Founder Volcanoes Safaris
Praveen Moman grew up in the wilds of Uganda, where the family was part of the pioneering Asian community that was central to opening up East Africa. He then moved to the UK as the family became refugees with the Amin expulsion. This was followed by a career as a political and policy adviser in the European Union and British Government, including working in the European Parliament; for Lord Cockfield, Vice President of the European Commission: Lord Heseltine, former UK Deputy Prime Minister; Lord Renton, Minister for the Arts; and Lord Newton, Leader of the House of Commons.
Praveen founded Volcanoes Safaris in 1997, which has been at the forefront of reviving gorilla tourism in Uganda and Rwanda. Under Praveen’s guiding vision, Volcanoes has designed and built four unique lodges near the great ape parks – Virunga, Mount Gahinga, Bwindi and Kyambura. The luxury lodges are sensitive to local culture and aesthetics, the post-conflict context and the need to use resources responsibly. Local people have been trained and empowered to run and manage the lodges.
In 2000, Volcanoes Safaris became the first international safari company to take clients to Rwanda and in 2004 built the now renowned Virunga Lodge. It helped kick-start gorilla tourism after the genocide through the Volcanoes BLCF Partnership Project. In 2005 the company become a charter signatory to the UN Kinshasa Declaration on Saving the Great Apes, the only safari company to do so. Then, in 2009, Praveen established the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT), a non-profit organisation that aims to create long-term, self-sustaining projects that enrich the livelihoods of local communities and promote the conservation of the great apes.
Today the company is recognized for the unique great ape tourism model it has created. In recognition of this work, Volcanoes Safaris received both the Travel + Leisure Global Vision (2012) and Condé Nast Traveler World Savers (2013) awards. Also in 2013, Praveen was asked to join the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, which promotes sensitive economic development of the forests of Central Africa. Praveen has been described as a ‘visionary conservationist’ by the Financial Times and as ‘one of top twenty-five conservation-philanthropists’ in Africa by Departures Magazine. In 2014, Into the Virungas, a conversation with Praveen about his essential vision to champion the people, the animals and forests of Africa was published. In 2016 the VSPT Bwindi Bar near Bwindi Lodge won the Pure Community Engagement award for training disadvantaged youths; Virunga Lodge was recognized as Africa’s most romantic retreat by the World Boutique Awards.
In March 2017, the Dian Fossey Map Room was opened at Virunga Lodge by Praveen. The Map Room pays tribute to the unique contribution of Dian Fossey and other conservationists, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Karisoke Centre. A catalogue and exhibition entitled ‘Conservationists and Explorers of the Virunga volcanoes’ was published.
Praveen was educated in Uganda and at London and Cambridge University in the UK; he is a former VSO volunteer in Jamaica; and a Robert Schuman Scholar of the European Parliament. He has been involved in Seva Mandir since 1994, a respected Indian charity and is currently a Vice-Patron. Since 2012 he has been a trustee of the Imbabazi Foundation in Rwanda, which supports genocide survivors; He has been on the Advisory Board of the Adventure Travel Trade Association in the USA since 2009; since 2014 he has been on the Board of the Edward Heath Centenary Trust; on the Board of the Eastern Africa Association, since 2015 a member of the Memorial Gates Council; a trustee of Women Matter; and since 2016 on the Advisory Board of the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation and the Board of the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund (ATCF). He is married and has one son and lives in London, Uganda and Rwanda.