OUR CHARITABLE PARTNERS
Working from a place of deep insight and with an acute understanding of Africa’s many strengths and complexities, ROAR AFRICA is based on the principles of sustainable travel in that we create the kind of life-changing journeys that encourage dialogue, promote an exchange of ideas and most importantly facilitate active participation between ourselves, our guests and the local communities that we visit. To this end, we only work with people and properties who share our vision of sustainable travel and whose ethics echo our own. The power of our partnerships with local communities and on-the-ground organisations lies in our combined creative output – one that seeks to deliver health, housing, employment and the skills requisite for conservation and gender empowerment. As such ROAR AFRICA imbues every curated journey we design with a sense of humanity – an intangible, undefinable quality but one with the power to sustain us all.
‘The decision to travel to Africa almost inevitably leads to rediscovering oneself in nature. It has been my immense privilege over the years to observe the profound experiences our guests have had when they realise the contribution they are making through their personal travel experience. It’s almost like a light goes on, they realise that authentic travel experiences highlight the connectivity that exists between all living things – from animals to trees to the local communities that we visit and, of course the traveler themselves.’ – Deborah Calmeyer, ROAR AFRICA CEO & Founder
Below are a selection of programs we support:
SA College For Tourism (SACT)
The South African College for Tourism (SACT) is a game-changing women’s empowerment initiative and a not-for-profit organization based in Graaff-Reinet, that was founded by Dr Anton and Gaynor Rupert in 2001, in partnership with international agencies and public donors. Their aim? To train young women from underprivileged backgrounds in a year-long tourism course. The college’s phenomenal success is that it has succeeded in training more than 1 200 graduates since its inception, all of whom have received critical on-the-job skills training that will enable them to work in hotels, lodges or guesthouses. Futhermore, the Drostdy Hotel, also owned by the Rupert family, commits to 30 internship positions every year, meaning that by virtue of staying here our guests are contributing to their training with constructive feedback and encouragement, as well as financially, as all profits are ploughed straight back into SACT. As a direct result of a recent women’s empowerment where the SACT was part of the itinerary, the SACT has been awarded an enormous grant from a U.S.A foundation.
The Tracking Academy
The Tracking Academy is another division of SACT’s philanthropic endeavors that is based upon teaching one of our most indigenous art forms, the tracking of animals in the wild. The Tracker Academy was the realization of a long-held dream for game ranger Alex van den Heever, who first identified the need for such a school when he started working as a game ranger in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in 1995. ‘My greatest gift was being assigned Renias Mhlongo as my tracking partner,’ recalls Alex. ‘For his knowledge – spanning some 27 years – was a profound discovery for me and I was shocked when I realized that there was no formal educational qualification that could impart these critical tracking skills to a new generation.’ Nor was there a system that recognized how tracking impacts positively on conservation and on the preservation of our wildlife and wilderness spaces. Until, Alex’s passion caught the attention of philanthropist Gaynor Rupert, whose foresight in all matters of conservation and empowerment brought Alex’s dream to life. Today The Tracker Academy trains unemployed community members in the traditional skills of tracking by way of a fully sponsored course that produces students who find employment in the eco-tourism, anti-poaching and animal monitoring industries – essential areas in the preservation of Africa’s wildlife. On a recent trip to the Kalahari, we were very proud to have the expertise of Africa’s first fully qualified female tracker, Kelathilwe Malaki, to guide us.
Save the Elephants
The Save The Elephants Foundation (STE) sees these magnificent creatures as Africa’s gardeners and landscape engineers who plant seeds and create habitats wherever they roam. Africa’s human population is set to double by 2050 and this puts enormous pressures on Africa’s elephants. As farmlands spread and infrastructure such as roads and fences fragment wilderness habitat further, elephants are being forced into increasing conflict with people. STE conducts vital research on elephant behaviour and ecology and has pioneered a GPS radio tracking system that provides critical insights into the life of elephants. We have worked closely with Dr Lucy King, the head of the Human Elephant Co-existence Program, whose design of a ground-breaking beehive fence has reduced the conflict by a staggering 80% in the communities in which she works. Best described as a boundary of poles with beehives on them that are interlinked via wire, the fence capitalizes on elephants natural aversion to bees to offering effective protection of community crops, a pollination service for the farmers and the creation of revenue via the elephant-friendly honey that is produced as a by-product. As a direct result of a recent trip on which Dr King was a ROAR AFRICA speaker, Dr King’s story so moved our guests that she has been awarded an enormous grant from a U.S.A foundation as well as the opportunity to educate the world on the importance of elephant conservation by becoming a speaker at TEDWomen later in the year. We couldn’t be prouder.
The Herding Academy
The first and only academy of its kind in the world, The Herding Academy is another initiative in the semi-desert region of the Karoo that was instigated by Dr Anton and Gaynor Rupert. The genius behind The Herding Academy is that sheep are being used to mimic the natural migratory movements of animals and in so doing, this brittle landscape is being rehabilitated, perhaps most significantly, in the midst of a drought! ‘Sheep farming has traditionally centered around keeping sheep in the same camp for most of their lives which of course leads to overgrazing,’ explains Johan Brouwer, the manager of The Herding Academy. ‘Now the soil has time to recover, and to allow for the germination of new grass and plant life that serves to increase the organic content or carbon bank of the soil.’ The Academy accepted its first intake of 12 students in 2018 and offers a year-long course that is mostly field-based with students getting out into the veld for seven days at a time to herd sheep in spurts of intensive grazing. In addition it teaches the ancient skills of migratory and pastoral herding to both men and women and with an estimated 30,000 herders needed in South Africa alone, the import of this training cannot be underestimated.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT)
The sight of the tiny elephant orphans trotting out from their enclosures every morning at Kenya’s Sheldrick Trust swathed in their colorful Swahili blankets is a poignant reminder of the casualties in man’s destructive nature. Located in Kenya, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) is the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and a pioneering conservation organization for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa. Founded in 1977 by Dame Daphne Sheldrick in memory of her late husband, David Sheldrick MBE, the famous naturalist and founding warden of Tsavo East National Park, the remarkable work of the trust continues today under the auspices of Angela Sheldrick (Daphne and David’s daughter) and her inspiring team. By embracing all measures that complement the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife including anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need and safe-guarding the natural environment, The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s passion to make a difference is beyond inspiring.
Watching a child’s face light up at the sight of a new school uniform is an emotional and rewarding experience that never loses appeal for us. Throughout our relationship with Imibala, we have watched our guests arrive at this multifaceted facility with high expectations and depart with newfound optimism. The primary focus of the Imibala Trust is the provision of primary education for the underprivileged children of the Helderberg area of the Western Cape through its ‘Sponsor a Child’ program. How it works is that children from outlying schools arrive after their regular school day to explore a variety of extracurricular activities ranging from art and pottery classes to drama, ballet, math enrichment, computer literacy and life skills. Interactions with the children, conducted entirely by volunteers from the local community, are handled with sensitivity, candor and good humor as they conjure up stimulating experiences that will encourage the children to develop their creative skills. To date our involvement with Imibala has revolved around the generating of sponsorship to cover uniforms and school fees for a year. ‘School uniforms have deep cultural roots in Africa in that they give children a sense of pride and belonging and they level the playing fields,’ says Deborah Calmeyer. ‘In a world where most of us view uniforms as an anachronism, a school uniform in Africa has the power to change a life.’
Imagine a world where people no longer buy wildlife products such as shark fin, elephant ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales? That’s the world that we at ROAR AFRICA and international conservation organization, WildAid passionately envisage. We’re proud to be associated with WildAid because its focus on ending the demand through education, is one that we feel will affect the most positive change. Every day, from the plains of African to the depths of the world’s oceans, animals are being caught and killed mainly for profit. Illegal trade in wildlife is thought to be worth more than $10-20 billion dollars a year, with only trafficking in arms, drugs and people more profitable. Using the same techniques as high-end advertisers, WildAid persuades people not to buy these products thus ensuring up to 1 billion people a week are familiar with the WildAid slogan: When the buying stops, the killing can too. And it’s paying off, WildAid is now the leading environmental communicator in Asia with its delivery of clear, hard-hitting messages by way of advertising campaigns.
Infinity Air Water
Every person who travels with us ROAR AFRICA is positively contributing to the management of Africa’s water systems. Infinity Air Water begins in the formation of humidity over the ocean, that is then carried to the Western Cape town of Stellenbosch by the consistent breeze of Cape Town’s Mediterranean climate. That Stellenbosch’s humidity is in excess of 70% all year round, makes it the perfect place for atmospheric water generators to condense the water in the air by cooling the air below its dew point and collecting it for bottling purposes. The water is then filtered and treated with ultra-violet rays before being bottled and delivered to the ROAR AFRICA offices for distribution to our guests. A perfect balance of purity, smoothness, minerals and taste, we’re proud to be associated with Infinity Air Water because every liter of Air Water consumed means there’s an extra liter of water in our closed water systems. By traveling with us, you are supporting the reduction of plastic and single-use glass bottles. Our high rate of returns means that we are also contributing to the reduction of at least 2 million plastic bottles each year. The ROAR AFRICA glass bottles are reusable and 100% recyclable while the crates for distribution are made from reusable, repairable and renewable wood.
We’ve long partnered with Uthando Tours in Cape Town in our quest to give our clients an authentic philanthropic travel and cultural introduction to the city. Meaning love in Xhosa, Uthando is a unique non-profit and Fair Trade in Tourism accredited organization that aims to raise funds for life-changing community development projects in South Africa. Despite its incredible natural beauty and melting pot of cultures, South Africa is a country with many acute social and economic challenges. Million of its citizens live in extreme poverty and face daily struggles to survive, let alone flourish. Motivated by love, compassion and a respect for our common humanity, Uthando seeks to form part of the solution to meet these challenges by drawing on an extensive network of cherished partnerships in tourism and community development. We share their vision to link these two initiates in innovative, sincere and meaningful ways and so relay on Uthando to give our clients insights into South Africa history as well as the socio-economic and cultural issues confronting the country today. Tailor-made itineraries include ‘behind the scenes’ insights into some of the city’s most successful initiatives from micro-farming to literacy and performing arts programs for children to after-school homework clubs and the The Amy Foundation in honor of slain American Fulbright student Amy Biehl, who wanted to develop and empower South Africa’s youth. That the project employs two of the men responsible for Amy’s death, offering fascinating insights into forgiveness and reconciliation.
Big Life Foundation
We’ve watched in awe at the enormous achievements of the Big Life Foundation since its inception nearly ten years ago by photographer Nick Brandt, award-winning conservationist Richard Bonham, and entrepreneur Tom Hill. Since then Big Life has expanded to employ hundreds of Maasai rangers with more than 40 permanent outposts and tent-based field units. Today it employs 250 rangers in 21 anti-poaching outposts across a staggering 2 million acres Kenya’s Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem in East Africa. Their mission to protect and sustain Amboseli, one of the most important and famous ecosystems in Africa with the greatest elephant population in East Africa echoes our own vision: conservation supports the people and people support conservation. The good news is that poaching in the area Big Life protects has dramatically dropped since they’ve been in operation. We support them wholeheartedly in their belief that fighting wildlife crimes is an integral part of conservation but ultimately it is winning the hearts and minds of the community to provide mutual benefit through conservation, that will protect the wild life and wild lands of the future.
Great Plains Conservation Foundation
The Great Plains Conservation Foundation (GPF) is a US and UK public charity working to preserve, protect, and expand natural habitats in Africa through innovative conservation initiatives with a long-term commitment to the environment, wildlife, and local communities. Its community-based conservation initiatives in rural Botswana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe foster community resilience, instill dedication to sustainable stewardship of the land for future generations, and help to reduce the inequities rural communities face through quality supplementary education and workforce development programs. The Foundation is the charitable arm of the commercial ‘conservation tourism’ safari company, Great Plains Conservation (GPC). Both the commercial and charitable entities are guided by the mission of “conserving and expanding natural habitats,” using eco-tourism as a catalyst for conservation.
Proof of Impact
The POI platform is revolutionizing the way people fund and experience impact by connecting the people who are making a difference on the ground with the people (our travelers) who want to be part of the solution. Whether you’re looking to fight climate change, save wildlife, or to improve the lives of underserved populations, Proof of Impact can help. A methodical verifiable approach and blockchain technology, your contribution will be linked to the exact impact you made – the individual sea turtles saved, solar panels installed, maternal health services provided, and more. Your impact will be tracked, measured, and delivered to you via detailed reporting so you can feel good about the good you’re doing. ROAR AFRICA uses POI as our carbon offset partner for all our travel making every ROAR AFRICA trip carbon neutral.
African Parks currently manages 17 national parks and protects areas in 11 countries covering over 13.3 million hectares in: Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.The organization was founded in 2000 in response to the dramatic decline of protected areas due to poor management and lack of funding. African Parks utilizes a clear business approach to conserving Africa’s wildlife and remaining wild areas, securing vast landscapes and carrying out the necessary activities needed to protect the parks and their wildlife. African Parks maintains a strong focus on economic development and poverty alleviation of surrounding communities to ensure that each park is ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable in the long-term. The goal is to manage 20 parks by 2020, the geographic spread of protected areas and representation of different ecoregions makes this the largest and most ecologically diverse portfolio of parks under management by any one NGO on the continent.
Our Charitable Partners
Walking With Rhino
Walking With Rhino
It’s not for everyone, but it is for the brave at heart — walking with rhino through a private reserve.Explore
“Humans are the most insane species. We worship an invisible god, whilst destroying visible nature.” — Botswana’s leading rhino conservationist, Map Ives.Explore
The South African College of Tourism for Girls is a place we recommend our guests visit.Explore
In The Footsteps Of Giants
In The Footsteps Of Giants
In the right hands, a walking safari through the African bush need not be something to fear.Explore