We, Tara and Alessandra, met in the jungles of Ranthambhore, India, pursuing our passions of wildlife and conservation. We then met Alon when he guided us through the Congo Basin rainforest in the Central African Republic. We all take the environmental and social impacts of travel seriously and seek to be conscious in all that we undertake.
Every trip planned by Karvansarai contributes directly to organisations and individuals with a similar commitment located where our traveller is visiting. Each itinerary contains information on how to be a more ‘conscious traveller’ and opportunities for our travellers to get involved further. Read more on Conscious Travel.
There are numerous innovative grass roots projects across the globe led by wonderful and inspiring individuals making the world we live in such a special place. Heroes are all around us, quietly doing work on a small scale yet creating a huge impact. We would like to help tell their stories and support their initiatives.
Thanks to our travels we have been fortunate to participate in and contribute to a number of these activities; some of which are described below. We are working on several other projects concerning our wildlife, natural and social environments. As they develop, we share them with you and hope you will partake in them as well.
Ultimately we are striving to enrich all living species existence by rewilding our world and connecting to nature.
We use our photographs to create awareness and raise funds for conservation. Please email us for permissions to use our photographs. We’ve granted licenses to artists, galleries, fundraising campaigns, travel media, researchers and wildlife foundations.
At Karvansarai, we strive to minimise our carbon footprint. When we are limited in achieving this due to the absence of suitable alternatives e.g. air travel, we seek to counterbalance our emissions with organisations such as Ancient Forest Guardians. AFG endeavour to protect underfunded primary growth forests of significant natural heritage. Current projects include the 10,000 hectare Alarachi Cloud Forest in Bolivia in partnership with Prometa and 62,000 hectares of the Dzanga Sangha Special Reserve moist forest in the Central African Republic in partnership with Sangha Lodge.
Sangha Lodge, located in the Dzanga Sangha Protected Area, in the Congo Basin rainforest of the Central African Republic is home to this vital pangolin project. The team are dedicated to pangolin research; rehabilitating rescued injured and orphaned pangolins and returning them back to the wild; creating employment opportunities and awareness in the local communities. During the worldwide pandemic of 2020, Alon and Alessandra were locked down here for 7 months. They nursed back to health and released, Pengue, a white bellied pangolin who suffered permanent neurological damage from a machete blow to his head. Despite the pandemic they were able to raise $3000 for the project from generous donors around the world. They were also involved in the care of Masika, a rescued baby black bellied pangolin that was starting her journey of self-releasing as they left.
Our hearts go out to Sandi, Morula and Jabu. We are devastated by the passing of beloved Doug. He was an incredible soul who dedicated his life to educating about, protecting and caring for elephants. In this video from November 2019 Alessandra asked Doug what can we all learn from Elephants for the #oneactwednesday campaign. His message for us was to tread lightly, live more like elephants in harmony with our planet. May you rest in peace Doug and live on in your herd and the many people around the globe you have touched deeply. Sandi is now leading the difficult journey of caring for the future of Jabu and Morula as well as continuing the work of educating children in the local community to prevent further human wildlife conflict. We firmly believe education is the solution and will continue to support your critical work.
It all started with a FAM trip organised by Craig Glatthar from Wilderness Safaris, a great friend and true inspiration. On my first trip to Zimbabwe, arriving the day of the ‘coup’ that wasn’t a ‘coup’ and the end of Mugabes reign, I brought 50 pairs of shoes to very special children of the Ngamo Village. These shoes expand 5 sizes and last for years!
The custodians of the magical wild! We have had the privilege of experiencing the invaluable work of Children in the Wilderness. These kids and everyone involved are awesome. We support them and hope you join us too. Let’s spread the word and be the change by facilitating sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of children living in sensitive wilderness and wildlife areas. Recently, on our first ‘Conscious Journey’ Cristina and Alessandra spent the morning practicing yoga and reading with the children of the Jabulani Primary School in Zimbabwe. Our Karvansarai Traveller Cristina recognized that some of the kids uniforms were in bad condition, torn or too small which most likely would affect their self-esteem and performance. This was especially noticeable compared to other students whose families could provide them with new uniforms. She then thoughtfully and generously went on to donate new uniforms for all the kids, two of which are pictured here.
Alon and Alessandra live nomadically and seek to engage with local communities on their travels. They have collaborated on trash cleanups, pangolin awareness campaigns, and other grass roots environmental and social projects.
Most recently they created a directory of organisations concerned with the social and environmental welfare of Lamu, Kenya, with portrait artist Vanessa Garwood and Hannah Evans from Takataka Foundation. They fell in love with the island and sought to create opportunities for other travellers to participate in the projects and to grow synergies between the organisations.
We value community and believe that even when you travel you can become a part of a community, enriching your experience and that of others.
The no bs, walk the talk, sincere and committed Sam Van Leer dedicates his work to bringing the natural habitat back to the places where we live so we can all live in paradise. Sam made Alessandra’s 35th birthday wish come true – to put to action the change the world needs to live in harmony with our natural environment. Alessandra with her friends and family spent the day with Sam clearing invasive plant species like the Brazilian Red Pepper tree which is toxic to the Miami mangrove environment. They finished the day by each planting a mangrove. Friends and family near and far participated in the day from doing beach clean-ups, compost lessons, planting trees, inspired by this day. Instead of birthday gifts, everyone gave their time in volunteering and Alessandra made a donation to the Guild on everyone’s behalf.
We definitely have a soft spot for Big Cats and a true love for Tigers. Sadly through loss of habitat and human conflict many of these majestic cats are close to extinction. As few as 3,000 tigers, 7,500 snow leopards, 10,000 cheetahs, and 30,000 lions likely remain in the wild. For several years, every trip booked through Karvansarai, we made a donation to this initiative. We thank you for helping us support a cause so close to our heart.
When Alessandra was 18 she took a gap year between high school and university to volunteer and travel in India. While she worked at the Kripa Foundation the holistic and alternative approach to rehabilitate those afflicted with chemical dependence left a deep impression on her. Many of the employees were recovering alcoholics themselves serving as a role model for recovery and sobriety. She recalls mornings meditating, practicing yoga and joining in on laughter therapy in the beautiful setting of Anjuna, Goa. Kripa Foundation welcomes proposals for collaborative work with respect to services, training and research from other organizations working in the field of substance abuse and HIV-AIDS.
This is a personal project by filmmaker Brent Foster profiling a series of people while they’re still doing what they do best… living their legacy. Foster decided to start this project after missing out on the chance to tell the story of a man from his hometown who dedicated his life to helping others. This project is dedicated to Frank and the many others who live selflessly and truly impact those around them. Check out the site to watch the inspiring stories Brent and his team have beautifully filmed.
Many of our travel partners participate in this programme. We will always share the details in your final itinerary so you can bring much needed supplies to the communities you visit.
Children of the Forest is focused on child protection, health and education of orphaned, abandoned, trafficked, abused or otherwise disadvantaged, stateless Mon & Karen children in Sangkhlaburi zone of the Thai/Burma border. This project started from very humble beginnings and is now contributing to the lives of over 1000 children. Alessandra’s sister, Natasha has volunteered as a yoga teacher here and we continue to support the foundation.
On our wanderings around the world we have discovered many creative projects in the field of conservation. We believe that lessons can be learned through the exchange of knowledge and experience, and successful projects can be replicated in different contexts. We would therefore like to create a platform for this exchange to take place.