Ever considered giving back while visiting Africa? To go on a safari with a purpose? There are numerous conservation experiences from South Africa all the way to Tanzania visitors can take part in to get a better understanding of the bigger picture of what a future without certain species or local communities not receiving the necessary support and encouragement, would look like.Africa, its people and wildlife face many challenges and the conservation experiences in reserves and at lodges are committed to sustainability, education and preserving the continent’s natural heritage for future generations through ground-breaking science, research and solid contingency plans.Being more eco-conscious and practicing responsible ethical tourism is on the rise throughout the world and in the wake of debates focusing on global challenges such as climate change and loss of species, travelers have a deep profound understanding that help is needed.But where do you start?
Top 5 Conservation Experiences in Africa
Our selection of the top 5 conservation experiences takes a hands-on approach when it comes to protecting wildlife, the environment and the local communities. Whether your passion lies with small critters like pangolins, the big five or simply getting involved and observing the daily lives of the locals, there is something for everyone who want to leave a positive impact on the destination they have visited.
Pangolin Conservation at &Beyond Phinda
The pangolin is not only the most-trafficked mammal but also one of the shyest; seeing one in the wild with &Beyond Phinda Pangolin Conservation Experience is a once-in-lifetime opportunity.It is an animal not many are familiar with – seeing one in the wild is hitting the safari jackpot – but this rare, elusive and slightly obscure animal, the pangolin, is the most trafficked animal on the planet. Every few minutes one is taken from the wild; the meat is considered a delicacy, the scales (made up of keratin) are used in traditional medicines and the pangolin skin – with its diamond pattern – has sparked interest in the fashion industry. With all eight pangolin species threatened with extinction (two species are critically endangered) it is taking its toll on the world’s biodiversity.The &Beyond Phinda Pangolin Conservation Experience offers you the opportunity to be part of their ground-breaking initiative, the first of its kind and in partnership with the African Pangolin Working Group, they want to re-establish the ground pangolin of Temminck. During the experience you will travel with a specialist conservation team while they locate pangolins, replace the GSM/UHF tag, do health checks, take body measurements and collect important research data. The outing allows you to get a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into the life of one of the shyest creatures in Africa and its unique features and once the pangolin is released, you can observe its behavior and how it feeds. Pre-booking is essential and by taking the animal and its welfare into consideration, this experience of &Beyond Phinda will only be scheduled to coincide with the required periodic replacement of the monitoring tags, which ultimately is the core element of this project.
Community Partnerships at Singita Faru Faru Lodge in Tanzania
Singita Faru Faru Lodge passionately supports the local community, and as a visitor you have the opportunity to get a glimpse into their daily lives in Tanzania.Empowering the local communities surrounding safari lodges plays a key role in Africa’s conservation experiences and projects. Sustainability, and protecting the environment for future generations goes hand in hand with education, and at the heart of Singita Faru Faru Lodge in Tanzania lies a passion for giving back to the local communities – to assist them to thrive economically and socially - through multiple community partnerships.Singita Faru Faru Lodge’s approach to community is based on the pillars of forward-thinking education, enterprise development and environmental awareness. Through a partnership with the Grumeti Fund which runs the Environmental Education Centre, students from local secondary schools attends week-long residential courses which puts the spotlight on critical environmental issues and seeing wildlife up close, a first for many of the students.During the interactive Singita Grumeti community visit you will go to the Environmental Education Centre which offers you the opportunity to see first-hand the work that has been done by the Grumeti Fund, and you will go into the neighboring village to see the community partnerships in action, meet and greet the families living on the outskirts of the reserves and get a glimpse into their daily lives. Through a nominal financial contribution, guests taking part in the community visit help to support the community groups as well as the community development done by the Grumeti Fund.
Madikwe’s Rhino & Elephant Conservation at Jaci’s Safari Lodge
Get involved in the plight of Africa's rhinos and elephants at Jaci's Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve with a team of experts.Two of Africa’s magnificent big five animals – the rhino and the elephant – are under severe threat and their numbers are on a downward spiral due to poaching and the cultural demand for rhino horn which are used in traditional medicine and elephant tusks used in decorative items such as jewelry, piano keys , trinkets and other ornaments. About 30 000 elephants are poached in Africa every year, and in South Africa alone, between 2 and 3 rhinos are killed every single day. Poaching has devastating consequences for wildlife; there is habitat loss, fragmentation, ecosystems suffer, and thousands of men and women work around the clock to protect, preserve, educate and lawfully change the fate of these animals.Jaci’s Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve is one of the voices actively doing something about the rhino and elephant poaching situation in South Africa. Thanks to their specialized conservation safaris you have a chance to get involved and have a positive impact as a custodian of the environment. Join a team of experts made up of vets, field rangers and helicopter pilots in their anti-poaching initiative of darting elephants and rhinos to microchip rhinos, collar elephants and gather essential information to protect Africa’s endangered wildlife.
Vulture Culture Experience at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Learn more about the important role vultures play in Africa's ecosystem and watch as these scavengers feed off carcasses at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.Globally, vultures are the most endangered group of all bird species; eight of Africa’s eleven vulture species have declined at an average of 62% across all regions over the last 30 years. At the core of their disappearance lies the continent’s precious eco-system. Vultures play a vital role in the environment, and through their ability to strip and clear carcasses in just a few hours vultures are actively stopping the spread of diseases like anthrax, rabies, cholera, tuberculosis for the benefit of wildlife, domestic animals and humans.But for a bird with such an important role the threats are rife. Vultures circling over a carcass can quickly alert wildlife authorities; rhino and elephant poachers are aware that their location will be comprised by circling vultures and therefore carcasses are often laced with poison which has an enormous cascading impact on their population. Vultures are also used in traditional medicine, and other threats include power lines (due to their large wingspan), loss of food supply, indirect poisoning through agriculture and some people unfortunately see vultures as a pest.Understanding the importance of vultures, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe has created a Vulture Culture Experience – one of the most unique conservation experiences in Africa – where guests are invited to witness a feeding and listen to some interesting (and shocking) vulture facts and statistics. Every day a carcass is put out for the vultures – not nearly enough to make them dependent – in an effort to encourage the birds of prey to rather roam in a safer space, than venture off to an isolated area where poaching might occur. This activity is open to guests staying at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, or dining at the restaurant during lunch and it is completely free of charge; donations are up to each individual, a portion of restaurant’s proceeds goes towards the conservation of vultures and for the observers the emphasis is put on sharing the experience and importance of vultures with family and friends.
1000 Herb & Vegetable Garden at Thornybush Game Lodge
Discover the farm to table concept and ethos of sustainability at Thornybush Game Lodge.Community gardens are at the core of promoting sustainable agriculture, minimizing food transportation costs, providing food security, creating an important habitat for insects like bees, and increasing the sense of wellness, responsibility and healthy lifestyles.At Thornybush Game Lodge, adjacent to the Greater Kruger Park, there is a community project called 1000 Herbs and Vegetable Garden and ever since the first seed sprouted it has been a growing success. Here, women from the local community lease a portion of land next to the Manyangana High School in Utah where they grow quality herbs, vegetables and edible flowers that are then sold to local game lodges such as Thornybush Game Lodge and the immediate community. This initiative is the epitome of ‘farm to fork’ and through Thornybush and its guests’ assistance numerous projects have been put into action such as the facilitation of drilling the new borehole, creating a market-type retail facility and increasing the shade cloth covered growing areas. The intention is that this garden will ultimately develop into a sustainable, self-funding and independent business that will sell fresh vegetables to the greater Utah community, in addition to its existing customers.Do you want to add one of these conservation experiences to your safari? Let us help you plan.