The Conservation Travel Foundation was founded in 2006 by Tristan Cowley, later also a co-founder of Ultimate Safaris. From the onset, the objective of the Foundation was to partner with Conservation Travel to bring about tangible, positive impacts on ecosystem conservation and on the socio-economic development of rural communities in Namibia.
Ultimate Safaris is a significant contributor to the Foundation in both finance and administration services. All safari guests, friends and partners of the company are invited to make contributions to the Foundation and its projects. Safari participants receive a Conservation Travel Foundation information booklet and a donation form in the travel documentation they receive on arrival for their safari. Foundation projects range from support for desert-adapted rhino and predator conservation projects to improved school infrastructure in rural areas.
The early efforts of the Foundation raised a mere few hundred dollars a year. It now raises, and deploys, in excess of US$ 250,000 a year for conservation and rural development projects in Namibia.
Conservation Travel Foundation
Registered at :
The Office of the Master of the High Court, Namibia
Founder, Conservation Travel Foundation and Managing Director, Ultimate Safaris
Tristan comes from a conservation background. He is qualified as a natural resource manager, has published numerous popular articles and scientific papers, and has conducted research in ornithology and into small mammals. He was the first scientist to do an in-depth study of Namibia's only endemic carnivore, the black mongoose. Tristan is also a qualified safari guide and hunting guide in Namibia. He has also served as the chairman of TASA (Tour and Safari Association of Namibia) and vice-chairman of NATH (Namibian Academy for Tourism and Hospitality), as well as on the Executive Board of FENATA (Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations). He is a lecturer for NATH and serves on the Natural Resource Management Advisory Committee of NUST (the Namibian University of Science and Technology). He is also a founder of the NATH Education Trust which has successfully funded the training many Namibian tourism guides. Tristan's passion is clearly for the natural world and its protection.
Co-Founder and Director, Ultimate Safaris
Martin originates from the UK and began his time in Africa during the early eighties. He came to Namibia in 1993 and set up a company called SandyAcre Safaris. The Company concentrated initially on providing high quality private guided safaris for visitors from the UK, but quickly spread into other source markets such as the USA, Switzerland, France and Spain. SandyAcre Safaris also became established as a film services logistical support company - a role Martin has continued in Ultimate Safaris. He served on the TASA Board for many years, and acted as Chief Executive Officer and, later, Chairman of the umbrella body, FENATA. Martin has considerable experience of community development projects in both East Africa and in Namibia, and his knowledge of these projects has been instrumental in helping to define the Foundation’s conservation and development philosophy.
Independent Conservation Consultant
David grew up in Hwange, north-west Zimbabwe, where wildlife was a part of everyday life. After attaining degrees in Agriculture Economics and Wildlife Ecology, he worked as an Ecologist with both the Rhodesia and Zimbabwe Department of National Parks. Since leaving Zimbabwe National Parks in 1988, he has worked as a consultant in wildlife management, protected area planning and rural development throughout southern Africa. David has helped to plan and establish private and community Conservancies; game reserves and safari tourism operations throughout Southern Africa. For a number of years he managed the Sindisa Foundation, a UK registered charity supporting wildlife conservation and rural development in southern Africa. The role of the Sindisa Foundation in Namibia was passed on to the Conservation Travel Foundation in 2010.
Namibia boasts the greatest wildlife recovery story ever told in Africa and all guests travelling with Ultimate Safaris are already making a positive impact as they embark on their life enriching journey, just by visiting Namibia.
The Damaraland Leopard Project was launched in early 2020 and it began as a co-ordinated camera trap study of leopard activity in the area. As a result of the work done by the Conservation Travel Foundation, and the support provided by our partners at Wildlife Protection Solutions, it has now become a full-scale research project.
YOUNG DEFENDERS program embraces the ever-growing desire of families to allow their children a true wilderness experience, while at the same time allowing them to learn about conservation and to be a part of those efforts.
Namibia has faced extremely arid conditions in the North West for several years, and this drought situation has inevitably increased competition for resources and added to the pressure of human lion conflict in the area.
The Conservation Travel Foundation works closely with Save the Rhino Trust to conserve Namibia’s desert-adapted black rhino. A major threat to rhino is poaching, and the Rhino Ranger programme was designed specifically to increase patrols and monitoring of Namibia’s rhino.
In March, 2019, the Lion Recovery Fund formed a new initiative - the Lionscape Coalition. This allows Africa’s top tourism operators to take a lead in supporting on-the-ground conservation work and to encourage their visitors to support efforts to secure the future of wild lions.
In an effort to place a pragmatic value on wildlife, both ecological and economic, the Wildlife Credits Initiative was formed by a number of local and international NGOs, with support from the Conservation Travel Foundation.
Tourism is a primary economic enterprise option for the Conservancies to exploit, and while leases for the establishment of small, high-end lodges and camps are a key element within that option, so is the provision of facilities for self-drive and lower paying tourists - such as rustic campsites.
In 2018 Ultimate Safaris entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with the Doro !Nawas Conservancy to develop a 12 bed camp within the Conservancy, under a similar agreement to that with the //Huab Conservancy.
Ultimate Safaris operates two safari ventures on the private Namib Tsaris Conservancy, namely The Nest @ Sossus and Camp Sossus. The conservation levies paid to the Conservancy help repay the costs of the rehabilitation of the land after years of inappropriate stock farming.
Little Bugs (www.litle-bugs.org) is a free Early Childhood Development Centre and lower primary school, set up by the Namib Sky Foundation, located near Sossusvlei and the Namib Tsaris Conservancy in south-central Namibia.
The Conservation Travel Foundation provided funds for SRT to construct a Rhino Anti-Poaching Unit Camp in the area of prime rhino habitat, to help counter the threat of rhino poaching in the Kunene Region.
The Conservation Travel Foundation also supports SRT with regular contributions that are not assigned to any particular project, but which allow SRT to allocate the funds to meet unspecified operational requirements that arise, or are not covered by other ring-fenced funds.
EST is a Namibian Non-Profit Organisation that focuses its conservation efforts on six critically endangered species - namely, the African wild dog, the pangolin, the dwarf python, the spotted rubber frog, and the Cape Griffon vulture.
When Justine Gaingos, a longtime staff member of Ultimate Safaris, retired, The Conservation Travel Foundation donated her the machinery and house modifications to establish a laundry service in the suburb of Katutura.