Have you ever wondered what the environmental effects are of your African safari? Take time to reflect – while Africa has its share of incredible luxury lodges and exciting wildlife experiences, the continent is the world’s poorest, and its ecosystem is beset by all manner of challenges. So, if you’re thinking of going to Africa soon, consider an eco-friendly holiday. These are holidays organized by operators and lodges actively promoting responsible and sustainable tourism.
If you need help planning an eco-conscious trip in Africa, here are some places to consider.
Best Places for Eco-Conscious Travel in Africa
When it comes to sustainable safaris in Africa, no other place does it better than the Kalahari, a vast desert in Southern Africa, considered the best place to view cheetahs in the wild. Its wide-open landscapes allow you to easily spot cheetahs, as well as black-maned lions, leopards, and the endangered African wild dogs.
The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, a privately-owned game reserve, is dedicated to restoring former farmlands into a state of pristine wilderness. Tswalu is deeply committed to the people and works hard to help the community by improving health and providing training, education, and career opportunities. More importantly, they aim to protect endangered species, such as the Kalahari lions and black rhinos. In fact, they have participated in groundbreaking research on critically threatened species such as the pangolin.
The sustainability journey of Tswalu is focused on four key areas – community, conservation, commerce, and culture. It supports numerous research projects geared towards the preservation of wildlife species within the Kalahari ecosystem. These research projects play a key role in discovering the fascinating aspects of the Kalahari and its incredible biodiversity.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is one of Africa’s most famous wildlife reserves. It’s home to incredible animal species, including zebras, elephants, lions, hippos, and cheetahs. Maasai Mara is also an ideal destination for those who want to go a step further by volunteering at wildlife conservation projects in Kenya.
When going for an eco-safari in the Maasai Mara, Campi ya Kanzi is highly recommended. It’s an ecotourism lodge that aims to protect the Maasai community. Campi ya Kanzi is famous for providing one of Africa’s most inspiring and unique safari experiences. Lying along Kenya’s Chyulu Hills, it opens to the stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro. This award-winning eco-lodge offers guests inspiring and environmentally conscious safari experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
Offering 5-star services, luxury lodging, first-class amenities, thrilling adventures, and fun wildlife encounters, Campi ya Kanzi is committed to supporting the local Maasai people. In fact, more than 95% of its staff are from the local community. The camp aims for a zero-carbon footprint and leverages the benefits of ecotourism in protecting the local environment while preserving the Maasai culture at the same time.
The Okavango Delta features an incredible maze of sparkling lagoons, overgrown islands, and meandering channels teeming with wildlife. Located in Botswana, it’s an ideal destination for ecotourism safari and one of the safest destinations in Africa. As a nation, Botswana has been promoting a high-cost, low-impact tourism industry. It has placed some policies to encourage eco-friendly accommodations while maximizing financial benefits to the local people and ensuring ecological sustainability in its tourism industry. The government continues to deliver policies that promote sustainability in the tourism industry, a major employer in rural Botswana.
Lying at the heart of the Kalahari Desert, the crystal-clear channels of Okavango Delta spread over the riverbanks and floating islands of the Kalahari. Cheetahs, leopards, lions, and African wild dogs have inhabited the Okavango Delta, along with large herds of buffalo and elephants. Meanwhile, hippos are hiding in the delta’s lagoons and deeper channels.
Spend your nights at the comfort of one of the eco-friendly safari lodges and sustainable camps within the Okavango Delta. Certified by the Botswana Ecotourism Certification System, which encourages responsible tourism, these lodges and camps are guaranteed eco-friendly.
Cape Town is South Africa’s second-largest city and an ideal destination for family holidays. However, the city can get quite expensive, so proper planning and determining the total cost of travel to Cape Town is highly recommended, especially for budget travelers.
Famous for its breathtaking landscapes, beautiful harbor, and vibrant neighborhoods, one of the most eco-friendly things to do in Cape Town is to explore its communities and support local businesses. In doing so, you’re helping to uplift the regional economy while gaining some insight into the local’s way of living. Check out the “Neighbourgoods Market”, which has fantastic local food and wine displays.
Your trip to Cape Town won’t be complete without a visit to the Table Mountain National Park, a beautiful national park home to more than 250 species of wildlife, including porcupines, baboons, tortoises, mongooses, snakes, and a rare endemic species of amphibians, the Table Mountain ghost frog. Table Mountain is also an ideal place for picnic and hiking. There are also beaches nearby where you can swim or enjoy a scenic walk.
Each year, thousands of mountain climbers from around the world would head to Tanzania to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro. As the tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro entices nature lovers with its spectacular landscape views, unique animal species, and lush vegetation.
For mountaineers who prefer an ecotourism experience in Mount Kilimanjaro, the Lemosho trail comes highly recommended. Lemosho is a favored route for climbers due to its low traffic, scenic views, and high summit success rate. The other trails suitable for ecotourism trekking in Mount Kilimanjaro are the Northern circuit and the Rongai route Mawenzi Saddle.
Kilimanjaro National Park is one of the well-maintained and cleanest mountains in the world. There are park rangers who take great care in ensuring that no one leaves any trash behind. The rangers will weigh the bags of everyone entering and leaving the park and fine those whose bags have become too light after the hike. Moreover, there’s a limit of seven trails in the mountain with no roads. There are also outhouses in each route to keep wastes off the trail. So, even if thousands of people trek Mount Kilimanjaro every year, the trails remain pristine.