A safari operator may be locally owned, or may work directly with local businesses. Either way, a priority is placed on working with, and benefitting the community in which it is operating. The community must benefit through employment and education, companies support and have even built local schools. They focus on environmental sustainability, through wildlife conservation and recycling programs.
Sustainable safari holidays can allow a traveller to spend an hour with the gorillas in Uganda, or kayak with dolphins in Namibia’s Walvis Bay. While beautiful and sweeping photographs are an important part of a safari, so is the learning experience. AfriCat, based in Okonjima, Namibia, specializes in maintaining large carnivore populations through conversation and education. The Gambia offers a birdwatchers’ safari paradise, with over 170 different species, including exotic Kingfishers and Bee Eaters.
It’s not just about the game, fair trade also plays a part in a sustainable holiday. In addition to wildlife, there are visits to the people of Africa. In Limpopo, the traditional wood carvers, potters and weavers make and offer their wares. Or learn about the plants, used by the Masaai, as medicine in Tanzania.
A safari can be customized for any traveller. The possibilities range from the well-known and popular photography safaris to ones that focus on history and archaeology to a butterfly watching safari. Safaris can also be combined with other activities. Bungee jumping at Victoria Falls? Is a wine tasting in Cape Town more to your liking? Or maybe, living the Out of Africa experience by flying above the land in a bi-plane. All are possible on a safari adventure. The only real limitation is your imagination.
When the time comes to book a safari holiday, look for specialist safari holidays, be specific in what you want, and don’t compromise. Many safaris can combine tent accommodations with sophisticated guesthouses. Whether you are adventurous soul traveling solo, or a group of friends making good on a long planned goal, a safari can be done. Remember this is a bespoke holiday not just for you, but also for the land and people you will be visiting.