Thursday, 08 February 2018 08:51

New initiative launched to better equip the safari industry

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The Safari Collective, launched on February 1, is an initiative aimed at the African safari industry, to help better their businesses through operations and consulting.

Based in Pretoria and Hoedspruit, Limpopo, the Safari Collective has been developed by a team of safari experts, combining their experience. It has been purpose-designed to assist lodges and camps throughout sub-Saharan Africa to reach their full potential, underpinned by responsible, sustainable business models.

These safari advisers will be working together under a single umbrella brand to offer a range of consulting and project management services to the industry, aimed at providing turn-key solutions to various challenges frequently faced by lodge owners and operators.

The Safari Collective Spokesperson, Sharon Gilbert-Rivett, says they take a holistic approach to everything they do, as nothing in the industry works in isolation. “More than any sector in tourism, a successful safari operation depends on teamwork. The Safari Collective becomes part of your team, working with you to take your business to the next level and to introduce solid pillars of sustainability on which your business can thrive.”

From optimising management and operations, the training of staff and guides and improving sales to interior design, website content, marketing and communications management, The Safari Collective specialises in ensuring that people are working as a team sharing a common goal – sustainable success.

Gilbert-Rivett says The Safari Collective will help businesses break the glass ceilings that often hamper growth and expansion.

Members of The Safari Collective are:

Mike Lawrie: Has spent the last decade as a General Manager helping to commercialise new safari offerings and running established lodges, such as Bongani Mountain Lodge (aha group) and River Lodge at Thornybush. He is a graduate of Wilderness Safaris’ lodge management programme. Recently he helped build  an operations camp for Wild Earth’s Safari Live crew in the Masai Mara and is currently overseeing the management and commercialisation of eKhaya Bush Villa in Hoedspruit.

Sharon Gilbert-Rivett: An award-winning travel, tourism and conservation writer and filmmaker who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years. She has also worked as a tour operator and industry representative through serving on the EXCO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa), as the Chairperson for the Gauteng chapter. She has worked with many in the safari industry, such as Great Plans Conservation, Wilderness Safaris and Singita.

Megan Alves: A tour operator and a former safari guide, Alves is behind African Chapter Tours, which specialises in sustainable safari and eco-tourism destinations and activities. She has worked in sales, representation and reservations. Alves is knowledgeable in the three- and four-star market and offers assistance to lodges/camps in this sector.

Associate members are:

Michel Girardin: He heads up Michel Girardin and Associates and is the former GM of Operations and Operations Director for Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve and one of the pioneers of the Open Africa Ribola Art Route. He specialises in training and education. He is a consultant in sustainable development.

Bianca Da Silva: Da Silva is behind the sustainable design company Darkie Designs, specialising in sourcing sustainable décor products and helping safari camps/lodges to realise their vision and maximise their presentation.

For more information, contact Sharon Gilbert-Rivett on +27 83 725 9131, alternatively email at

Source: TU

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