When I started the business of ROAR AFRICA 16 years ago, my main reason for bringing guests to Africa was to give them an insider’s experience of a continent that I have been connected to for 11 generations and love deeply. And while that obviously remains a major part of what ROAR AFRICA does, today my reasons for being in this business are more deep-rooted and altogether much more urgent. Namely, the protection of Africa’s last remaining wildlife and wilderness areas by way of mind-shifting journeys that work to conserve, educate, inform and empower.
Meeting journalist, creative, entrepreneur, free diver, environmental advocate and travel influencer Chelsea Kauai was something very rare and special, for she embodies the very essence of what we try to imbue in every journey we create.
Making meaningful connections
Although now based in Cape Town, South Africa, Chelsea was born and raised in Hawaii, in a place where the harmonious living of island culture set her up for life. “Having adequate time and access to nature early on was a gift in that it has shaped how I view, treat and engage with the world,” she says. “There are so many factors that have an impact on who we become as people and I feel like Hawaii’s natural environment was a third parent to me as it gave me an innate understanding of the importance of sustainability.” I feel much the same about my upbringing in Zimbabwe, for it is there that I learnt that how we treat nature is ultimately how we treat ourselves.
Chelsea’s emotional intelligence, curiosity and intuition, not to mention her appetite for courageously going where life takes her, is inspiring. Her love of storytelling and the mindfulness with which she approaches all she does were easily married with the spectacular destinations and truly incredible hospitality partners with whom we are privileged to work. “When people travel to Africa, they immediately think of animals,” says Chelsea. “And of course, they exert a truly powerful pull, but at this particular juncture in our world’s history, I wanted to dig deeper and explore how and why they still exist.”
Telling Kenya’s story
And so, for nine days, Chelsea traveled with us to two of my favorite properties in Kenya, namely Segera Retreat on the Laikipia Plateau, a former denuded farmland that has been restored; and Angama Mara in the Mara triangle, where her profound appreciation for the spectacle of nature was matched only by a sense of awe at the quiet fortitude of those who make sure it stays that way.
As her trip is the subject of a mini documentary called Seeing the Unseen Stories - On Safari in Kenya, which I am so proud to share with you here, I won’t ruin your viewing pleasure by giving away any more than I have already. Except to say that Chelsea’s concise observations and the meaningful connections she made on her journey speak to the passion, dedication and wonder of those guides, trackers and conservationists who work tirelessly and selflessly for the greater good. Much like the great migration, where it takes just one wildebeest to move and shift the whole herd, Chelsea sheds light on the courage of those female guides, trackers and conservationists who are paving the way in this male-dominated field.
She credits travel as an accelerator for growth in her own life and is also aware of how, pre-Covid, her own heart had become somewhat jaded by always skimming the surface of the very many beautiful places she had visited.
“There’s so much depth that comes from a life lived consciously and with intent,” she says. “Seeing this here in Kenya with the guides, trackers and anti-poaching units who have dedicated their lives to conservation, has made me strive to get there too. After all, bravery is contagious. And the act of showing each other what is possible is what really matters.”