South African Animal Conservation, New Six Senses and The Palms Retreat Samui
Ask an Expert
James Steyn is the nature guide at boutique South Africa safari camp Senalala, inside the Kruger National Park. An influential player in the region’s anti-poaching efforts for over 23 years, he gives us the low-down on endangered animals and sustainable travel in the region.
HK Magazine: What’s the most amazing thing a traveler could see in Senalala?
JS: Most travelers to Senalala arrive in search of the big five: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. From my perspective, however, the most amazing sightings for a traveler are wild dogs and pangolins. Both are very rare and we are fortunate that they're in our area.
HK: What is so special about wild dogs?
JS: Wild dogs are among Africa’s most endangered animals. There are currently an estimated 400-500 wild dogs in the Greater Kruger National Park. They are fascinating creatures.
HK: What’s the greatest threat to wildlife in South Africa?
JS: One of the greatest threats to South Africa’s wildlife continues to be human encroachment on the animals’ habitat. Equally important is the continued fight against poaching. Rhino poaching, for example, is increasing at an alarming rate. In South Africa, an estimated 1,215 rhinos were killed in 2014, compared with 1,004 in 2013 and 668 in 2012. As of April, more than 410 rhinos have been killed in 2015.
Learn more at www.senalala.com.
Come to Your Senses
Eco-resort brand Six Senses has just touched down in China for the first time—the debut comes in the form of Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, opening August 1. It’s located near UNESCO heritage site Dujiangyan, which is known for its ancient irrigation system, its location on the Silk Road and its giant pandas. The hotel plans to accentuate these ecological wonders with wooden interiors, Tesla Model S airport transfers, lots of outdoor courtyards and garden-to-table eating at the hotel’s aptly named Farm2Fork restaurant. About an hour outside of Chengdu, the secluded property is home to 113 guest rooms—some with verandas and others with private pools. The spa, meanwhile, is accessed by way of waterfall for a Robinson Crusoe-style bout of relaxation.
From $2,705. 2 Dong Ruan Rd., Qingcheng Mountain Town, Chengdu, China, (+86) 28-8728-9871, www.sixsenses.com.
Palm it Off
Another one for your wellbeing: new-to-town The Palms Retreat Samui is launching with some healthy itineraries this summer. The outfit’s three- to 10-day wellness programs are all tailor-made according to your goals—unless of course your main ambition is to binge-eat ice cream all week. Travelers will be downing specially crafted herbal smoothies and putting in some serious yoga and meditation time led by GM Ron Veldhuis, who doubles as a health coach. The all-inclusive daily rates include Thai massages, easy access to Cheong Mon beach, a pool and locally sourced meals.
From US$229 ($1,775). Plailaem Soi 6, 59/64 Moo 5 Tambol Bophut, Koh Samui, Thailand, (+66) 9-4579-5065, www.thepalms-retreat.com.