Here's how Samara Private Game Reserve is advocating sustainable tourism recovery post-Covid-19
Samara Private Game Reserve joined Fellow Member of The Long Run, a global community of nature-based tourism businesses committed to meeting the highest standards of sustainability encompassing the 4 Cs: Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce.
Sarah Tompkins, the founder of Samara, shared her thoughts on the partnership.
“We find ourselves in excellent company with more than 70 partners from 22 different countries, collectively safeguarding over 21 million acres of nature, protecting 30 000 plant and animal species, supporting 6 300 jobs, celebrating 120 cultures and improving the lives of 175 000 people,” she said.
Established in 1997, Samara boasts 67 000 acres of born-again wilderness in the Great Karoo near Graaff-Reinet.
A passionate conservation undertaking, Samara has pioneered land-use change in the region, painstakingly restoring 11 former livestock farms across five vegetation biomes and reintroducing threatened wildlife including cheetah, lion and elephant.
"Samara engages in rehabilitating degraded landscapes, managing water catchments and regenerating carbon sinks, all the while functioning as a ‘living laboratory’ for researchers from around the world. This conservation commitment is underpinned by a strong sense of social responsibility. Samara employs 60 mostly local staff and is involved in skills training, community development and the preservation of indigenous knowledge," said Tompkins.
Besides the usual safari game drives, bush walks and wilderness picnics, Samara offers conservation sessions, personalised tours of rewilding projects and immersive experiences such as fly camping.
“We believe in the positive and lasting impact of ecotourism when done conscientiously and sustainably. It is our vision that the recovery of tourism post-Covid-19 will usher in a new paradigm of travel founded on responsible, ethical experiences that benefit their local spheres of influence. We are excited to work with The Long Run in pursuit of this goal," said Tompkins.