You may not instantly link Indagare CEO Melissa Biggs Bradley to photography, and thus might be asking yourself why she was chosen as a judge for the Africa in Focus photo competition… Well, as our dedicated supporters know, Wilderness is all about conservation, and in this vein Melissa is a great asset to our competition, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge on Africa and sustainability , ensuring African wildlife numbers and cultures remain healthy for many generations to come.
What Is One Of Your Favourite Images Of Africa (Of Your Own, Or Of A Wildlife Photographer) And Why?
One of my favourite moments captured was a photo I took of a baby elephant flapping his ears and trumpeting at our vehicle, trying to intimidate it, as he had clearly seen big bulls do. It was adorable… but I also love the iconic animal images of Nick Brandt and Peter Beard.
Do You Have Anything Exciting On The Horizon That You Can Tell Us About?
I am scheduled to take a group to Antarctica this winter. It will be my first visit and my seventh continent, and I am so excited to be going to a place so unlike any other I have ever visited. Hopefully the borders to Chile or Argentina will open so that we can board our ship.
How Do You Prepare For A Big Trip?
My journeys always start with a lot of preparation. I love reading up on a place and doing research. I think it is crucial to have context and to understand the history and current events of a place. What are the challenges facing people? What are their customs? What is their background? The more you know in advance, the more you get out of the experience. I like to travel really light, so I bring essentials like medicine and chargers and comfortable shoes, but only carry-on, so neutral clothes that are easily washed. And I prepare to be truly out of the office so I can be present where I am.
Conservation, Community and Philanthropy
I Believe You Have A Book Launch Coming Up. Tell Us More About The Book?
As I mentioned, my book Safari Style: Exceptional African Camps and Lodges is out now, and I hope that it will inspire people to take safaris, which are desperately needed at this moment, because so many national parks, reserves and communities depend on tourism revenue that has disappeared during the time of COVID. There is truly no better example of the positive power of tourism than the role that safari camps and lodges have played in protecting wildlife and wild places, and empowering communities. In the past 30 years, safari operators like Wilderness, and others, have led the way in demonstrating how responsible travel can benefit communities and the environment, and the book tells that story.
All of the proceeds from my sales will be donated to our Indagare Impact fund which focuses on conservation as well. So whether you buy a book or take a safari, you will be helping fund conservation – and I hope people will do both.
Wilderness Safaris' Mombo is one of the camps featured in Melissa's book
Tell Us About Any Conservation Or Community Initiatives You Support, Run Or Started.
I am on the boards of Reach the World, which brings virtual travel experiences into public school classrooms, and the Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST), which promotes “responsible travel where local communities thrive, and steward cultural resources and biodiversity”. Both organisations adhere to the philosophy that the great Baba Dioum, which is “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." Since I founded Indagare, we have always donated a percentage of our revenue to initiatives that support communities, culture and the environment, and a few years ago we started the Indagare Impact Fund which works closely with the Wilderness Trust as well.
Let’s plan your next journey
When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.