Conscious tourism is a concept that advocates a change in the mindset of travelers. “Essentially we’re talking about mindful travel, with an awareness of the place you’re going to and whether the money you spend benefits the economy of the local hosts,” says Jeff Greenwald, a travel journalist and co-founder of Ethical Traveler.
In Africa, it is no secret that wildlife populations suffer because, in the traditional tourism model, the communities and land don’t benefit economically. Due to this, it becomes very difficult to sustain the ecological balance that wildlife populations need in order to survive. This begs the question, ‘What can be done?’ The answer: conscious tourism.
One of the ways that this has manifested itself in Africa is through conservancies. These are areas of land in which local communities and wildlife are able to co-exist. The local inhabitants own the land and various parcels of this land are leased to private safari companies on a concession basis – each lodge that operates on the particular conservancy pays a concession fee to the local community.
Pondoro Game Lodge
Pondoro Game Lodge is situated in Balule Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. It is one of many South African game lodges in the area that advocates eco-tourism and the concept of conscious tourism.
Firstly, Pondoro’s choice of location already shows their intention to contribute to conservation efforts. The Balule Nature Reserve is part of the Associated Private Nature Reserves. All areas that are part of the APNR, including Balule, Timbavati, Klaserie, Umbabat, Grietjie Private Nature Reserve, and the Kruger National Park have removed all fencing that separated the reserves.
This increases the grazing area for the different wildlife populations and ensures that the land is able to be sustained so that the ecological balance is maintained. Pondoro Game Lodge is also partnered with the all-women Black mamba anti-poaching team and their affiliate project, the Bush Babies Environmental and Awareness Programme. Both of these affiliations need to be lauded for their work.
How you can help
By choosing to stay at Pondoro Lodge, not only will you experience luxurious accommodation and have an unforgettable safari experience, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your money is being used to help conservation efforts in the region.
The lodge comprises five ultra-luxe suites, each equipped to provide you with pure comfort. The suites have a private patio, lounge, outside shower, and a Jacuzzi.
The exquisite, exclusive safaris are renowned for offering some of the best wildlife sightings (including the Big 5: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo) in Africa. You can choose between early-morning or night game drives; if you’re feeling more adventurous, there are nature walks that allow you to witness the sensational wildlife on foot – it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.
The change in mindset of how you travel is essential if we want to preserve and increase the longevity of the wildlife populations of Africa – you can be an ambassador for the change that is desperately needed.