Today is World Wildlife Conservation day, which gives us the perfect opportunity to highlight the work carried out in Kenya, home to a number of extraordinary organisations and conservancies. One such conservancy is Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Area. Community-run, it is located near the Mathews Mountains in northern Kenya, an area in which elephant were once entirely poached out. Today, thanks to the work of the the conservancies Trust, it is home to thousands of elephant, and to a wealth of other wildlife, and serves as excellent example of a mixed-use approach to conservation, one that begins with the local community, and which uses travel as both catalyst and support for wider sustainable development. If you'd like to learn more, do visit our sister not-for-profit organisation Wild Philanthropy's website.
Immerse yourself in a wellness retreat at @bluegreenbyronbay like no other - limited spaces remaining (one with your name on it 😉). Come and join us for this transformative, all inclusive, SOUL RISE RETREAT, staying in the idyllic BYRON BAY Hinterland, with our inspiring Yoga Teacher, Author & Intuitive Guide ~ @tinabruceyoga .
For details about the Soul Rise Retreat click the link in our bio.
3 402 December, 2019
Whether under canvas or in house, Kenya is a fantastic destination for private travel, the high levels of guiding and its huge array of wildlife making it perfect for the traveller keen to both explore and enjoy the country's vast landscapes, the accommodation often complemented by helicopter and fixed-wing options. To read Hannah Rayner's full account in JbD's blog, follow the link in our bio.
'Everything feels like it’s moving in a slow-motion replay, despite the fact even that it can create adrenaline-filled moments.' Following up from a recent trip to Ethiopia, @thebushbru has completed the first part of his blog on the trip. His piece All Aboard the Magic Carpet covers the journey by helicopter, explaining how this felt like the first time he’d visited the country due to the changed perspective this sort of travel gives. ⠀
Arriving in Addis Ababa at the same time as the Christian Meskel celebration is clearly a highlight. Equally, Chris is blown away by the contrast between the city and the countryside, which couldn't be starker when seen from helicopter. Travelling across vast distances, the helicopter is unique in terms of not just the its capacity for flying low, but also for the access it provides. For more on exactly this, do have a look at our blog in our bio or get in contact with us.
Looking at previous experiences of gorilla trekking, team member Fee Walls has created a short guide to the ins and outs of this particular experience. 'There is something very special about getting so close to these incredible, intelligent creatures. Spending an hour with them is fascinating, exciting, and humbling all at the same time!' Fee includes loads of information about fitness levels, advising on a light training programme, and on opting for Rwanda over Uganda if there is any concern over the fitness of any members of the group. She also has much to say about clothing and equipment, walking the rainforest at high altitude requiring a fair amount of preparation.Finally, in terms of photography, be prepared for a misty lens, lack of access to backup equipment, and putting the camera down in the interests of the (awesome) now. For Fee's guide to gorilla trekking, do have a look at our blog via the link in our bio.
1 1016 November, 2019
The further north you go, the more surreal it gets
#repost@dereckjoubert This is not to be missed!!! Anyone considering a safari, Mark your calendars to watch what will be an incredible voyage through Botswana. Then call me to design the most special safari you can imagine!! #journeysbydesign#bucketlist .
For the last two weeks, a few members of our sales team have been experiencing Ethiopia by helicopter. Keep an eye out for @thebushbru's full blog, due in a couple of weeks. Chris will be telling all about their incredible trip and why, despite having visited Africa more times than he can count, this will go down as the best trip of all time for him. For the time being, here is a sneak peak:⠀
"This was as you know not my first time to Ethiopia however with the use of the helicopter I felt like I had never seen the country before for what it really is. It is as if the countries true beauty is a well-guarded secret locked away and oblivious to time itself. The helicopter was key to unlocking this and I feel we have witnessed a way of life that few will ever experience." This image was captured by Chris in the Gheralta Mountains.
Travelling to Botswana & Namibia is an incredible combination that really works well, despite the neighbouring countries being entirely different ecospheres. The Okavango Delta houses some of the most beautiful wetlands and wildlife, whilst the famous Skeleton coast features expansive deserts, immense dunes but also coasts brimming with history.⠀
Namibia offers the opportunity of the self-drive, meaning you can take things in at your own time and really experience the authenticity of the country.⠀
Helicopter trips across Botswana are a wonderful way to see not only the landscapes but also spot wildlife. The bird’s eye view is incomparable and gives you oversight of an absolutely stunning landscape.
1 1052 October, 2019
Using the awareness reach of the new live action Lion King, The Lion Recovery Fund (@lionrecovery) has teamed up with @Disney to create a global conservation campaign to raise awareness and support the dwindling lion population across Africa. The plan is to double the number of lions in Africa by 2050. While yet to be categorised as 'endangered', lion numbers are dwindling, predominantly due to human-wildlife conflict. Crucially, lions are a keystone species, and their loss affects the entire ecosystem, ⠀
If you would like to know more about the initiative or how you could get involved & help #ProtectThePride , please do get in touch.
Sadly, the story of the African elephant has - since 2006 - been one of overall decline, one which conservationists across the continent are doing their utmost reverse. One fine and extraordinary example of this work is the Gorongosa Restoration Project, a 21-year old conservation partnership between the Carr Foundation and the Mozambique government.
A battlefield during Mozambique's civil wars, 95% of Gorongosa's elephant were wiped out by 1994, either hunted down for meat or for ivory, which was traded for guns. While not yet what they were, numbers have rebounded, the park an excellent habitat, the restoration project successfully tackling poaching through its emphasis on human development and on sustainability.
However, the scars remain - physical and emotional. While things are changing, Gorongosa's elephant are famously skittish when it comes to humans. 51% of older females are tuskless, a rare genetic trait (in unstressed populations) selected and passed on down to the next generation of females, of which 32% are tuskless. Families and clans headed up by tuskless matriarchs are observed to be less cohesive, leading conservationists to speculate that they are more likely to have been formed by war-orphaned or 'floater' females.
This said, time is a great healer. So long as the restoration project is afforded the peace and support to continue its excellent work, the number of tuskless elephant will naturally diminish, while numbers will grow, families will become increasingly cohesive, and human presence will be gradually regarded as non-threatening.
The picture of this little calf was expertly snapped by our very own Sales Manager @hrayn1 on her trip to Botswana a few years ago 📸 The infographic comes from the National Geographic (Dina Fine Maron, Under Poaching Pressure... 2018)
An incredible moment captured by @jamessuter in the early hours of last Saturday morning, as he was guiding some of our super-guests in Botswana on their helicopter trip 🦁🚁 They were lucky enough to come across a large herd of elephants, followed by an even larger herd of buffalo 🐘 🐃 Absolutely stunning stuff!
According to @WWF, the number of wild mountain gorillas has exceeded the 1,000 mark. This is incredible progress, seeing as just under a decade ago there 480 known gorilla in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virunga Massif, which spans across the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. The director for African Species Conservation at WWF says: 'This is fantastic news. It’s because of decades of collaborative conservation work between the three countries and their partners. They’ve given us a model for how to restore our planet’s precious biodiversity.' Despite this, the mountain gorilla continues to face considerable challenges, with climate change, disease, and human development all impacting on habitat and mortality rates. 📷: @sabyinyo_silverback_lodge
7 34410 July, 2019
Journalist @sophy_roberts is someone we work with regularly at Journeys by Design and @wildphilanthropy. For the last 16 years she and founder Will Jones have spent a great deal of time on the road together - from East Africa to the Congo - looking for stories about deep conservation work and how best to connect it with the philanthropic strand of high-end travel. Right now she's in Tanzania, in the Serengeti, back where she and Journeys by Design started working together 16 years ago, the first time she set foot on the African continent. That’s what this place does to you. It becomes an obsession...
Greystoke Mahale is an incredibly unique piece of accommodation. Situated on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, in Mahale Mountains National Park, it was built by Roland Purcell and is today looked after by Nomad.
The lake itself lies at 730m, but the park’s highest point is 2,462m, which accounts for the presence of four ecological zones, beginning, in the foothills, with mixed open canopied woodland and followed by a small band of rainforest, Afro-montane forest and, towards the top, moorland.
Apart from its extraordinary beauty, Roland came here for its chimpanzees, which at the time were known only to locals and an intrepid group of Japanese scientists. Having hosted the likes of Bill Gates, REM and the late Robin Williams, it is today a renowned chimp destination, one that provides travellers with extraordinary experiences. This from a recent guest: 'Learning about the hierarchies (and shifts over time) and behaviours of chimpanzees was the most interesting thing I learned. You always hear how closely humans resemble chimps, but you can’t appreciate it until you’re in the wild watching them in action.' Despite it's fame, Purcell and Nomad after him have managed to ensure that the habitat and its wildlife benefits from the sort of low volume high impact travel model that has served the mountain gorilla so well.
2 34226 June, 2019
11 members of the Journeys by Design team have spent a total of 365 days researching 12 of our many destinations in the past year. Here are just some of the incredible moments they experienced.
5 6619 June, 2019
Our very own @simonjmorris looking proud of his new upcycled jumper. The patterned elephant fabric came from a top in a local charity shop. Simon stitched the elephant onto an existing jumper, not only creating something wonderful & Africa-inspired, but also contributing to the local community.
This female elephant - along with its herd - was photographed crossing the road in Lake Manyara National Park, northern Tanzania. Elephants move between Lake Manyara and neighbouring Tarangire National Park through a protected wildlife corridor. It's a narrow and fragile pathway sandwiched between growing human settlements on either side, as humans too compete for space with wildlife for survival. This further raises the importance of supporting those involved in protecting the corridor and its delicate balance with civilisation. The park which was established in 1960, is a massively underrated destination, and has much to offer adventurous travellers, including an abundance of physical activities, such as bush walks and cycling. Image @thebushbru