Would you pay for a $1 million safari?

Sunday, April 6, 2014 - 2:00pm


 How stressed out do you need to be to spend $1 million on a 111-day holiday?

Rhetorical questions come and go, but the latest super-luxe vacation is here to stay, as long as its "attractions" remain -- species close to extinction.

"That money serves to assist the endangered species that potential clients would see," says Will Bolsover, managing director at UK-based Natural World Safaris, which is offering what it's calling a "Journey to Nature's Edge."

Prospective safari-goers (so far no one has booked) will get to gawk at 18 endangered species in 12 countries over 111 days, all from the Hermès-catered splendor of luxury lodgings.

Guests will fly to each destination in first class, meet local conservation experts and have fiddly things like park entrance fees, transport and excursions arranged and paid for.

The $1 million price tag covers two people and Bolsover himself, who'll accompany guests "to ensure everything runs smoothly."

He says his own costs are greatly reduced by partners in the locales.

Ten percent of the fee goes to the conservation projects involved and conservation administration CITES.

"We want to highlight the plight of endangered species on our planet and bring this to the attention of individuals at the same time as them truly experiencing the natural world and the conservation efforts that are ongoing to protect it," Bolsover says.

One week will be spent at the Selinda Concession seeking out resident wild dogs. Seeing these "painted dogs," which differ to wolves and domesticated dogs by having four toes rather than five, is an increasingly rare thing. Their population is estimated at 3,000-5,500.

Super-luxe holiday trend

It's not the most expensive vacation to have been conceived recently.

A $1.5 million trip to all 962 UNESCO World Heritage Sites was created, and reportedly booked, last year.

Just a few weeks ago a company launched its "Lovers Deep" concept -- converting a submarine into a private love hotel.

A week on that, at nearly $290,000 per night, would cost more than $2 million.

But at an average of $83,333 per destination -- an example of which is a five-day stay to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda -- this Journey to Nature's Edge falls into the just-think-what-else-you-could-do-with-that-kind-of-money category.

"The $1 million price tag does grab people's attention, however this was the cost when we finalized pulling the trip details together," says Bolsover.

He adds that, despite the high-end price, guests may not be pampered every moment.

"People are prepared to pay a premium to get out and experience something entirely different and this may be staying at the most luxurious property in Botswana seeing some breathtaking game.

"Equally it could be staying at a very basic camp in Hemis National Park in India at minus 30 degrees Celsius with no shower facilities in the hope of catching a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard!"

Those interested in booking, or just window shopping, can do so at the Natural World Safaris website.

The M/Y Grace will explore the land and marine systems that inspired Darwin's Theory of Evolution. There are approximately 14,300 Galápagos giant tortoises on the islands. They're considered a vulnerable species, but not endangered, and often live longer than 100 years.


Would you pay $1 million for a chance to see these endangered species? Let us know below.

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