South Africa | Rwanda
South Africa | Rwanda
Simon Naylor has been an integral part of &BEYOND’S conservation and guiding teams for the better part of two decades. After completing a degree in nature conservation, Simon joined &BEYOND as a guide at &BEYOND Phinda Private Game Reserve. When he got his first glimpse of the sand forest and plains of Phinda, as well as the Indian Ocean and Lake St Lucia, from the plane that was bringing him to his new home, an enduring love affair was born. Five years later, the exciting opportunity arose for Simon to take &BEYOND’s ranger training programme to East Africa.
Drew holds his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in zoology and environmental studies, and is currently working on his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from the US, Drew has been involved in Akagera National Park since 2015, initially working on his graduate research and then volunteering as a researcher before being employed as conservation research manager in early 2020. Drew hopes to expand scientific understanding of Akagera’s ecosystem, improve monitoring and data collection, and develop and support opportunities for local scientists and students to contribute to Akagera’s conservation goals.
An exclusive journey for big cat fanatics and adventure-seekers, this 10-day itinerary, which follows in the footsteps of 5 lions translocated from South Africa to Rwanda, to reverse a local extinction, is hosted by Simon Naylor, Conservation Manager at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, and Drew Bantlin, Conservation and Research Manager at Akagera National Park.
This limited-edition trip explores the unique wildlife conservation challenges of both destinations and includes a host of hands-on conservation experiences, exceptional accommodation and the awe-inspiring landscapes of both reserves.
&Beyond Phinda was one of the first private game reserves in South Africa and the first in the province of KwaZulu-Natal to introduce lions in 1991, thereby extending the species’ historical range. 24 years later in 2015, the reserve collaborated with African Parks and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on the reintroduction of lions to Akagera National Park, enabling guests visiting the park to witness the lion once again roaming free in the wild of Rwanda. The translocated lionesses were fitted with satellite collars, allowing their movements to be tracked and their behaviour monitored. Akagera National Park has been transformed into a thriving Big Five wildlife destination under the management of African Parks in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board since 2010. With populations of lion and other wildlife species on the rise, and benefits flowing to local communities, the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem is being assured.
This journey allows guests to experience one of the three pillars of &Beyond’s 30 year impact model, Care of the Wildlife, which includes the preservation of endangered species through conservation (of the species and the land on which they exist), translocations and breeding programmes.
4 nights Phinda Private Game Reserve | 1 night Kigali | 4 nights Akagera National Park
*Includes a USD 5,000 group donation toward conservation for the Akagera Management Company
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A groundbreaking collaboration helps restore a 15-year local extinction of lions in Rwanda…
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