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To Africa &Beyond: Australian travellers are helping this company do good... here's how

It was billed as an evening of storytelling - as storytellers here at Karryon, that was compelling enough. And even with the last-minute scratching of raconteur, &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge's award winning ranger and doyen Aziza Mbwana, it was exactly that.

It was billed as an evening of storytelling – as storytellers here at Karryon, that was compelling enough. And even with the last-minute scratching of raconteur, &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge’s award winning ranger and doyen Aziza Mbwana, it was exactly that.

But what else would you expect from a 33-year-old experiential travel company that boasts 29 luxury lodges and camps across three continents (Africa, South America and Asia)?

“What brings us here… is a shared passion for travel and travel that makes a difference,” &Beyond B2B Market Manager Kasia Sliwa told guests at an intimate event in Sydney last week. And a few stories of course. 

On her first trip to Australia, Sliwa painted a picture of watching the Great Migration from a hot air balloon over the Serengeti. Her words evoked wonderful imagery.

Lioness on the hunt, Phinda Game Reserve, South Africa
&Beyond
Phinda Game Reserve, South Africa

&Beyond Australia and NZ Sales Representative, South African-raised Norman Harper’s tales revolved around the company’s conservation efforts, a key pillar of its operations. 

“Our tagline is taking care of the land, taking care of the wildlife and taking care of the people,” he said. 

Harper flagged &Beyond’s successful relocation of 100 rhinos from South Africa to Botswana as part of its Rhinos Without Borders initiative.

“It took us five years and we moved 100 rhinos… in little groups of eight rhinos each – US$55,000 to remove a rhino.”

And then this, during the pandemic. 

“Under cloak and dagger in 2021, we moved 50 rhinos from South Africa to Rwanda in one day, with the help of a big 747,” he added.

&Beyond has since gone on to establish ‘Oceans Without Borders’ “because we have a couple of island properties”, among other projects. 

A big market

But while conservation is at the core of everything &Beyond does, it couldn’t do anything without its core business. And a lot of that stems from Australia. 

Speaking to Karryon at the event, Sliwa said business from Australia was roughly on par with that of Europe, so the equal third biggest market for the company, just behind the US and UK. 

But the organisation believes there’s even more room for growth in the Aussie market, says Sliwa, who singles out &Beyond’s Mnemba Island as one of the group’s most in-demand resorts (although it’s currently closed for extensive renovations).

Beyond Africa… and land

Travel Associates exploring the wonders of Chile with andBeyond.
Travel Associates exploring the wonders of Chile with &Beyond.

Whilst &Beyond is known for its African resorts and experiences, it’s also making its mark outside of the Mother Continent.

Last year, it opened its Punakha River Lodge in Bhutan for its first foray into Asia. Before that, the group carved a nice niche with its Vira Vira property in Chile

Next up for the company is the introduction of an expedition yacht in the Galapagos Islands. 

Launching on 17 June this year, the &Beyond Galapagos Explorer is a 38-metre luxury yacht that will operate two 7-night routes in the east and west of the Galapagos. 

The yacht will boast just six suites and cabins, for a maximum of 12 guests, plus two expert guides. 

&Beyond yacht cabin
&Beyond yacht cabin

Harper tells Karryon the yacht already has several family, charter bookings confirmed. And while it might sound pricey, at around $10,000 per person for roughly a week, he says it’s more or less in line with room rates at &Beyond resorts, which normally fetch more than $1,000 per person per night. 

Revenue will also help &Beyond with its plans to extend its Oceans Without Borders initiative to the area to support the Galapagos’ land and wildlife, as well as train and up-skill local residents for employment opportunities. 

“We are absolutely thrilled to finally have the opportunity to bring our brand of responsible tourism to this precious part of the world, which the Ecuadorian government has protected from over-tourism by strictly limiting the number of operating licences issued,” &Beyond Executive Chairman and CEO Joss Kent said at the announcement of the yacht’s launch.

“A uniquely biodiverse environment with the highest number of endemic species in the world, the Galapagos is a natural choice for the further expansion of our portfolio in South America.”