Fifteen years ago, whilst managing a lodge in the Okavango Delta, I hosted a group of high profile South African businessmen, including the late Brett Kebble, and during their stay I realised how out of tune many people are with nature. Throughout the four day stay some of them could not relax, concerned instead about stock market developments and how stocks were performing.
Wolwedans Dunes Lodge. Namibia
A while after that I proposed to the company management that a business center be set up where people can access the internet, but due to the high cost of installation at the time it was deemed unworkable. My reasoning was that this facility could attract business people who otherwise would not travel to Botswana, and the center would allow for business people to spend some time following business trends but still have the nature experience.
The idea is very outdated now, as internet access has become a necessity for safari lodges. The idea was a radical shift in my own ideals at the time.
Leopard Hills. Sabi Sands. South Africa
After the workshop I began to think of how far wilderness travel companies go to make money. I do think we can accept that the noble principals of a wilderness experience no longer exist in the true form, with even leading conservation companies adding commerce and finance to their company policies, to satisfy their investors, and marketing this philosophy as the only way for Africa to survive.