I’m passionate about responsible tourism, believing that tourism can and should always work with local communities and conservation, not against them.
During my travels across Africa, I grew increasingly curious about what goes on behind the seemingly idyllic safari scenes, wanting to explore the issues involved in protecting the vulnerable wildlife and wild places and to understand the challenges faced by people living alongside them.
Consequently, over the years my work has gravitated towards being as much about conservation as it is about travel.
I’ve seen how communities are an integral part of conservation – without them onside, efforts at saving wildlife will ultimately fail – and I’ve learnt how conservation organisations put local people at the heart of their work.
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some of the best conservation organisations on the continent, and possibly in the world, learning about the complexities of poaching and security, trophy hunting, centuries-old cultural traditions and human wildlife conflict:
- With African Parks, I’ve monitored a darted elephant, writing about the first day of the world’s most ambitious elephant translocation initiative, the 500Elephants programme, and have visited seven of the parks they currently manage in Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Congo to report on their work.
- I met Sudan, the world’s last remaining male Northern White rhino in Ol Pejeta, Kenya, reporting on efforts to save the species through IVF and stem-cell technology – sadly, Sudan died in March 2018.
- Over the years, I’ve seen the remarkable progress made by The Gorongosa Restoration Project in Mozambique and its work in protecting what eminent scientist Professor E.O. Wilson describes as ‘the most diverse park in the world.’
And I’ve been fortunate to spend time with many other significant players in conservation, among them African Wildlife Foundation, Oxford University’s WildCRU, the Ruaha Conservation Project and The Long Shields Lion Guardians, and Conservation Lower Zambezi.
To read some of these articles, click here.