Our favourite conservation-minded holidays

09 April 2019

Challenge your Travel Counsellor to take you on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday involving a wildlife or other conservation project this year - ideal for those who, like us, favour authentic travel that preserves our beautiful planet rather than contributing to its destruction, unique and sometimes off-the-beaten-track experiences, and giving back to the communities and destinations we visit.

With so many options on offer, Travel Counsellors’ combined first-hand experience and pooled knowledge – which comes from being a network of more than 1,800 agents in seven different countries – makes us your first port of call when it comes to finding the right conservation-minded holiday for you. Whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple or family, or in a group, by booking with us you’ll enjoy reassurance in all aspects of your holiday, from financial cover to the services of expert local guides.

Travel Counsellors can also tailor your conservation-based holiday, adding excursions, hotel overnighters or short breaks thanks to our relationship with thousands of hand-picked suppliers and trusted travel providers all over the world.

Elephant Hills, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Elephant Experiences are at the heart of this unique luxury jungle camping experience – you’ll watch the magnificent pachyderms (many of whom worked in the logging industry until this was made illegal in 1989) enjoy a bath in a mud pool before scrubbing them clean using coconut fibres, feeding them one of their daily meals, and watching them play, interact and graze within the natural environment of their large free-roaming pen. Other adventures to enjoy while here include trekking, canoeing and jungle and nature safaris lasting from two to four days.

 

The elephants are roaming around quite freely and they make their way to a nice natural pool where they can play in the water and cover themselves in the mud. When they are sufficiently dirty they make their way to another area for a nice wash. The mahouts work it out so that each family has one elephant to look after so there is no need to worry about missing out on your experience.

With a hosepipe and a big bucket, you get to give the elephants a good clean and then rub them down with coconut husks, which they really enjoy […] When clean or when the elephants have had enough, they are led to another area for their afternoon snack. As they eat 250kg of food per day, this is just a tasty treat!

There is a long table crammed full of food including bananas, pineapples and sugar cane. Each person, including children, has their own cleaver, basket and set amount of food. You chop it up and when you are ready you take your basket of food and go and feed an elephant – roughly two people per elephant.

The Elephant Camp experience is wonderful and certainly not rushed, as you are there for a few hours.

Grant, Travel Counsellor

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa

This luxury eco-reserve with two lodges and two private villas within 1,700 hectares of pristine fynbos (the Cape's unique natural vegetation) are the perfect setting in which to relax while enjoying conservation and nature. Explore the lush local surroundings by 4x4 vehicle safari or on horseback, take excursions along the coast or through the forest with expert guides, and go on whale- and shark-watching trips.

Six Senses Laamu, Laamu Atoll, Maldives

This luxury hideaway with its world-class surfing and spa is not just a pretty face: sustainability and conservation of its incredible environment is in its blood. As well as carrying out valuable research in sea-grass and other conservation, its dedicated marine team – the Maldives’ largest – runs ocean excursions including weekly reef clean-ups and the chance for guests to help identify and photograph green and hawksbill turtles on its snorkel and dive sites. The resort also has its own Earth Lab centre for experimentation and innovation in the fields of self-sufficiency and zero-waste, plus partnerships with conservation charities including the Manta Trust and the Blue Marine Foundation. 

Al Maha Desert Resort, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, UAE

Arabian oryx and gazelles graze in this, the largest area under protected management in the Gulf and the only one of its kind in the Middle East, with extensive ongoing wildlife conservation efforts. In the company of the resort’s on-site field guides, explore the desert by camel or car, try your hand at falconry and archery, and stroll through the unique 'desert forest' of ghaf - the UAE’s resilient national trees, once treated as part of Bedouin families.

COMO Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos

Younger guests at this exclusive private-island resort on a 2km beach within 1,000-acre grounds can plant their own trees in its banana and coconut plantations and discover native animal and plantlife, while for adults there are biking and snorkelling eco-tours. You can also hop aboard a boat to neighbouring North Caicos, the ‘green island’, to explore the historical Wade’s Green Plantation, visit local animal and fruit farms, and learn about the Caicos Pine Tree conservation project. 

Contact your Travel Counsellor for bespoke advice and to book your conservation-minded holiday, benefiting from our unique financial protection and the services of our 24-hour duty office.

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