“Our great vision is to drive biodiversity corridors to try and put together a 3-million acre footprint which has Samara at its core."
- A South African conservation advocate who has spent the past 25 years restoring and carefully rewilding 67,000 acres of land in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, the “Great Karoo”.
- Sarah and her husband founded Samara Karoo Reserve in 1997. Working with local experts, they set about turning back the clock so that herds of antelope and predators would return to the land, bringing restoration on a large scale.
- Lions, elephants and cheetahs were reintroduced after more than a century’s absence, and leopards and several bird species have returned of their own accord. Over 50 cheetahs have been born at the reserve, and Samara's population has become substantial enough that many are translocated to other reserves and national parks and other African countries
- Samara’s pioneering rewilding project is well underway, and offers visitors to its eco-tourist lodges an intimate and meaningful wildlife experience, as well as providing a model for a rewilding project which has flourished despite immeasurable challenges.
- This project, Samara Karoo Reserve, is now the catalyst for a vision to create the third-largest contiguous conservation area in South Africa across 3 million acres.
- Committed to creating solutions for conservation and communities, driving partnerships and fostering educational opportunities, Sarah has experience of engaging with civil society, government and the private sector.
- Sarah was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society for her fight against fracking in South Africa.
- London-born and educated at the University of Cambridge, Isabelle is the second generation of the Tompkins family actively pursuing the rewilding vision of Samara Karoo Reserve.
- This conservation project was founded by her parents, Sarah and Mark Tompkins, in 1997 in South Africa’s Great Karoo region.
- Isabelle has led some of the reserve’s most thrilling rewilding milestones, and was recently interviewed by CNN on Samara’s successful reintroduction of Big Cats including the first cheetah in 130 years and the first lion in 180 years.
- Motivated by a desire to confront the challenges facing biodiversity, society and the climate, Isabelle believes in the power of purpose-driven business to positively transform its sphere of influence, creating a replicable and scalable model for conservation. Her work was instrumental in helping Samara to obtain Fellow Member status of The Long Run – a network of nature-based tourism businesses dedicated to sustainability across the 4Cs: Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce.
- With experience in commercial development, fundraising and marketing, Isabelle is now helping to safeguard the future of Samara Karoo Reserve and working, alongside her mother Sarah, to create South Africa’s third largest protected area of 3 million acres in a Global Biodiversity Hotspot.
One of South Africa's most diverse safari destinations
Step away from those screens and rewild your kids in the great Africa outdoors.