“If we want to conserve wildlife areas across Africa our biggest threat is loss of habitat, and we have to find a way that everyone can benefit from conserving the landscape,” explains Nicolas. “In building strong relationships with the surrounding communities, we create a win-win situation for wildlife, habitat, communities and our guests.”
Alongside the concession fees paid to the surrounding communities, Chem Chem also strives to create employment opportunities. Today Chem Chem employs more than 200 locals, most of whom support large extended families in the surrounding villages.
Further, through the Chem Chem Association (CCA) a range of innovative education, conservation and community engagement projects aim to empower and uplift the surrounding rural communities.
“It’s about working together with the local people,” adds Fabia. “You need to be on the same journey. You have to be open, trusting and creative. It takes time, but it shows that conservation and tourism can work hand-in-hand with communities, for the benefit of all.”