Christian’s Inspired Ulusaba Safari

A place where dreams are realized and everything is possible….

Nestled in the heart of the Sabi Sand Reserve bordering Kruger National Park, you will find Sir Richard Branson’s Private Game Reserve, Ulusaba. An unparalleled destination for adventure seekers, guests from all over the world come to experience Sir Richard’s guarantee of an intimate wildlife encounter. Perched on the edge of the untamed South African bush, this stunning retreat truly is a diamond in the rough!

Juxtaposing the vast feral outback, Ulusaba is an oasis of peace and serenity. Offering all the luxuries of a lavish five-star hotel, a sense of rustic elegance is created with fabrics, textures, and colours that echo the beauty of Ulusaba’s Africa. While visitors can expect to be pampered during their stay, guests are most spoiled within the astounding beauty of the great outdoors.

The perfect place to ignite a lifelong love affair with Africa’s wild, Ulusaba’s breathtaking safaris have attracted many famed guests unable to resist the allure of this natural paradise. In 2007, Hollywood actor Christian Slater and his son Jaden visited the reserve to experience the thrill of an unspoiled Africa. Whisked away in an open jeep, with no fence to divide man from animal, Christian was amazed at how ‘up close and personal’ they actually came to the wildlife. Literally, arms length away from lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos, and leopards, Christian was captivated by the raw beauty of the wild.

While on the trip, Christian and Jaden went on a community tour which inspired them to take personal action. Seeing the way the local people lived, Christian was moved by the simplicity of life, but was also shocked by overwhelming hardships within these communities. The Ulusaba staff shared their passion for the charitable project, Pride ‘n Purpose with Christian. This non-profit organization funded by Virgin Limited Edition and non-profit Virgin Unite, was established by members of the Ulusaba family and is devoted to sustainability of the land, conservation of wildlife, and helping disadvantaged communities living adjacent to the Sabi Sand Reserve.

After learning about the charitable initiatives Ulusaba supports, Christian kindly offered the home video of his safari to be sold to help raise funds for Pride ‘n Purpose. With the funds raised from the video and a collaborative donation by Christian and Sir Richard Branson, the renovation and re-opening of Jeremiah Crèche was made possible.

Since then, Christian has continued his humanitarian work in South Africa. An avid ambassador for Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, and a friend of Sir Richard Branson, Christian collaborated with Pride ’n Purpose once again this past December. After promising to give Richard a birthday present he would never forget, Christian fulfilled his pledge by opening a second crèche in Richard’s honor. The crèche was built at Dumphries Village in Bushbuckridge, and the opening put a smile on both Richard’s face and the faces of the sweet children who now attend the crèche.

The opening day celebrations included a ribbon cutting ceremony led by the chief of the village, a lively parade, and thanks to The Starkey Hearing Foundation, the miraculous fitting of 250 hearing aids at the Bhubezi Clinic. The Bhubezi Clinic is yet another amazing Virgin Unite partnership dedicated to changing lives by bringing medical professionals and expertise to this remote area of the country. Richard had an infectious excitement when speaking about the clinic’s success, his friend Christian’s immeasurable gift, and the unparalleled joy he felt witnessing someone regaining their hearing.

Christian was deeply moved by the level of gratitude from both the children and teachers in the village. “It is quite a different appreciation than one would experience opening a school in America where education is often taken for granted,” Christian explained. Christian also conveyed the importance the créche has to the community and how the gift of education will empower these children to effect positive change in their own lives and the future of their community.

Prior to his efforts in South Africa, Christian was no stranger to philanthropy. For years his vision for a better world and his ‘pay it forward’ mentality has made him a quiet front-line hero both abroad and right here at home. Christian prefers to fly under the radar where his charitable works are concerned, familiar with the spot light but uncomfortable with any acknowledgement or thanks for his efforts towards global resolution. He is however, quick to acknowledge exceptional people like Richard, a friend whose devotion to sustainability and long-term maintenance of the environmental, economic, and social well being of this planet is truly admirable.

Every year, Richard and Virgin Unite host a Connection Trip Series offering a select group of entrepreneurs a once in a lifetime opportunity to join Richard to share great ideas to affect positive change in the world. The most recent Connection Trip took place at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa, followed by a stay at Ulusaba, Richard Branson’s Private Game Reserve. The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg is a launch pad for enterprising young entrepreneurs to create successful businesses. The Centre offers a unique opportunity to partner the leaders of today with the emerging entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Please visit www.bransoncentre.org to find more information.