Travelers can contribute to ethical consumerism by making informed choices, said CEO of Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Jon Cloete.

Cloete pointed out that the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) had predicted that last year’s statistics for international tourist arrivals worldwide would show growth and be accompanied by the “growing demand for triple-bottom-line benefits”.

“Conservation in South Africa is a perfect example of the power of choice,” said Cloete, adding that the only source of revenue for Shamwari was tourism.

“Tourism is what funds conservation like that undertaken at Shamwari. Every rand spent contributes to a business model that absorbs the cost of wildlife conservation and rehabilitation.” 

Cloete said over the past 25 years the project at Shamwari had restored much of the ecology and attracted or re-introduced an abundance of indigenous game and birdlife, from the Big Five to the humble ox-pecker and the flightless dung beetle.

The Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, where sick and injured wild animals are treated before being released back into the wild opened last year and a long-term partnership with the Born Free Foundation provides a permanent home for rescued African big cats.

Cloete described the rehabilitation operation as essential to Shamwari’s success, and the recognition the game reserve has received for it, such as the acceptance of Shamwari into Virtuoso’s exclusive portfolio of luxury travel partners.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve has been accepted into Virtuoso’s exclusive portfolio of luxury travel partners, which comprises more than 1 800 preferred suppliers in 100 countries. Virtuoso agencies sell more than US$26.4 billion annually, making the network the most significant player in luxury travel.