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Privately Guided Tour Offers Insight Into Luxury Operator’s Conservation And Ranger Training Activities

June 26, 2018 Tour Operator No Comments Email Email

Luxury experiential travel company andBeyond has launched the Phinda Impact Small Group Journey, a seven-day set departure group adventure that offers unique insight into the conservation and community activities that go on behind the scenes at their flagship reserve in South Africa.

“Our vision is to leave our world a better place than we found it through our care of the land, wildlife and people, and the delivery of extraordinary guest experiences,” says andBeyond CEO Joss Kent. “This itinerary touches on each of these elements, providing an interactive experience of our community and conservation projects, as well as introducing guests to some of the concepts that we teach during our ranger training programme. Guests are also able to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges of managing a private game reserve.”

The itinerary is hosted at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province, where the company was launched in 1991 with the purchase of 13 000 hectares of degraded farmland. Named Phinda after the Zulu word for ‘the return’, today this protected area has grown to more than 28 555 hectares and has become a Big Five private game reserve. Not only has the wildlife been returned to the land, but a significant portion of the land has since been returned to its ancestral owners in a groundbreaking agreement between andBeyond and two local communities.

The Phinda Impact Small Group Journey is designed to highlight elements of this transformation, incorporates some of andBeyond’s ranger training curriculum, as well as selected conservation and community activities. The itinerary is ideal for families with older children, as well as anyone with an interest in wildlife management or photography. Not only are the trips privately guided, but they also include access to andBeyond conservationists, as well as a specialist photographic guide.

Accommodation is at andBeyond Phinda Zuka Lodge, an exclusive sole-use lodge with its own butler and chef, as well as a private vehicle and guide. The itinerary can accommodate up to eight guests, although it is ideally suited for six in order to provide the maximum flexibility and exclusivity.

Highlights of the Impact Journey include taking part in the capture of a rhino for research purposes and learning how to use telemetry equipment to locate wildlife. Guests will have the chance to meet with wildlife research technicians and find out more about the wildlife monitoring and research programmes in place at the reserve. A bird ringing exercise focuses on the smaller denizens of the bush, netting the little creatures before recording their measurements and tagging them prior to release.

A day out in the rural areas surrounding the reserve provides a glimpse into the projects supported by andBeyond and their community development partner, Africa Foundation. Guests will interact with members of the local community and learn more about the fascinating Zulu culture. A highlight is the opportunity to interact with students at Nkomo Primary School, help to prepare a school lunch and even teach a short lesson in line with the school curriculum.

Elements of andBeyond’s ranger training are woven throughout the itinerary, with lessons on tracking and signs, as well as tree and plant identification. A frogging expedition will show guests how to identify distinct species by their sound, while they a star-gazing session teaches the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere sky. Ranger rifle training and a sleep out beneath the stars bring a touch of excitement, while a craft gin and tonic or beer tasting explores some of the more decadent safari traditions.

Specialist photographic guide Andrew Schoeman will also be on hand to teach the art of wildlife photography, with plenty of opportunity to practice throughout the trip.

The andBeyond Phinda Impact Small Group Journey costs from ZAR 123 580 per person sharing, which includes a donation of ZAR 15 000 to Africa Foundation. Departure dates are November 2018 and May 2019.

The Phinda Impact Small Group Journey is one of two recently launched itineraries that focus on andBeyond’s conservation and community development activities, the other being the Oceans Without Borders Small Group Journey, dedicated to marine conservation.

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