Gifts for the Wanderlust Traveler that Actually Give Back
With the holiday season upon us, discover unique gifts, perfect for the wanderlust traveler who enjoys giving back. Whether an art lover, animal obsessed or budget conscious, the following initiatives each give back to the local community and environment.
For the Art Obssesed Safari Lover
With Singita’s first two dedicated contemporary African art galleries now open in Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park, the art concept that is unfolding across Singita's properties is increasingly creating opportunities for guests to engage with the depth of Africa’s artistic heritage. A crucial aspect of this new direction and the spaces they're developing – beyond serving as a platform to show African art by respected and internationally collected artists – is to partner with galleries, studios, artists and curators who share the same passion for elevating African excellence and conserving its natural heritage. All art from these galleries can be shipped worldwide, making this a great opportunity for purpose-driven gifting that supports local African artists and wilderness conservation projects.
More on the galleries and artist collaboration:
As a family-founded business rooted in a deep reverence for Africa’s culture, landscapes and people, Ardmore – a thriving artist community based in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands of South Africa and known primarily for its astounding ceramic works - was a natural choice for collaboration with Singita; both celebrate and are inspired by Africa’s wilderness and the people who live alongside it, and are driven by a desire to develop people’s skills and confidence.
The first project born of this partnership is an artist residency, currently underway at Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa, whereby two Ardmore artists will spend time at the property observing the wildlife and working on pieces inspired by the location, to be sold on completion later in the year through the Boutique & Gallery at the South African lodges. All proceeds will go to the Singita Lowveld Trust, whose primary purpose is to collaborate with local communities and in so doing protect and preserve the wilderness for future generations.
THIRDHOME + MAA Beadwork
This holiday season, THIRDHOME the world’s largest, luxury private travel club for second homeowners, is sharing where to buy some of the most exquisite décor pieces from the most sought after homes in the club like Cottars Mara Private Homestead. Recently featured on the new show Millionaire Holiday Home Swap (available now for streaming via Paramount + UK) Cottars offers guests the opportunity to see Kenya in an authentic but luxurious way and is described as “nothing he has ever experienced in this lifetime” by THIRDHOME’S Founder and CEO Wade Shealy.
Homes like Cottars are proud to display pieces from Maa Beadwork, which are not only beautiful for their unique design and hand craftsmanship, but aim to support the socio-economic empowerment of Maasai Women in Kenya. With products ranging from homeware to artwork to accessories, Maa Beadwork can be customized to match any home’s color scheme and ordered in any quantity to accommodate ones hosting space. Facilitated by The Maa Trust and Maa Beadwork, Louise Cottars, the owner of Cottars Mara Homestead has recently installed a beaded art piece in the villa comprised of half a million Maasai beads, and 400 women power days. (See Tiktok story here) The piece which is proudly displayed at Cottars not only helps to support the local communities, but is easily one of the more upscale custom pieces available for purchase through Maa Beadwork.
Maa Beadwork is available to shop online courtesy of the 494 women, each from different families across seventeen villages who are empowered through training, capacity building, environmentally sustainable income generation and support of household poverty alleviation.
For the Animal Lover Who Has Everything Rhino Notching at Tswalu Kalahari
Tswalu, South Africa’s largest private game reserve, has introduced a new conservation experience focusing on generic data collection of endangered rhino populations of the Southern Kalahari ecosystem that is open to the public. With a booking ahead of time, guests are welcome to join researchers and help to analyze and support the genetic integrity of the protected rhino populations across South Africa. During this intimate wildlife experience, trained trackers and veterinarians set out across the Kalahari to dart young rhinos, ideally between two and three years old. After marking and associating the rhino with a recorded number, the team plants a small microchip under the skin and horns for future identity and security purposes. DNA samples are then collected and later added into a global DNA database that helps track and prevent illegally traded rhino horns.
During this encounter, guests form part of the ground crew and are invited to take part of this microchipping experience that includes helping to monitor the rhinos body temperature and breathing. The private rhino notching experience is $7,265 for 2022-2023 and covers the costs of a wildlife veterinarian, the specialized drugs in the darts, and flying expenses.
The Rhino Notching experience is priced at $7,265 USD and does not include accommodation or meals at Tswalu. This is because it is a direct conservation contribution and will also cover all veterinary costs to properly tag the rhinos.
Tswalu has two main accommodations Motse + Tarkuni. Tarkuni is a private villa with 5 bedrooms (which can sleep 10) while Motse has nine individual legaes/suites that can accommodate 18 adults. (Of the nine legae, three of these are family suites) Guests staying at either property can also book a night to sleep under the stars at Naledi or Malori and further immerse themselves in nature.