Wildlife safaris in Africa are mesmerising to say the least. While we enjoy the wildlife bounty of nature in the various parks of Africa, we often forget to acknowledge or sometimes even realise the efforts that have gone into making this experience even possible!
Human ‘development’ has destroyed most of pristine nature that existed. Africa and maybe the Amazon embodies the last significant portion of wild nature still existing despite the relentless march of human ‘progress’. More so in Africa, the development needs of a young growing population aspiring to a prosperous future and the continuous violent strife in many regions puts tremendous pressure on the remnant pockets (however small) of the wild.
The most successful conservation stories come from a determined political intent of governments e.g. Rwanda, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, to name a few. Of course, eco-tourism plays an important role in nudging the governments to action. Even in these efforts, the involvement of and benefit to the human community around the protected areas remains critical to success.
Sometimes, we hear of isolated stories where conservation efforts continue despite lack of support from governments and tremendous pressure from human activities driven by economics or otherwise. One such story is that of the Virunga National Park. Most of us will not even have heard of Virunga or the heroic efforts done by its Rangers against deathly odds to protect the portion of natural paradise in the volatile Eastern Congo. This is also the home of the endangered Mountain Gorillas with the Congo having around a third of the last surviving population of these gentle primates.
We can get more information about the unrelenting work done by these unsung heroes on www.virunga.org or you can listen to this amazing Tedx Talk by Emmanuel de Merode (the director of Virunga National Park) on https://youtu.be/OhnGzaEOE34
The story is quite dramatically narrated in the award-winning document ‘Virunga’ on Netflix. Definitely worth a watch!
Beyonder continuously endeavours to create a sustainable and responsible tourism model. To this end, we try to contribute our bit towards conservations efforts in an attempt to either offset the negative impacts of the travel by our guests or to contribute financially to admirable efforts like the one by Virunga.
In line with this thought, for every guest who travels with Beyonder to Sub-Saharan Africa, we contribute a small sum to Virunga National Park, on behalf of our guests. Though tiny, it is a start and quite important to us – “Little drops of water make the mighty ocean”! The contributions are made in the name of our guests and it also serves as a medium to raise awareness about Virunga and its rangers / volunteers amongst this small group of guests who are wildlife enthusiasts.
This is our way of contributing to a better world; We would welcome your thoughts & suggestions!