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.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT)
The sight of the tiny elephant orphans trotting out from their enclosures every morning at Kenya’s David Sheldrick Trust swathed in their colorful Swahili blankets is a poignant reminder of the casualties in man’s destructive nature. Located in Kenya, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) 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 David 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.’
Love, compassion and respect for our common humanity is the motivation behind Uthando (meaning love in Xhosa), an internationally award-winning and unique non-profit organisation and Fair Trade certified company. As a model of Travel Philanthropy and Responsible Tourism, Uthando raises funds and provides other forms of assistance for a broad range of inspiring and innovative community development projects in South Africa. We support their respectful and culturally-sensitive Philanthropic Tours and experiences because they celebrate South Africa’s Proudly South African manifesto across a staggering array of initiatives from township micro-farming, refugee educational initiatives, educational and employment opportunities that support those leaving prison, as well as dance and art academies, tree planting and food forest gardening.
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.
In recent decades, Zimbabwe’s political and economic woes have meant precious little economic opportunities for its people. As a result, desperate communities have cleared a substantial portion of the country’s once abundant forests to make way for subsistence farming and fuelwood. To date, a third of Zimbabwe’s majestic forests have been lost, creating further instability for the country’s human and animal populations that have endured so much. Since its launch in 2011, the Kariba REDD+ project has successfully protected nearly 785,000 hectares of land from deforestation and land degradation, thereby preventing more than 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere. The project continues to support regional sustainable development and the independence and wellbeing of local communities on the southern shores of Lake Kariba, near the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. One of the largest registered REDD+ projects by area, it sits between the Chizarira, Matusadona and Mana Pools National Parks (also a World Heritage Site), and Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park. The project connects these four national parks and eight safari reserves, forming a giant biodiversity corridor that protects an expansive forest and numerous vulnerable and endangered species – including the African elephant, lion, hippo, lappet-faced vulture and southern ground hornbill. It’s bold and brave projects like these that spur us on to do more.
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.
Atmosfair – Climate Justice Travel
At ROAR AFRICA we are committed to promoting and actively encouraging our clients to travel responsibly by offering – as part of our service – an option for our guests to offset the carbon emissions of their international flights. Our recommended partner is Atmosfair, a non-profit organization that actively contributes to CO₂ mitigation by promoting, developing and financing renewable energies in over 15 countries worldwide. Atmosfair is a German non-profit organization that relies exclusively on voluntary climate payments from private individuals and businesses. Their aim to decarbonize the world economy, has seen them design software tools and consulting services that can assist businesses such as ROAR AFRICA in executing their climate policies. We like it that their work ethic is based on that fact that we can only compensate on what can’t be avoided or reduced. By this we mean that while offsetting cannot solve the problem of climate change, it does foster the formation of a mindset that advocates both climate integrity and cost efficiency.
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.
This phenomenal student center in Cape Town is a safe haven for disadvantaged school students that has been running for 15 years with great success. Catering to those students who have proven potential but are at risk of not completing school or university due to dire home situations, Jorvan’s DARE TO STAND OUT program only accepts children from single parent homes where living conditions are desperate. With many of the students typically living without electricity in cramped, overcrowded township shacks, Jorvan works to provide the home life the students both need and crave for success at school. Essentially, a study center and boarding school that provides daily mentoring and a life skills program, Jorvan is run by founders Brian and Melanie Vandayar, who initially ran it out of their own home with as many as fifteen children coming to their home every day to study in a safe and calm space. Today the self-same principles of love, care and fun drive the Outreach Centre (where 33% of the learners live) as every one of the learners are raised in communities where gangs, gun distribution and drug violence are the norm. Our partnership with Jorvan is to create awareness amongst our guests and drive donations to this entirely self-funded initiative, in support of their motto: you have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
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.
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