday makes a real difference in the world – to the places you visit and the people you meet and, of course, to you and your loved ones – get in touch with Quintessentially Travel, today.

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