Raw and remarkable: Crooked Compass delves deep into Africa
Cooking with Rwandan villagers, searching for berries and honey with the Ju’hoan tribe, bonding with baby baboons, and wildlife telemetry tracking are some of the experiences featured next year in Crooked Compass’ signature African tours.
The boutique tour operator specialises in authentic cultural travel with conservation and sustainability at its core, while keeping comfort in mind with predominately ‘luxury lodge’ accommodation.
The 10-night ‘Remarkable Rwanda’ (female-only) and 11-night ‘Raw Namibia’ journeys have proven to be life-altering experiences for Crooked Compass travellers according to company founder Lisa Pagotto.
“Our travellers have the opportunity to travel deeper and uncover the side of a destination they didn’t know existed, while supporting communities and projects they visit. They naturally become our ambassadors as their experiences are all they can talk about once they return to ‘normal’ life.”
Leading entrepreneur and Red Balloon Founder Naomi Simson is an advocate for Crooked Compass’ products and ethos. She journeyed with Crooked Compass in 2018 on the Reindeer Tribes of Mongolia tour.
“It’s now a few months since I returned from my trip and on so many levels this was a trip of a lifetime,” Ms Simson said.
“I’m not sure if it was just the trip or the special friendship of discovery with my other eight fellow travellers. For all of us it was the first time we had selected an ‘organised’ expedition.
“I’ve never travelled to Africa so I’m excited to see the new Rwanda and Namibia programs from Crooked Compass – now I just need to plan my calendar!”
Dates: 1 – 12 April 2019; 8 – 19 September 2019
Ideal for: Anyone with a sense of adventure and a moderate level of fitness; nature lovers; conservationists; animal lovers; aspiring and professional photographers.
Accommodation: May include Cheetah Conservation Fund, Nhoma Safari Camp (includes ensuite bathroom with hot water), Old Traders Lodge, N/a’an ku sê (community lodge).
The ultimate conservation experience for those captivated by Africa’s most majestic creatures and who are fascinated by Namibia’s nomadic cultures. This journey will leave an indelible impression on all travellers.
Cat lovers will rejoice on this tour as they contribute to the preservation efforts for cheetahs and leopards, while being educated and enlightened on their place in the ecosystem. At the Global Leopard Project, you’ll have the opportunity to head out to try to locate one of these magnificent creatures; you may even find yourself downloading data from their GPS collars.
Visit the vast, remote Khaudom National Park and witness elephants, giraffes, antelopes, lions and spotted hyenas. In the Erindi Private Game Reserve, travellers can add rhinos and wild dogs to the list – the latter being one of the most endangered species in the world – then spend the afternoon relaxing by a busy waterhole.
Participants will have the option of ‘telemetry tracking’ with a qualified guide, where they’ll observe tagged animals on the ultimate game drive. Walk with tamed caracal cats and be captivated when you get up close and personal with beautiful baby baboons. This is an avid photographer’s dream.
Visit Nhoma Safari Camp and participate in captivating daily activities such as traditional games while enjoying the raw landscape and connecting with nature. Your stay in the Camp allows the community to generate income, which in turn buys food and supplies not provided by the surrounding environment.
Spend time with the Ju’hoan tribe and learn about traditional bush medicines, rope making, and survival techniques that have been handed down through generations. You will also explore the land in search of berries, tubers and honey.
Join the San Bushmen to make a fire and listen to their stories about the stars, animals and the universe. Discover plants used for medicinal purposes before joining in traditional dances and singing.
Dates: 8 – 18 Oct 2019
Ideal for: Women-only with a moderate level of fitness; animal lovers; those with an interest in other cultures, conservation and women’s rights.
Accommodation: May include Hotel Muhabura, WOC Tents (3-Star rural community ensuited tents), Heaven Boutique Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Gisovu Tea Estate, Emeraude Lake Kivu Resort, The Retreat, local homestay.
This women’s only tour is one of Crooked Compass’ most inspiring and memorable itineraries, not just for its unique wildlife experiences, but because of Rwanda’s remarkable story in resilience and re-building.
Driven by strong female leadership, Rwanda has evolved from ruin to being one of the most progressive countries in East Africa – it has the greatest female representation in national parliament in the world.
On the Remarkable Rwanda tour, you’ll be immersed in the daily lives of Rwandans, trying your hand at sisal basket weaving or shopping for ingredients at colourful markets before learning to cook in a local’s home. Choose from village activities such as traditional construction, cow-dung art, banana juice making, and candle dipping and hive making.
Learn from the inspiring women at co-ops and social enterprises, observing sustainable farming practices and creating local produce such as organic cheese. Visit the Faith Foundation, which has pioneered a sponsorship initiative for children to pursue education and create their own future. Be challenged and inspired by the Gisozi and Ntarama Genocide memorial sites.
Observe a traditional fisherman’s experience in action and visit the Gisovu Tea Estate to learn about planting, picking and production.
See the rare and magnificent mountain gorillas including a behind-the-scenes interaction with Dian Fossey’s Gorilla Doctors and a 3-5 hour trek. Embark on a boat safari of Lake Ihema and spot the hippos of Akagera, crocodiles and many of the 423 bird species found in the park, followed by a game drive for the chance to see giraffes, water buffalo, waterbuck, baboons and zebras. On top of all this, take a chimpanzee trek to see these playful animals in their natural habitat.
Enjoy a local dance troupe performance then – if you’re feeling festive – learn some of the steps yourself in costume. At the end of the stay your host and interested locals of neighbouring communities engage in a traditional get-together party called ‘ubusabane’.
For further information, terms and conditions visit www.crooked-compass.com.
About Crooked Compass
Crooked Compass is a boutique tour operator uncovering the world’s best-kept secrets through small-group touring and customised itineraries. Founder Lisa Pagotto created the company to inspire, educate and encourage travellers to understand responsible tourism by providing culturally immersive experiences, supporting local communities and projects. Travellers see the destination through the eyes of a local, uncovering a side they didn’t know existed.
Sustainable travel – the Crooked Compass way
Being a sustainable traveller means you are aware and focused on making a positive impact when you travel through a local community, the environment you are exploring as well as economically supporting the region where you travel. It’s all about minimising your ecological and cultural footprint.
How? Simple things like respecting a local culture and being willing to learn more about it, learning basic words to help you get around and make new friends, purchasing locally-made products from bazaars, shops and markets instead of from large supermarkets and dining in local eateries.
Being conscious about your decisions such as paying a little more and buying from a local artisan, which could be an investment in a high-quality rug that was created with ancient techniques, also helps to preserve local craft traditions.
Crooked Compass empowers its travellers to change the world, locally and globally, achieving transformative outcomes for themselves and the local communities and initiatives they take part in.
By partnering with Greenfleet, Crooked Compass aims to provide genuine and lasting environmental benefits with its carbon offset program.