Yesterday I was clever – so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise – so I am changing myself.’

-Rumi  

The words of 13th-century Persian poet Rumi transcend time, religion and gender and seem most appropriate at a time when the empowerment of women is changing the values and policies that shape our world. As a company, we are enormously proud of our predominantly female team, who raise the benchmark every day in the areas of travel and conservation. One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is bearing witness to the ways in which the industry is creating equal opportunities that encourage women to become more influential within their own communities and empower them to make decisions that impact positively upon their lives. We’ve seen firsthand how extending women’s social, economic and political rights, improves the quality of life for all.

From the start, ROAR AFRICA has made it our mission to empower African women and girls through tourism. Whether contributing towards education and training or in supporting those properties that create equal job opportunities – we firmly believe that empowered women, empower others. However, we have a great mentor in Pat Mitchell our board member, a living legend and a pioneer in the media industry whose wisdom guides us on a daily basis, particularly in the areas of social change and female empowerment.

‘Our dreams or the impact we hope to make in the world – mean nothing if we don’t know ourselves,’ says Pat, who throughout her career has used the media as a force for social change. It was Pat’s idea to create a women’s empowerment retreat.  Together, we have created a highly specialized learning journey and six-night safari in Africa hosted by an all-female team of pilots, guides, trackers, conservationists, chefs and hospitality staff who have overcome the industry ‘norm’.

The Women’s Empowerment itinerary will kick off in the semi-desert of South Africa’s Karoo June 11 to 16 this year. The Karoo is a fitting place to start with the Girls College of Tourism and the Tracking Academy where students from destitute communities are enabled through their education in these programs, to change their life and their families lives forever. It is one of the most intimate opportunities you will ever get  inside the engine of Africa’s tourism. It is an example that needs replication throughout the continent, so much so that one can’t help feeling how obvious this is and how little is needed to affect a life for the better. In addition to all this, the area also offers some of the best stargazing in the world and access to some of the world’s oldest pre-dinosaur fossils. The Karoo is an ancient place of awe-inspiring space, geological phenomena and energetic power where you can succumb to the silence of this aged earth whilst opening yourself up to yet another of our incredible learning journeys. The trip will culminate at Tswalu in the semi-arid savannah of the Kalahari, a true wilderness area that is home to a proliferation of migratory birds and animals where you will get the opportunity to track black rhino on foot and visit ancient archaeological sites with rock carvings created by Bushmen some 380,000 years ago. A highlight of the journey will be a helicopter trip around the reserve with a member of the conservation team who will explain why Tswalu by virtue of its size is recognized as a valuable reservoir of genetic diversity and a research site for understanding the conservation management of endangered species.

Within this powerful landscape you will travel with and hear insights from a dynamic group of women speakers who will offer intimate access to the thoughts, inspirations and vision of some of the most inspiring women of our time:

Christine Schuler Deschryver – the director of V-Day Congo (a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls) and City of Joy (a revolutionary community for the survivors of violence in the DRC), Christine has devoted her life to alerting the world to femicide and rape against women in the DRC. She was named The Guardian’s Women of the the Year in 2011.

Megan Fallone, an entrepreneur, designer and mountaineer and the CEO of Barefoot College International, an incredible organization that supports women to connect rural communities to solar, water, education, professions and advocacy. Megan received the global Hillary Laureate for 2018 in recognition of her work.

– Catalina Escobar, a social entrepreneur and philanthropist whose work has brought healthcare, education, entrepreneurship, psychosocial intervention and healthcare to tens of thousands of children in Cartagena and provided more than 2,000 teenage mothers with counseling, education and job training. Catalina was included in the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012 and received an order of Merit from her country for her work.

– Lindsey Taylor-Wood is the founder and CEO at The Helm, a venture fund that invests in female-founded start-ups, putting capital behind the next generation of leaders in technology and innovation and making it easy to invest in women by bringing you the latest female-founded products and companies.

Our series of talks will be delivered as part of an exciting itinerary of thought-provoking, exploratory experiences designed to take you outside of yourself and allow for personal growth. As always, accommodation will be of the utmost luxury and we will be the very first guests to stay in the newly redesigned Tswalu Lodge. Here your every essential will be catered to from spa treatments to yoga classes. If you’re interested in joining us on this incredible learning journey, please email welcome@roarafrica.com, Limited spaces are still available.