Help keep the forest standing

World July 14, 2017 13:00

By The Nation

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A great option for those who love sleeping under canvas is the newly launched Cardamom Tented Camp in Southwest Cambodia.

It’s eco friendly too, introducing itself with the slogan “your stay keeps the forest standing”. 

The Cardamom Tented Camp aims to sustain a conservation-friendly business that was set up to help keep an 18,000-hectare concession out of the hands of loggers, poachers and sand mining operations. The tract of land in Botum Sakor National Park, part of a vital elephant migration corridor, is managed by Wildlife Alliance, a Cambodia-based organisation involved in wildlife rescue and forest conservation and supported by the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, an initiative of the Minor Group. 

The nature conservation concession includes diverse habitats, seaside mangroves, lowland tropical forests, and triple-tiered canopy in the hills, which reach up to 335 metres elevation, home to Asian elephants, dhole, clouded leopards, hog badgers, sun bears, mouse deer and pangolin. 

Sitting on the bank of the Preak Tachan River, guests can enjoy hiking and river trips with local rangers. While walking, guests can observe wildlife and learn about the mangrove and rainforest ecosystems and the challenges of keeping naturally mature forests standing in face of pressure to develop.

Visitors can also help by replanting indigenous trees in degraded parts of the concession, go kayaking, help rangers on patrols with their camera traps, or engage in other conservation activities.

At the eco-camp, which is a three way initiative between the Minor Group, YAANA Ventures and Wildlife Alliance, a percentage of the revenue will go directly to Wildlife Alliance. Any profits will be reinvested locally. 

“When we tell guests, ‘Your stay keeps the forest standing,’ we 100 per cent mean it,” says John Roberts, the Minor Group’s group director of sustainability and conservation. The Minor Group’s Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation has been fully funding the ranger protection efforts for the past four years at the site.

Bangkok-based YAANA Ventures is responsible for creating the camp, which the design is based on its previous experience running the Banteay Chhmar community tented camp in Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia and the Anurak Lodge at Khao Sok National Park in southern Thailand.

“The tented camp sets an example for the local and national economy as a sustainable alternative to illegal logging, poaching and habitat destruction,” says Willem Niemeijer, chief executive officer of YAANA Ventures. “The combined expertise of the stakeholders makes this a uniquely qualified project.”

Powered by solar panels, the new camp will offer nine comfortable and furnished tents with an en-suite bathroom and a large patio area. The Cardamom Tented Camp can be reached by road from Phnom Penh, while Trat airport and Koh Chang in Thailand is less than a four-hour drive away.

Bookings can be made at from July 25 for stays after September 1.