This Super Luxury Safari Comes With a Private Plane to Africa’s Most Exciting Camps — and Is Totally Carbon Neutral
In recent years, safari operators have made huge, laudable strides in sustainability. Companies including andBeyond, Great Plains Conservation, and Wilderness Safaris have worked to rehabilitate populations of animals like rhinoceros and elephants, build stronger institutions in local communities, and reduce the carbon footprint of safaris through the use of renewable energy. Many other operators have also taken big steps to turn what once was a high-impact form of luxury travel into one of the most eco-conscious vacations available today.
Now, the safari-planning firm Roar Africa is taking things another step further: For their upcoming 14-day private jet safari, the company plans to go above and beyond, offsetting carbon emissions, supporting wildlife conservation projects, and providing water and solar-power access to communities in need. The trip will be “better than carbon neutral,” promises Deborah Calmeyer, the founder of Roar Africa and a member of Travel + Leisure’s A-List of top travel advisors.
“When influential travelers see first-hand the effects of drought and climate change on the migration, and the solar and conservation projects in the communities they visit, we hope they come back forever-changed and committed to doing what they can to save the wildlife, uplift communities, and proactively address climate change,” says Calmeyer. “Travelers don’t just help fund the positive impact, they see it with their own eyes.”
The trip, which departs Dubai on Sept. 22, 2020, is a one-of-a-kind itinerary that’s very clearly not for everyone — starting with the $125,000-per-person price tag. A maximum of ten guests will make their first stop at Mpala Jena Camp, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, before jetting to Duba Plains Camp, in the Okavango Delta. Next up is the Mara Plains Camp, in Kenya’s Masai Mara. The trip concludes with a stay at Singita Kwitonda, in Rwanda, a country T+L recently recognized as one of the top destinations for 2020. These are among the best places to stay in Africa — full stop — and they were specifically chosen for their conservation bona fides.
“Great Plains Conservation and Singita echo my values when it comes to conservation and sustainability,” Calmeyer says. “They truly understand the Roar Africa guest experience I’m looking to create.”
The group will fly aboard the Emirates Executive private jet, a specially outfitted 19-passenger Airbus A319, operated by the Middle Eastern carrier. The A319 is the sort of plane that normally has around 130 seats, depending on the airline operating it, but the Emirates version is absolutely over the top, with private business-class-style suites, an on-board shower, and a lounge area for cocktails. While there’s no denying that flying private generates a big per-passenger carbon footprint, Roar Africa plans to purchase carbon offsets covering “1.5 times the expected emissions — 50 percent above ‘carbon neutral,” Calmeyer says. They’ll also be “geographically relevant,” she says, “to support verified impact along the flight path.”
As for the overall experiences, two guides will be along for the complete journey, and “every moment is curated with special insights and all sorts of theater,” Calmeyer says, “from the country-specific menus and cocktails on board to the wildlife documentary films of Attenborough and Dereck and Beverly Joubert in flight and out under the stars at night. We’ll have special-access to programs like Rhinos Without Borders and local community villages where — thanks to this trip — solar power will be put in place and where water for 3,000 people will now exist. [There will also be] poetry evenings and special talks with Dr. Ian McCallum, Dr. Lucy King, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, and Michael Charton — who delivers the most remarkable story on African history — to give great context.”
And should there be any unanswered questions, not to worry: Calmeyer will be personally leading the trip — because really, who’d miss it?