Five years ago, adventurous eco-warrior, humanitarian and founder of the Blue Sky Society Trust Carla Geyser and a team of like-minded women departed the Getaway show and hit the road north. Ahead of them lay 11 235km across four countries in 50 days. The team was made up of an international team of women, all from different backgrounds with one shared purpose: conserving Africa’s wildlife.
Blue Sky Society Trust
It was the second instalment of Carla’s ‘Journeys With Purpose’ concept, after an epic trip in 2016 saw Carla lead a 16 000km,10-country expedition through Africa. Carla’s original Elephant Ignite trip raised funds for organisations dedicated to protecting the continent’s wildlife, and the communities that share space with these animals.
Since then, she’s led 15 more expeditions and with a calendar chock-a-block full of adventure ahead of her in 2023, she’s got no plans to slow or quieten down.
‘I’ve always worked on the fringes of the hospitality industry,’ says Carla. ‘This led me to have an abiding love of nature and the environment. In 2013 and 2014 I worked with the Kingsley Holgate Foundation promoting their rhino art project. I was involved with the organising committee that ran the First World Youth Rhino Summit at Hluhluwe Umfolozi in Sept 2014, and after that I worked for the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation – an NPO that works on the rescue and preservation of wildlife at risk.’
‘In the last decade, I have become increasingly aware of the importance of conservation. We cannot sit back and wait for a miracle to happen; every one of us needs to be involved in the fight for a better world,’ says Carla.
‘My love for travel and adventure led to me organising and leading two expeditions for international tourists who wanted to explore Africa, in 2014 and 2016,’ says Carla. ‘This experience and watching as these foreigners fell in love with beautiful Africa made me more determined than ever to expose people to nature and at the same time make them aware of the conservation issues. I believe that unless we uplift humans from poverty, we won’t save our planet from a slow death. Conservation, humanity and the environment are all intertwined.’
When it comes to joining Carla’s expeditions, there’s only one condition: a love for the natural world.
‘I’ve had ladies from all over the world; from 21 to 72, with different backgrounds and jobs, sitting around a fire and connecting over their love for wildlife.’
Conservation in action
These days, Carla works with The Bateleurs, an NPC made up of 200 volunteer pilots who provide free-of-charge aerial services in support of environmental issues.
Carla works exclusively with proven, on-the-ground conservation projects, ensuring all funds raised by her expeditions go directly to the wildlife and people who desperately need support.
In 2022 we joined her on a local mission in the Lowveld, the second leg of her ‘Rise of the matriarch’ expedition. We spent time tracking wild dogs with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, sponsoring and assisting with an elephant collaring with Elephants Alive, and spending time with the good people at the APNR Ground-Hornbill project.
Read: Behind the scenes of an elephant collaring
Next, we ventured into Kruger to tackle a four-day 4×4 route up the park’s Western boundary, the Mafunyane 4×4 eco trail.
Read more about this all-women adventure in our March Kruger-themed issue, on shelves on 20 February.
Consider helping Carla fund her Journeys with Purpose: www.blueskysociety.org/
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