From New Yorker and Friends of Africa Board Member Krista Krieger:
Last June, I traveled to South Africa with several of my girlfriends. The trip’s purpose was twofold: we wanted to go on a great wildlife safari but we were also there to give back to the local communities. The year before I had traveled to South Africa with CC Africa on a safari that incorporated game drives with community visits. After witnessing the poverty, I did some due diligence on my return and contacted Friends of Africa—a non-profit partner of CC Africa. I decided to put together a fundraiser with my friends, which raised enough to build classrooms for 220 children and financed several other projects.We were, thus, interested in seeing the fruits of our labor.
In terms of logistics, South Africa is much easier to get to than East Africa if you’re coming from New York City, as it’s just one stop from JFK. My friends and I first flew into Johannesburg where we spent a night at the Saxon Hotel, probably the nicest hotel in which I’ve stayed, while the remaining six nights were in the Bush. Specifically accommodations were at Ngala Tented Camp, a beautiful property near Kruger National Park, and Phinda Private Game Reserve, a really special place in the northern part of the country that comprises seven different eco-systems (including savannah and forestland) and several different lodges (Note: Krieger and her companions stayed at Phinda Rock and Phinda Vlei). This was my fifth trip to Africa and I’ve seen the stunning plains of Botswana and East Africa. Phinda, though, is just as wild, vast and untouched.
Our game drives took place in the morning and all were led by specialist rangers and trackers, who are born in the Bush and seem to have senses you and I don’t. We saw all the Big Five and one morning at Phinda Vlei, six cheetahs were camped outside our tents. In all my trips to Africa, I’ve never witnessed anything like that. Another highlight of the trip was a rhino darting expedition, a special conservation program that involves darting rhinos with a serum and tagging them for identification purposes, at the Phinda Reserve. My friends and I actually rode out into herd of rhinos with the vets—again something I had never experienced before.
Though the safari was phenomenal, the school visits, in the afternoon, were definitely my favorite part of this trip. At this point, after witnessing the village poverty, going on a straight safari would not feel right and I wanted my friends to experience everything that’s going on. When we were handing over the schools, the children were so happy and receptive. Seeing my friends interacting with the kids and learning about the communities—that’s something I’ll never forget.
Read Wild Game and Good Will Hunting, a New York Social Diary article on the trip, written by one of Krista’s friends.
If you’re interested in arranging a philanthropic safari with CC Africa, like Krista’s, contact Indagare at 212-988-2611.