With today’s tourist market demanding more sustainable and responsible options than ever, sporting some impressive green credentials is a sure way for any holiday spot to boost their appeal. And the creative thinking that goes hand in hand with finding ways to combine luxury with ecofriendly and socially responsible tourism really adds something truly special to the eco safari experience.
If you want your next African safari to double as a great escape as well as a way to support local communities and conserve the environment all at once, then read on for some of our favorites spots!
Most unique budget-friendly option – Botswana’s Oddball Enclave experience:
Because the Okavango Delta provides such an excellent opportunity for carbon-free game viewing via their famous Mokoro dugout canoes, it’s an excellent choice for those wanting to lower their carbon footprint. To add to this, the entire lodge of the Oddball’s Enclave is also solar powered! The unique and slightly bizarre lodgings here, which consist of tents raised up on wooden platforms to minimize any permanent damage to the local soil, helps the lodge live up to its name.
The camp is located on a small island just off the south-western edge of Chiefʼs Island. This puts it right in the heart of the Okavango on the border of the famous Moremi Game Reserve. One of the biggest highlights is the camp’s experienced local guide, who will guide you on walking or canoe safaris and share his intimate knowledge of the area. This is a really unique way to enjoy one of Africa’s most diverse and beautiful wildlife destinations.
Madagascar Eco Boat Safari:
This 10-day safari is an excellent option for parents wanting to instill a love of and respect for nature in their kids, or for those who want a more hands-on eco experience. You’ll spend 10 days aboard a beautiful 50ft catamaran, touring the remote islands and villages of this stunning part of the world.
You’ll have the opportunity to meet, interact with and have a game of beach soccer with the locals, hand out school and sports supplies to local schools, and even assist with valuable species surveys during the forest walks and snorkeling activities! It’s the perfect combination of island getaway and a chance to make a positive difference on your holiday.
Camel walking and horse riding safaris in Kenya:
If you’re up for a holiday that will leave you a bit fitter than when you started, one of Kenya’s popular camel walking tours is an amazing way to experience Africa. Your caravan of camels will trek ahead of the walking group, carrying the equipment for your night’s camping. While you’ll need a certain degree of fitness, the aim of this safari is to see as much wildlife as possible, so the guides make sure to set a relaxed pace and stop frequently for refreshments! There will even be a hot shower waiting for!
If you’re used to the kinds of wildlife you see on a 4×4 game drive, then a walking safari can really open your eyes to all the smaller creatures which are so easily missed from a vehicle. It’s a great opportunity to experience the flora, insects, small mammals and birdlife of the African bush.
If that all sounds like a bit too much exercise for your liking, a horseback safari is another great option! The truly magical thing about viewing game on horseback is that they see you as one of them, meaning you can really get up close and mingle with the herds of zebra and antelope – and of course, it’s an exceptionally low carbon way to travel, too!
Fair Trade Safari experience, South Africa:
Home to the legendary Kruger National Park and the breathtaking wine country of Cape Town, South Africa remains one of the world’s favorite safari destinations. With various national parks to choose from, it’s an excellent choice if you want to see the Big Five in the wild, participate in cultural and educational tours, or support the sustainable tourism market. If you’re looking for a bit of luxury and pampering on your safari, then South Africa also boasts the highest standards for tourist facilities on the continent!
Some destinations really take their obligation towards the natural environment seriously, and Chobe is at the forefront of this movement. In 2014, Chobe Game Lodge launched Africa’s first ever CO2-free silent electric fleet of 4×4 game drive vehicles and safari boats. In 2015, they launched their revolutionary autonomous solar powered safari boat, and the lodge is constantly adding more solar utilities to all of their buildings. Guests are amazed at the silent experience of the game drives and river cruises, which allow you to really experience the music of the African bush in all its glory.