The Long Run Welcomes New Fellow And Group Members
We’re delighted to welcome three new Fellow Members and one new Group Member demonstrating that a commitment to sustainability and conservation continues, despite tourism’s Covid-19 pause.
The Long Run brings together some of the world’s most committed and inspiring nature-based travel businesses. Its 41 members across 23 countries collectively help to conserve over 20-million acres of biodiversity, more than 30,000 plant and animal species, and improve the lives of 750,000 people through tourism.
The Long Run carefully selects members according to their sustainability credentials, so if you’re looking for a collection of lodges that make travel count, look no further. Once part of The Long Run, each member begins a supported 4C journey, operating according to a balance of conservation, culture, community, and commerce.
Fellow Members are travel destinations and lodges that own, manage, or significantly influence areas of biodiversity. They are committed to a continuous journey of improvement towards excellence in sustainability and the 4Cs — Conservation, Community, Culture, and Commerce. Each member is supported by The Long Run team and network of experts in its progress towards the prestigious and GSTC-recognised Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER®) standard.
Join us in welcoming the three newest Fellow and Group Members:
Batu Batu, Malaysia
This island retreat, set within Malaysia’s protected Johor Marine Park, has a deep respect for nature. Batu Batu believes that private sector tourism can act as a catalyst for positive change through the preservation and regeneration of its rich but fragile biodiversity. As evidence of this conviction, Batu Batu founded and provides core funding for Tengah Island Conservation (TIC), a biodiversity management initiative dedicated to the research, rehabilitation, and regeneration of the surrounding natural environment. Batu Batu is home to over 300 plant species, protects endangered green, and critically endangered hawksbill turtles, and monitors the health of over 400,000 sq meters of coral reef, which is home to 235 fish species.
Meaning rocks in the local Malay language, Batu Batu is a laid-back retreat set among coconut trees on the uninhabited island of Pulau Tengah. Constructed by local carpenters using traditional techniques in the Malay vernacular style, the 20 one-bedroom and two two-bedroom villas sit within the island’s wild greenery in a way reminiscent of a Malay kampung or village. Guests can spend days exploring the island’s eight white sand beaches, hiking through the jungle, kayaking around the island, snorkeling on the house reefs, or learning about the island’s fragile ecosystems from the Tengah Island Conservation scientists.
Batu Batu aims to tread lightly, source sustainably, behave responsibly, and support the local economy wherever possible. Proud winners of the WTM Responsible Tourism silver award 2019 under the category Best for Wildlife and Nature Conservation, Batu Batu believes this is a never-ending journey, and that you have to be in for The Long Run.
Samara Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Samara Private Game Reserve is a 67,000-acre conservation passion project located in the Great Karoo, South Africa’s vast heartland. Founded in 1997 by Mark and Sarah Tompkins, Samara has pioneered land-use change in the region, painstakingly restoring 11 former livestock farms into a born-again wilderness. Today, Samara is run by two generations of the Tompkins family, whose ultimate vision is to expand the conservation ethic beyond the reserve’s boundaries, working with local stakeholders to create a 3-million-acre conservation landscape.
Samara is extraordinarily diverse, representing five of South Africa’s nine vegetation biomes in a semi-arid Global Biodiversity Hotspot. Seventy mammal species and 225 bird species roam the reserve, including the first cheetah, lion, elephant, and black rhinoceros reintroduced into the area in over a century. Samara actively engages in rehabilitating degraded landscapes, managing water catchments, and regenerating carbon sinks, all the while functioning as a ‘living laboratory’ for researchers from around the world.
Accompanying this conservation commitment is a strong sense of social responsibility. Having launched an ecotourism venture in 2005, Samara now provides employment for 70 people, 76% of whom are from the local community, and organises an annual sports tournament for 700 youth. The reserve also functions as a training site for the Tracker Academy, an NGO that trains 16 students per year in the preservation of indigenous knowledge.
Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa
The word Tswalu means ‘a new beginning’ reflecting Tswalu Kalahari’s vision to restore and conserve its natural environment and to empower and celebrate its community. The large-scale conservation project protects the region’s unique biodiversity and safe-guards a number of rare and endangered species. Tswalu has created a model of conservation supported by ecotourism so that it can be sustained indefinitely; its holistic approach corrects past mistakes, laying the groundwork for long-term ecological and economic viability. Tswalu is now poised to enter a new decade of progress, aspiring to even higher levels of sustainability.
The Tswalu ecotourism model recognises that the people of the greater Kalahari are an integral part of the ecosystem, and crucial to solving the conservation challenges we all face. It celebrates the ancient history and culture of the Kalahari and shares this with visitors from around the globe. Central to Tswalu’s purpose is to share economic opportunities with people from the surrounding communities by providing careers and enhanced health and education services.
Tswalu Kalahari’s expansive landscapes have long drawn travellers seeking multi-layered, immersive safaris. Exclusive access to this wilderness is a privilege that far outweighs more conventional notions of luxury. From the ancient quartzite Korannaberg mountains to the southern Kalahari’s grassy, red sand dunes rippling away to the horizon, Tswalu offers what discerning travellers crave most—space and time. This is a place to recalibrate and reconnect, both with nature and yourself.
African Bush Camps, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia
We’re delighted to welcome African Bush Camps as a Group Member of The Long Run. The company will be mainstreaming the 4Cs approach throughout operations, and will soon select several properties to start a Fellow Membership journey.
African Bush Camps have 15 tented camps and lodges throughout Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. The company was founded by professional guide Beks Ndlovu who has a passion for preserving remote lands and providing guests with low impact experiences in untouched wilderness areas. Between them, ABC’s guides have over 620 years of experience, and it’s this innate knowledge and passion for the land and wildlife that sets the companies vision.
The African Bush Camps Foundation is committed to sustainable development, through creating opportunities that empower rural communities located in vulnerable wildlife areas in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Zambia. The foundation works to create opportunities through education, community empowerment, community infrastructure, and conservation. All community work starts and ends with insights and expertise from the community so that existing skills and talents are nurtured. Projects include a Hwange Skills Hub in Zimbabwe, Vuche Vuche Craft Cooperative in Botswana, and the Mola Wildlife Coexistence Programme in the Mola Community of Zimbabwe’s Bumi Hills.
ABC’s conservation work also focuses on community empowerment. By coexisting with wildlife and using the natural world to grow crop yields, protect livestock, and use resources to preserve the environment, communities can improve their quality of life while better protecting wildlife. Projects include a Lion Guardian programme and several conservation school clubs.