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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Cambodia’s Cardamom Tented Camp: Conservation Efforts Take Off as Guests and Rangers Embrace Forest Guardianship

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas constantly reinforces its commitment towards environmental, social and cultural conservation. Special consideration is given to employing and empowering communities, and wherever possible, sustainable products and services are sourced locally. Around the world, Anantara works in partnership with local communities and promotes cultural awareness amongst guests by integrating indigenous culture into everyday experiences.

One such initiative is The Cardamom Tented Camp, nestled in Southern Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountain range. The camp—a non-profit Eco lodge resting within 18,000 hectares of pristine land, was opened in late 2017. Proceeds from the camp are used to fund rangers that patrol the concession, protecting against deforestation and illegal poaching. Since funding began, a vibrancy has returned within this corridor of land and wildlife is thriving, while beyond the boundaries the forest is being clear-cut and lost to deforestation.

In addition to coping with adverse effects of climate change, Cambodian forests have been ravaged by illegal loggers, poachers and sand dredgers. The Cardamom Tented Camp entrusts carefully vetted organisations both the right and responsibility to protect and manage designated “concessions” of forest. Since 2014, the concession of land on which the camp sits has been funded via Anantara’s charitable organisation, The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) as one of several philanthropic causes supported worldwide by Anantara. The ongoing maintenance of the camp and its team of rangers is now funded in part by Anantara guests via the GTAEF.

For eco-conscious guests, the Cardamom Tented Camp’s tagline “your stay keeps the forest standing” signals its commitment to channel all the funds generated by tourism into running the camp and into financing patrols. Most of the staff are from the nearby Trapeang Rung village—some erstwhile illegal poachers themselves, who have since converted to conservationists and now benefit from improved stability and a steadier income by protecting the animals they used to hunt.

Amongst mounting global climate change woes, community-sized environmental success stories are often dismissed as a mere drop in the ocean. Yet, while the search for a cure-all solution continues, local grassroots initiatives have proven indispensable in bringing relief to areas affected by floods, deforestation and droughts. The efforts of the camp have not gone unnoticed and the Cardamom Tented Camp won the 2019 PATA Gold Award in the Environment – Ecotourism Project category.

Guests staying at Cardamom Tented Camp can be as involved as they want to be, including joining the Khmer rangers on jungle patrols to clear traps and protect the wildlife and timber against poachers. Or they can simply relax on the tent’s decking, watching a family of macaque monkeys making their way through the canopy opposite the breakfast station. The camp has recently added trips that include an overnight in the deep jungle in tensile tree tents. These adventurous trips will be available from November 2019.

The camp is environmentally sustainable through and through. Plastic bottles are banned, the solar power system supplies all the electricity and as much as possible is reused and recycled. Travellers can expect a quality 3-star camp complete with comfortable beds, sturdy bamboo and rattan furniture, electric fans and bathroom facilities with hot water and rain showers.

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