Thank you for considering an African safari for your next holiday!
You might not know this, but wildlife tourism is incredibly important to protect Africa’s incredibly vulnerable biodiversity. In fact, in many countries, tourist money is what keeps the animals safe, locals employed and habitats in tact.
Wildlife tourism brings with it economic benefits, which supports local communities. When wildlife provides business opportunities, it can help residents value the importance of keeping their natural assets intact and healthy.
Eco-tourism prevents ecosystem degradation by creating more sustainable livelihoods for local communities, particularly those in rural areas. Jobs as guides, lodge managers, or kitchen chefs offer alternative income sources to environmentally-destructive activities such as logging, slash-and-burn agriculture, or poaching.
SafariFRANK partners with many eco-tourism operators all across the African continent. Some of the key values we look for when selecting our partners:
- Small number of people on a tour / rooms in a lodge
- Minimised impact on environment
- Direct financial benefits for conservation
- Empowerment for local communities (e.g. education, job creation)
- Alternative activities low impact activities offered (e.g. canoeing, bush walks)
- Sustainable practices such as no plastic use, solar energy production, home grown foods
Some of our partners are even involved in their own anti-poaching and conservation efforts. Here, a direct donation is often automatically included in your stay.
We strongly believe in small group, low impact adventure safaris in far flung off-the-beaten-track destinations with partners of ours that run small family and locally owned businesses. We DONT support mass tourism, crowded animal sightings, unethical drivers/guides and over-utilisation of wilderness areas.
We are crazy about Rhino conservation and have setup a project to protect the rhinos in Southern Africa from the poaching onslaught. It is called RhinoLove you can read the blog and can check it out on Instagram.
How your safari helps people and wildlife
- Park Fees – your national park fees and conservation levies are directly funding the employment of anti-poaching staff, their equipment and efforts to curb poaching.
- Employment – the safari camps you visit employ a multitude of staff from guides, chefs and waitors to operations, reservations and marketing – all of whom in turn support their families.
- Education – this can be in the form of education through employment where staff are trained new skills and work their way up the ranks, or through the funding of local schools and teacher salaries that many of our partners support.
- Biodiversity – oftentimes wildlife tourism is the only shield that stands in the way of habitat loss through human encroachment. If local communities don’t directly benefit from wild places they will utilize the land otherwise eg. farmland, logging or mining – all of which are catastrophic for biodiversity.
- Presence – just being out there in these wilderness areas on activities is enough to deter poachers from the area with the risk of being spotted. There is a clear benefit to anti-poaching efforts simply by being present in an area.
- In 1930, as many as 10 million wild elephants, today there are just 415,000 elephants across Africa.
- Today, lions are extinct in 26 African countries, have vanished from over 95 percent of their historic range, and experts estimate that there are only about 20,000 left in the wild.
- Botswana has set aside 39% of its land as national parks and wildlife areas – a global leader in this field.
- The destruction of forests and other ecosystems undermines nature’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and protect against extreme weather impacts – accelerating climate change and increasing vulnerability to it.
The Perfect System
With the looming threats of biodiversity loss and climate change it is critically important for us humans to consider our holiday destinations and what impact our travels have on the environment.
We firmly believe that by going on an African safari you are contributing to the protection of iconic animal species and their habitats. You also contribute to the livelihoods of many local community members who in turn also look after their natural heritage.
It’s the perfect system where animals can continue to live and thrive in their wild spaces while the countries’ citizens benefit economically, thus ensuring the protection of their vulnerable biodiversity. This is critical for our fragile planets well-being.
How you can be an Eco-tourist
- Choose eco-friendly accommodation – this is where we come in!
- Avoid contributing to over-tourism.
- Use eco-friendly products (shampoos, soaps etc.)
- Avoid single use plastic.
- Consider staying longer in one area or country, avoiding multiple flights.
- Conserve water and energy.
- Consider travelling outside of the peak tourism season (ask us when is best!)
- Respect wild animals – don’t feed them or get too close.
Read more from our blog post on this here!
Be mindful when booking flights
When planning your eco-friendly African safari, how to get there might cause you sleepless nights. Unfortunately, for most of us flying is the only option to get there. But while we do not by any means dismiss the impact of flying, it is our firm belief that the conservation benefits of going on an eco-friendly safari outweigh these impacts.
When booking your flights, please consider the following:
- Try to avoid short-haul flights. According to NASA about 25% of airplane emissions occur during takeoff and landing. Flying non-stop rather than taking several connecting flights is the better option. The longer the distance, the more efficient flying becomes (cruising at altitude requires less fuel than any other stage of flying).
- Opt for newer airplane models and optimised flight paths (most booking sites give you such options). Also consider direct routes where possible.
- Consider carbon offsetting, but choose them wisely. Carbon offsets offer a way to balance out your pollution by investing in projects that reduce emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But not all of them are equal, so make sure to carefully research and select a reputable organisation.
Go Above and Beyond
If you want to make a larger contribution and have an even bigger positive impact on African biodiversity protection and local communities – consider making a donation to some of our favourite initiatives:
- Our very own RhinoLove Project
- Southern African Wildlife College
- African Parks
- Jane Goodall Institute
We also organise conservation safaris and activities where we sponsor special events that make a difference (one such special rhino notching event pictured on the left). If you would like to sponsor such an event please get in touch with our team!
We are passionate believers in safari guide training and highly recommend it to everyone. It is not only for those who seek to pursue the career path – many do it for an extended holiday and for enrichment reasons. One thing is for sure, the training teaches you far more than the skills needed to be a safari guide. The training also instills a deep connection with nature and introduces you to the multitude of threats faced by the natural world. Many students return home from the training bringing with them new values learned whilst on the course and applying these to conservation efforts locally.
Ready for an adventure? Lets Talk!
Contact safariFRANK to get started on your safari of a lifetime!