Our mantra? Learn about the world - and have a damn good time doing it.
John Muir, aka the Original Dirtbag, inspired the Sierra Club's Outings, mountaineering trips that built passionate constituencies for America's threatened places. He believed a person had to get to know a place to care about it. This idea takes on added meaning when it comes to Africa, the world’s most misunderstood continent. When the West interferes with African affairs, the results are often disastrous, and this is no less true when it comes to the environment.
It's time that we understood Africa. A new version of the Great Game is roaring across the continent. In semi-arid Kenya and Tanzania, big dams and coal plants recall the industrializing of the American West. Madagascar, the world's greatest storehouse of convergent evolution, is under siege by multinational mining companies and, even worse, oil companies hell-bent on fracking.
We introduce you to experts - conservationists, scientists, reporters - who give you a context for what you're seeing, whether it's a lion napping in the Maasai Mara, or a giraffe whose markings identify it to conservation biologists tracking population declines. (Yes, giraffes are facing extinction, too.)
To move from information to action, we found the answer in someone distinctly old school: Kenyan paleontologist and conservationist Richard Leakey. A decade ago, Leakey started Wildlife Direct, a blogging website connecting grassroots conservationists with people who can support their efforts with a mouse click.
We believe that sharing ideas is just as important as sending money, so our exclusive online platform keeps the conversation going. We call it The Baraza, the benches where people gather to discuss the affairs of the day.
That leads to our secret. We're not just a travel company: we're a community.
We called the company Cowgirls & Pirates because we're closet romantics, and as Edward Abbey said "half-hearted fanatics." Travel and saving nature both come from the heart. In a scary post-fact world, we all need to keep our heads. But we can never lose heart.
Besides, isn’t romance what travel is really about? Throw a little hedonism into the mix, and we're there.
So, those are the Big Ideas. Our core mission is clear: we bring you to the world’s best places, where new ideas about conservation are making a difference.
To say it the way Muir did, we invite you to “run wild and get near the heart of the world.”
Working with conservationists and local communities is in our DNA. There are 3 levels of commitment. At the most basic level, we choose environmentally responsible safari outfitters. The majority of our partners actively protecting land and fostering the health of communities. At the highest level, our Namibian partners are Goldman Prize-winning conservationists working in service to the Himba people, who are full owners of their lodge and safari outfitters.
On top of that, we donate 1 percent of annual proceeds to scientifically-based conservation.