WildArk announced their first conservancy in South Africa last year and are inviting you to Africa with their Wild Adventures.

WildArk was founded by passionate conservationists Mark and Sophie Hutchinson, who have a lifetime of experience in adventure and ecotourism travel. Seeing first-hand the incredible people all over the world dedicating themselves to saving the wild inspired the pair to do something more.

“What we saw was that many of these people and small organisation had no voice, no way to promote their projects and no opportunities to receive investment or donation,” Mark said.

“So WildArk’s initial mission was to help tell the positive stories of conservation and try to link resources to help, coupled with our own projects and scientific research to create our own impact.”

That very dream became a reality in August of 2016 and WildArk was born.

In October 2016, WildArk secured its first conservancy in South Africa, the Pridelands Conservancy.

South Africa seemed an obvious place to start for Mark and Sophie. Mark had been travelling to South Africa since 1999, worked and had many friends there. Mark also recalls reading every Wilbur Smith novel as a teenager, so the pull to Africa was intense. Sophie also has family history in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

“It was a natural first project for us,” Mark explains, adding that with the poaching wars that are escalating there, they really wanted to sink their initial efforts into a project that had well defined outcomes.

Located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, Pridelands, as a farm, had been fenced out of Greater Kruger for over 50-years and hence there had been an unnatural ecosystem dynamic. The free movement of predators and prey had been limited due to the fences and it was unknown what the natural carrying capacity, biodiversity and general ecology was of the property.

Pridelands goal was to rehabilitate this old hunting farm and turn it into a wildlife conservancy. On 28 September 2017, Pridelands achieved this and opened into the Greater Kruger national Park, adding an additional 4500 acres of land to conservation.

They are not alone in the work they do. WildArk has snagged some high profile named ambassadors, including World Champion surfer Mick Fanning, professional rugby player David Pocock and his partner Emma and world-famous photographer David Yarrow.

“We are so lucky to have these legends on board,” Mark confessed.

“We’ve met them in different settings, under different circumstances, but essentially there was a meeting of the minds and stages of their careers that matched our collective goals. The best partnerships are ones that happen quickly and organically, which is what occurred with our ambassadors. We couldn’t achieve our mission without them.”

Everyone can soon get involved also. WildArk are about to launch a new website that will enable people to donate, tell stories, volunteer and learn about projects around the world and how they can get involved.

“We just want to spread the message that there are solutions to the world’s most pressing conservation issues and people dedicated to seeing our wild places protected,” Mark explained.

“A mobile phone conservationist is just as important and effective as a field ranger in the African bush!”

WildArk have set their internal goals in the extreme. The mission is to protect as much space for the wild as they can and build a brand people can believe in by telling positive stories of conservation and providing tangible actions they can do to be part of the greater global movement.

“In reality we are just tackling one project at a time and trying to be as impactful as possible,” Mark added.

With Pridelands under their belt and the Tuke Conservancy now underway, WildArk are in the final stages of finalising their third and fourth projects.

With opportunities in Alaska, Zambia, Kenya, Borneo, India and Australia, hopefully we will see WildArk announce their next destination soon!

WILDARK ADVENTURES

Are handpicked for their contribution to the greater good of conservation. Each meets our criteria of low impact eco-tourism, sustainability or has significantly contributed to protection of an ecosystem, species or played a critical role in educational outcomes. Travelling to any one of these locations will not only make you feel good, but will have a positive impact on the protection of precious wildlife and natural resources.

You can choose from one of the following WildArk Adventures.

Botswana Mobile Tented Safaris

Mobile tented safaris allow you to see Africa through the eyes of the early explorers. With camps set up in exclusive wilderness sites that are far from the crowds, you can enjoy nature’s intimacy in an idyllic setting. Working with our partner organisation Lekata Safaris, we offer experiences from 4 days to 13 days through the best locations in Botswana including Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park and more.

 

Bespoke African Safaris with Africa Born

Africa Born is an acknowledged master of privately guided luxury safaris to the Indian Ocean and East Africa’s wilds. With the finest destinations, bespoke adventures, thrilling wildlife encounters and intimate cultural exchanges, no one is better placed to show you East Africa. Africa Born provides guests as many new and exciting experiences as possible, whilst showing them the importance of conserving the heritage of our natural world for future generations.

 

Botswana Photographic Safaris

With over 320 days of sunshine, the world’s largest elephant population and a sprawling, unspoilt wilderness that goes on forever, there is no better place than Botswana for your photographic adventure. We pride ourselves on our ability to get our photographic groups into the best situations for capturing those award-winning photographs. Our photographic guides are photographers themselves and they love nothing more than sharing their passion for photographing wildlife in Botswana’s pristine wilderness areas.

 

Watamu Bay, Kenya – EcoVisitor Sea Turtle Experience

Local Ocean Conservation (LOC) provides people the opportunity to witness the sea turtle conservation work up close through their EcoVisitor programme. The EcoVisitors have a unique “behind-the-scenes” experience of the various marine conservation programmes that LOC runs and see how the education work and community outreach is making a difference in the communities in the greater Watamu area in Kenya.

 

Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

Londolozi is one of South Africa’s original private game reserves. A pillar of global ecotourism and a proudly family-run business. The word Londolozi comes from the Zulu word and means ‘protector of all living things’. The reserve has been lauded internationally for its far-sighted and progressive land and wildlife management, as well as its productive community involvement. The Londolozi emphasis on conservation and a village ethos stands alongside a commitment to luxurious accommodation, fine cuisine and exceptional service. In 1993, Londolozi became the first game reserve in the world to be accorded Relais & Châteaux status. Londolozi is situated on the Sand River at the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park.

 

For more on WildArk visit www.wildark.com

About Kate Webster

Kate Webster is an editor and travel journalist – writer and photographer – who travels the globe in search of vivid imagery and compelling stories that capture the essence of the places she visits. Born out of a life-long love of travel and fascination with the world around her, is Kate’s inspiration behind her writing and photography.
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