For eco-conscious travelers, a safari can be an incomparable experience. Not only does it put you in touch with some of the rarest and most spectacular nature the world has to offer, but it can also spur action. Seeing endangered species and protected habitats up close is the best motivation to do your part to keep it all around. Many people have become prominent environmental activists after going sightseeing in exotic countries, which is why sustainable safari experiences are so important. Additionally, going on safari tours and game treks helps to support a responsible tourism industry that in turn helps to keep the parks and reserves viable.
If you take the time to look around, you’ll find seemingly limitless opportunities to go on safaris big and small, all around Africa. Some stand out more than others, however, and these are four of the best.
1. Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta in Botswana doesn’t get as much attention as some of the other areas and countries we’ll list here, but it’s a perfect inclusion on this list because of the presence of an incredible new eco-resort. While it’s a very expensive place to stay, the Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge is just the sort of place so many of us want to support. It was built with biodegradable materials (primarily pine, in terms of the larger constructions), and 70 percent of the lodge’s energy is sustainably generated.
As for the delta itself, it’s comprised primarily of expansive field lands in northern Botswana, though seasonal flooding makes it an ideal habitat for a range of wild animals. Trekking on land through the Moremi Game Reserve will expose you to elephants, big cats, giraffes, and rhinoceros, and in some cases you can also take a water safari through which you’ll find yourself up close with crocodiles and hippos (and still able to catch glimpses of some of the land animals).
2. Masai Mara, Kenya
Kenya may just have an argument as the most popular country in Africa for safari-related attention – though neighboring Uganda and Tanzania have some pretty excellent options as well. Because of this, you aren’t typically looking at a single safari option when you research a trip to Kenya – rather, you could be looking at a whole selection of tours run in different styles and through different specific areas. That said, the Masai Mara game reserve, which is connected to the more famous Serengeti National park in Tanzania, is the most renowned area for safaris. While the area is not known for rhinos, you’ll see just about every other sort of wild animal you associate with the African wild – including, potentially, cheetahs and zebras, which aren’t always present in other famous game reserve areas.
The people in this area are very concerned about preserving the environment. The government has listened to their concerns and tried to respond to them.
3. Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa
Pilanesberg National Park may come up most frequently because of its close proximity to Africa’s biggest and best casino resort. In current times the internet poses a legitimate threat to these kinds of establishments. Digital casinos offer bonuses that come in all shapes and sizes and now cover just about every kind of gaming imaginable. Sun City Resort is something of a massive oasis of real-world entertainment answering back, however – a palace-like complex of casinos, hotels, pools, and golf courses. Thus, as you might imagine, it attracts a lot of visitors. And it also happens to offer access to Pilanesberg National Park for safaris.
This is a wondrous park established inside a massive, extinct volcanic crater. You’ll have a chance to see big cats, elephants, and rhinos as well all roving within a lush and varied habitat helped along by a man-made (but pretty) lake. Safaris are run by multiple companies in the area, as well as straight from the resort, and you can generally pick and choose the sort of experience you’d like, from one day of easy trekking and viewing to multiple days out in the park.
Transportation in this area is primarily done on vehicles that leave a very small environmental footprint. It is great for people that care about eco-preservation.
4. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Zambia seems to be trending up as a safari destination of late and is frequently mentioned as one of the countries to strongly consider if you want to take a trip like this for the first time. We wouldn’t argue, particularly given the wonders of South Luangwa National Park. Located in eastern Zambia in the Luangwa River Valley, it’s about as thoroughly packed with fascinating wildlife as any other area in Africa, at least that humans can freely visit. Along the river, through the fields, and in the woodlands, you’ll stand a good chance of seeing all of the animals you’re curious about – including even the Rhodesian Giraffe, a subspecies that exists exclusively in this valley, and of which there may only be a few hundred left. This will inspire you to make the changes in your life needed to protect their environment and save these creatures.