The impact of Covid-19 on conservation efforts across Africa has been marked, with funding to important initiatives devastated by the pandemic. With programmes struggling to survive, many camps and lodges are offering more to inspire guests to engage and learn what goes on behind the scenes, how game reserves work and what conservation really entails. With specialist Africa tour operator, Aardvark Safaris, reporting a significant increase in clients looking for hands on experiences, to not only enjoy a memorable safari holiday, but to travel with purpose and to make a real impact, this conservation-based focus looks set to feature prominently in the future.
Alice Gully, co-owner of Aardvark Safaris says, “this is not a trend, but something that is here to stay. The camps and lodges we work with already have conservation at their core and are now ensuring this is a part of the safari experience for guests too, promoting an increased awareness and appreciation of the world as well as the challenges of protecting it.”
New conservation focused safaris for 2021:
NEW: 11-day Conservation Crusade Safari, Kenya
This 11-day ‘discover conservation’ safari combines some of the most exclusive and spectacular safari destinations in Kenya. Among conservation focused activities are the opportunity to participate in the first black rhino tracking experience in East Africa, in Africa’s first community owned and run conservancy, a behind-the-scenes look at award-winning conservation efforts, and meeting the tribal inhabitants of Samburu, Lewa and the Masai Mara, whose traditional ways remain relatively untouched.
Available through Aardvark Safaris from £7,115 per person. Cost includes full board accommodation at Saruni Samburu (two nights), Saruni Rhino (two nights), Elewana Kifaru House (three nights), Richard’s River Camp (three nights), internal transfers, and safari activities. To book, contact Aardvark Safaris www.aardvarksafaris.com / 01980 849160
NEW: Marataba Rhino Week, South Africa – August 2021
A stay at either of the two newly opened Marataba Conservation Camps is focused on balancing tourism with nature, with active participation in conservation projects a key focus.
In August 2021 Marataba Conservation Camps’ two ‘rhino weeks’ will offer an exhilarating way for guests to be directly involved in a host of rhino-focused conservation activities. South Africa’s Waterberg Biosphere Reserve (of which Marataba is part) is home to a globally important population of rhino and the second largest in South Africa. Monitoring this population and understanding their territory is essential to the conservation of these animals, and a stay during one of the rhino weeks guarantees guests’ involvement in a series of rhino notching, DNA collection and monitoring activities.
Available through Aardvark Safaris from £1,760 per person based on four travelling. Arrival dates are fixed for 9th and 12thAugust for three nights. Includes three nights’ full board accommodation at Marataba Explorer’s Camp, safari activities and rhino conservation activities. To book, contact Aardvark Safaris www.aardvarksafaris.com / 01980 849160
NEW: Into The Wild Experience at Kwandwe, South Africa
This four-night expedition offers the chance to reconnect with the outdoors and learn how real-life conservation works on the ground. Based at Kwandwe’s recently opened Galpin Tented Camp, the experience is designed to teach guests the skills required to survive in the bush, alongside hands-on conservation activities. Ultimately, the experience is aimed at promoting an increased awareness and appreciation of the natural world and the challenges of protecting it. With 22,000 hectares of untamed wilderness to explore this is a wonderful location to disconnect with the modern world and reconnect with nature.
Available through Aardvark Safaris from £960 per person per four night expedition (min 16 years). Includes full board accommodation and safari activities. To book, contact Aardvark Safaris www.aardvarksafaris.com / 01980 849160
NEW: Conservation Activities at Luambe Conservation Project, Zambia
Luambe Camp’s recent rebranding as Luambe Conservation Project reflects guests’ active participation in conservation efforts during a stay here. Among experiences designed to connect guests to the local wildlife are bird tagging and identification, understanding hippo communication, recording bat data, and participating in the large carnivore monitoring project. During wildlife drives and walks guests are actively encouraged to record sightings of large mammal and bird species – either manually with pen and map, or through the camp’s wildlife monitoring app. These records form an important part of the camp’s data, monitoring the status of wildlife populations in the area.
Available through Aardvark Safaris from £375 per person per night. Cost includes full board accommodation and safari activities. To book, contact Aardvark Safaris www.aardvarksafaris.com / 01980 849160
NEW: Impact Experiences at Cottar’s Safaris, Kenya
Conservation and sustainability have long been at the heart of operations at Cottar’s safari camps. The impact of Covid-19 has given the Cottar family the time and opportunity to contemplate issues that matter to them most and to develop a collection of safari experiences which give an insight into the complex and unique biodiversity that surrounds the camp, and the local Masai community.
New impact experiences include participating in the vulture rehabilitation and the Mara Predator Project, joining the Mara Elephant Project for half a day, spending time with the only all-female conservation unit in the Masai Mara, medicinal walks, foraging, and identification walks.
Available through Aardvark Safaris from £645 per person per night. Cost includes full board accommodation at Cottar’s Conservation Camp and safari activities. To book, contact Aardvark Safaris www.aardvarksafaris.com / 01980 849160