updated 5/11/2011 3:46:27 PM ET 2011-05-11T19:46:27

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 11, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Wilderness, a responsible ecotourism and conservation company with nearly 70 camps in Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Seychelles, has launched a new brand, the Wilderness Collection. This new brand will provide a home for a carefully selected portfolio of progressive and innovative camps and programs in iconic African destinations.

Two exceptional new destinations will join the Collection and open early in 2012 - Segera on the Laikipia Plateau in Kenya and Odzala in the virgin rainforest of Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). They will join North Island in the Seychelles and Abu Camp in Botswana to comprise the new Collection.

All of the locations share a philosophy of building environmental, social and financial equity and of raising global awareness around sustainability. This shared commitment to these inextricably linked goals results in synergies that might not be as effectively achieved separately, without the umbrella of the Wilderness Collection.

In addition to this common philosophy, each location is dedicated to incomparable, but sustainable, luxury and exceptional guest experiences. From the refined elegance of North Island, to the sophistication and elephant ambassadors of Abu Camp, the rainforest discovery and lowland gorilla encounters of Odzala and the cultural journey and modern conservation concept of Segera, the Wilderness Collection is firmly rooted in striving to provide truly inimitable experiences for its guests.

Each of the destinations included in the Wilderness Collection has a foundation based on Wilderness' core principals, "the 4Cs" – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – and seeks to demonstrate that you can do well by doing good.

North Island, a floating "Noah's Ark" tropical island sanctuary, is a project that was 10 years in the making.  It has taken natural habitats that were long neglected and rehabilitated them so that endangered Seychelles animal, fauna and flora could be reintroduced and given a place to grove and thrive, showing that it is possible to rehabilitate entire ecosystems.   

Similarly, the premise on which Abu Camp and its elephant ambassadors is based is that of elephant conservation and vast transfrontier conservation areas. Abu Camp, which was recently completely renovated, is the original elephant safari experience in Africa. Guests of the Abu Camp walk with and ride elephants, experience them in their world and learn about their lives. 

Segera, in turn, aims to create a self-sustaining, responsible model that preserves a part of Kenya's natural heritage, benefits the local population, enhances responsible tourism and promotes sustainable land use and awareness of conservation issues.

Odzala's vision is to use responsible lowland gorilla-orientated tourism as a catalyst to spread the rainforest conservation message both locally and globally.  Odzala has the highest numbers of gorillas in Africa and the Congo Basin has the world's second largest expanse of tropical rainforest. Guests will observe gorillas from sensitively constructed camps that leave as light a footprint as possible while also being exposed to the complexities of rainforest conservation.

The Wilderness team believes that in protecting these areas, and including the local communities in this process, they will make a difference to Africa and ultimately the world. 

Lesley Bellus Kilman

Bellus Public Relations

954-436-6859

lesley@belluspr.com

About Wilderness: Wilderness is a conservation organization made up of ecotourism companies and non-profit trusts that believes in using responsible tourism to build sustainable conservation economies in Africa. This is done by creating journeys through the most remote and beautiful wild areas in southern Africa while at the same time sharing the benefits of tourism with local communities. Through its travel divisions – Wilderness Safaris, Wilderness Adventures, Wilderness Explorations, Wilderness Air and Wilderness Collection – Wilderness operates a portfolio of approximately 70 lodges, camps and safaris in nine African countries: Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Republic of Congo and the Seychelles. Wilderness' non-profit trusts – Children in the Wilderness and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust – ensure the company makes a difference in Africa, benefiting its people, places and wildlife. For more information, visit wilderness-safaris.com.

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