By helping people experience Africa, its wildlife and its cultures, it can help them appreciate the need to protect the continent. This was the aim of Andrea Radke when she took over the Lion Dog African Safaris from the original founders Mike and Maryanne Donovan in late 2017.
Andrea Radke, who is deeply involved in the business, also lived in Africa before moving to Canada. With a diploma in veterinary technology, Andrea has a unique appreciation for the wildlife and conservation efforts in Africa and see’s their safaris as a unique opportunity to inspire the same appreciation in the hearts of their clients.
COMMUNITY FOCUSSED NETWORK
A small but capable business working from her home in Canada, Andrea employs help locally whenever she needs it. As a tour operator they work with outfits in Africa that emphasise working with the communities, who employ locally and support the economy on their doorsteps.
“This includes buying produce locally, using local labour for building and local suppliers for building materials,” she says, “Giving back to the community starts with supporting these businesses first.”
All of their tours are custom designed and last between 10-20 days and are based on the client’s interests and curiosities. In essence, the client tells them what they really want to see and learn, and then Lion Dog African Safaris will make it happen.
For instance, they had travellers who are psychologists from Canada who mainly worked with psychological trauma patients.
“We organized extended visits with traditional healers in Uganda and Tanzania for them to learn more about the traditional way of dealing with psychological trauma,” Andrea reveals, “These findings were then integrated by them into a research article for the professionals.”
“We do work with the Uganda Rhino Fund and have supported them through donations and by sending clients to track the White Rhinos there.,” Andrea explains, “We have also supported the “Ride 4 a Woman” charity group in Uganda by purchasing their hand made face masks for selling them here in Canada.“
Protective measures are typically integrated by the camps and guides on a local level and vary from place to place. Frequent cleaning and sanitizing of the facilities, temperature checks on arrival, social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing, and mask wearing are the most common measures and are typically used by all outfits.
“We strongly encourage every guest to follow the precautions and we expect the staff to be vigilant in following the cleaning and sanitizing protocols,” Andrea adds.
NEW TOURS FOR 2021
This year, Lion Dog African Safaris are starting to offer Zambia safaris that have an emphasis on walking safaris in the Luangwa River Valley. Andrea is super excited about this especially as she hopes to get first-hand experience of it.
“Personal experience is crucial to giving an accurate description to clients,” she says, “And it’s an area I’m very eager to explore.”
TELEPHONE NUMBER: +1 403 613 3043, 1 888 502 3742 (1888 50 AFRICA)
PRICE/NIGHT: From 350 per person/night