50 days. 4 countries. 9000km.
An all-women South African expedition will set out on a conservation mission in September to raise awareness about human-wildlife conflict. Headed by KZN adventurer and humanitarian, Carla Geyser, the Journeys with Purpose: Rise of the Matriarch expedition will see an all-women crew traversing South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe armed with purpose and passion.
Geyser, the founder of the NPO, Blue Sky Society Trust, has been involved in conservation and community upliftment initiatives since 2012. “I firmly believe that one person can make a difference in this world and I want to be that person,” she says.
The 45-year-old Durban resident earned a solid reputation as a conservation trailblazer in 2016, when she led South Africa’s first all-female expedition from South Africa to Kenya to help stem the tide of poaching.
The Journeys with Purpose: Elephant Ignite Expedition brought together 13 women who embarked on a 100-day journey to Kenya, raising funds and awareness among communities along the way. The team returned home triumphant, having covered more than 15 000km, visited 37 wildlife organisations, distributed 20 000 educational booklets to children, and raised nearly R300 000 for various conservation projects.
Replicating this magic formula, Geyser now plans on taking her conservation message across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe on a nearly two-month 4x4 journey that will combine adventure travel with ecotourism fundraising.
The team will engage with local communities especially children on the human-wildlife issue and distribute 30 000 educational booklets, connect with anti-poaching groups, visit conservation groups and schools, and meet with incredible women who are doing remarkable things at a grassroots level to assist in conservation efforts.
Funds raised during the expedition will benefit four causes, namely, Elephants Alive (South Africa), Rare and Endangered Species Trust (Namibia), Eco-Exist Project (Botswana) and the Soft Foot Alliance Trust (Zimbabwe).
While the Rise of the Matriarch team is preparing to leave in September, it’s not too late for business, organisations or individuals to get involved. “This is an excellent opportunity for citizens and corporates to make a meaningful difference,” explains Geyser.
“The expedition is more than a project that’s fuelled by passion; it’s an initiative by an all-women conservation team of conservation “she-roes” who are determined to do our bit to help save our piece of the planet.
As noble as this undertaking is, we can’t do it alone. We need support.”
Pictured above: Blue Sky Society Trust founder, Carla Geyser, with her mentor, Kingsley Holgate. After heading up South Africa’s first all-women conservation expedition from SA to Kenya in 2016, Carla is now gearing up for another women-only journey into Africa, combining adventure travel with ecotourism fundraising.