Africa is one of the few remaining natural ecotourism destinations. There have been several conservation projects in various countries in Africa. Responsible travelers are encouraged to at-least take conservation safaris that can create a meaningful difference in the destination visited. Here are the top 5 conservation safaris to take;
WHO RUNS IT: Hidden Places
Hidden Places’ founders, veterinarian Dag Goering and author Maria Coffey, started the Elephant Earth Initiative to make life better for the world’s largest land mammal. Join them by raising pledges of $500 to $2,500 to walk with Samburu guides on a nine-day camel-supported trek across Laikipia Plateau, home to one of East Africa’s largest free-ranging elephant populations. Stay the first night in a luxury tented camp, then rough it for a week in expedition tents. January 23–31; from $3,450 per person.
Gorilla Trekking Safari
WHERE: Uganda, East Africa
WHO RUNS IT: Go Gorilla Trekking
There are as few as 880 mountain gorillas left in the whole world. Almost half of these great apes are found in Uganda. There are two national parks that protect the mountain gorillas; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Meeting the mountain gorillas in the jungles of Bwindi is one of the most thrilling adventures in the world! By taking a gorilla safari in Uganda, you contribute to the survival of these great apes. Gorilla tourism has proved to be a great tool in the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas.
Climb Kilimanjaro & See the Big Five
WHERE: Tanzania, East Africa
WHO RUNS IT:
There’s an urgency to climbing Kilimanjaro—the famous “tropical ice” that covers the 19,341-foot Tanzanian peak has melted to 15 percent of its 1912 size, diminishing your chances to chip glacial ice for your sundowner gin and tonic after the summit push. Cheekiness aside, Africa is a place of great flux, with precious animal populations shrinking faster than high altitude glaciers. Make sure to see them both by combining a summit bid on Tanzania with a safari to see the continent’s Big Five—lions, elephants, cape buffalo, rhino, and leopard. Try Abercrombie and Kent’s new trip up the southern flank’s Umbwe route. It’s a far steeper approach than the standard—and crowded—Mishame route, but your group should have a campsite to itself. Combine a November ascent with a four-day safari to witness the great wildebeest migration on the Serengeti, one of Earth’s wildest spectacles ($7,924).
Africa Conservation Safari
WHERE: Namibia, Botswana, South Africa
WHO RUNS IT: African Safari Company
This 12-day itinerary offers a crash course in conservation. In Namibia, visit Na’an Ku Se—a wildlife refuge that so impressed Brangelina, the couple donated $2 million—then head to Okonjima Bush Camp and the AfriCat Foundation, home to cheetah rehabilitation. After a stop in Botswana’s Mashatu Game Reserve, the trip winds up in South Africa at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, where helicopter rides afford sweeping views of the park’s rhino-darting program. Proceeds from this portion of the trip support Kwandwe’s rhino project. From $7,750 per person.