The Cardamom Story
Since the establishment of Botum Sakor National Park in 1993, the overall area of 171,250 hectares (1,712.5 km²) has been under constant threat by outside influences. Over 229 km² of evergreen forest has been lost to illegal logging and many endangered animal species are being poached by local hunters and wildlife traffickers, armed with homemade guns and snares.
The country’s economic development in recent years has additionally brought extensive illegal land grabbing and slash-and- burn agriculture to the area. This has also resulted in the loss of over 119,000 hectares of the park to construction, agriculture and industrial projects and this depletion of park land still continues today.
Only through the consistent work of Wildlife Alliance since 2002 in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment of the Kingdom of Cambodia and their collaborative on-site law enforcement, has the forests in the Cardamom Mountains remained protected and fairly intact.
With the Royal Government of Cambodia acknowledging the potential of Eco-Tourism for economic development and poverty alleviation, a land concession dedicated to Eco-Tourism development was provided in October 2009, covering a total area of 18,073 hectares. This comprised of a 5,000-hectare Economic Land Concession (ELC) designated for low-impact development and a 13,073- hectare Conservation Zone to be protected and developed by the JW (Cambodia) Eco-Holidays project under the guidance of Wildlife Alliance.
The Cardamom Tented Camp Concept
The concept for Cardamom Tented Camp, which is a three-way initiative between The Minor Group, YAANA Ventures and Wildlife Alliance, grew from the need to have a sustainable tourism development project – a mandatory requirement for holding the Eco-Tourism and Conservation Concession – granted in 2009 by the Royal Government of Cambodia.
The camp, which opened in November 2017, sees a percentage of its revenues go directly to Wildlife Alliance and its conservation efforts in the park. Any additional profits are then reinvested locally. Wildlife Alliance is also supported by the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, an initiative of The Minor Group.
With the tagline ‘Your Stay Keeps the Forest Standing’, guests staying at the Cardamom Tented Camp help to sustain a conservation-friendly business set up to keep the 18,073-hectare (180 km2) concession out of the hands of loggers, poachers and sand dredging operations.
The Cardamom Tented Camp is therefore a pioneering and responsible Eco-Tourism provider, committed to supporting the conservational efforts of Wildlife Alliance in cooperation with the local community, with a mandate to sustain and prosper the rich prevailing biodiversity of the area.
The small scale and low-impact eco-tourism camp with nine basic but comfortable tented accommodations, is designed to provide guests with an all-encompassing nature experience, while actively contributing to research, protection and conservation efforts of the existing natural reserves.
Through strong collaboration with the nearby Trapeang Rung Commune and the extensive guidance of Wildlife Alliance, guests have the chance to undertake ranger-guided hikes and fieldtrips into the lowland evergreen rainforest during which they will learn how to track animals, set up and evaluate camera traps, as well as monitor and evaluate the park’s natural resources.
All of our tours and activities have been designed to provide guests with a meaningful and educational experience, while keeping the protection of the environment the key goal of the project.