The purpose of the 'January Collection' was explained by owner and founder of the business Nicola Shepherd who stated, ’By working with our close friends globally, we have come up with the best possible savings on a collection of interesting, inspirational ‘’value added’’ and thought provoking philanthropic holidays and safaris’
The main focus is on travel, where the company has been able to negotiate some really significant cost benefits to ensure access to decent weather, wonderful quality and really rewarding experiences – all at the lowest possible cost!
Nicola went on to say, ‘I am also continuing to build on our core theme of travelling with a conscience: For us, a holiday is not just about “a lovely time” but also enriching the area you are visiting, making a difference to the lives of the animals or people that you touch, and in turn making it a far more genuine and inspirational experience! This is a symbiotic process for both the places where one stays and the participants; a win-win process in modern parlance!’
Below, Nicola’s shares some of her wonderful experiences and insights into very different regions:
A terrific safari in Zimbabwe includes one of the most beautiful parts of “Zim”: Matusadona National Park. Here one will stay at my favourite tented camp on the Lake Kariba shoreline and spend valuable time with lion researchers, learning all about their science, the challenges they face and their conservation work dedicated to reversing the lion population decline.
Then travel to Hwange, one of the most wildlife-rich regions of Zimbabwe, to not only see fantastic game but also accompany a “pump run”, filling wildlife waterholes. Ideally, finish at Victoria Falls where the central theme has of course to be the Falls but also look at the cultural aspects of the area and visit a wildlife trust. This is a truly different and inspiring safari, the sort of thing that I really love, where various projects benefit hugely from your support.
In Kenya an equally interesting (and inspirational!) safari starts in Samburu to see the renowned and fabulous elephant populations and also interact with the Ewaso Lion Project researchers. After that move on to Sera conservancy and, with luck, track black rhino on foot. (This is the most amazing opportunity to experience a conservation initiative that supports the entire community in protecting “their” rhino; I can hardly believe that Africa is losing 3 rhino each day to poaching, it’s obviously unsustainable and, crucially, see my comment below re the numbers of elephant losses).
One can also visit the Reteti Elephant Orphanage where elephant calves are released back into the wild as a reformed herd. The Masai Mara rounds the safari off; as well as of course seeing the finest wildlife showcase on the African continent we also take you to the Mara Elephant Project to learn about their important work. (An average of 86 elephant are lost each day in Africa so this work is vitally important).
In Peru, there is a fabulous trip that includes five days walking from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu, staying at lodges en route. This is a very individual and unique opportunity to privately explore this breath-taking region, hiking - or biking - through some of the villages and meeting people from ancient tribes. It is fun and also educational: one can talk to the villagers and learn a great deal about their lives, visiting inspiring schools and associated projects.
In Nepal I’ve chosen a trip of a lifetime that includes Chitwan National Park at a super time of year to see tigers, flying in a private helicopter with a Sherpa guide around Mount Everest and, also privately, “soft-trekking” for four days in the Annapurna Mountains with one of the finest guides in Nepal. Whilst on the trek I absolutely recommend stopping at the primary school where The Explorations Company provides the children with really vital daily “tiffin”, using produce sourced from the children’s parents’ smallholdings to make sure the children get a meal at school each day.