Protecting Wildlife Through Safari Adventures
By Luke Dowley
As a child, everyone dreams of exploring the wild African savanna. Sleeping under an unbroken canopy of stars, venturing through jungles and planes, and coming face to face with some of the world’s most majestic animals in their natural habitat might make up some of these dreams.
Africa is the real-life home to the countless lions and elephants of our cherished childhood movies and storybooks. However, with the continuous rise of poaching in many of Africa’s national parks, these iconic and beautiful beasts of the savanna are in serious danger.
Working with its many travel partners, the S.A.F.E. Campaign, a new initiative from the Bodhi Tree Foundation, has introduced a collection of conservation-based itineraries to protect the future of Africa’s elephants through exciting and rewarding opportunities for adventure.
With the many Safari opportunities to be found across the extensive landscape of Africa, it is becoming increasingly important for travelers to take part in adventures that are working to protect the Animals, rather than displaying them purely for profit.
These conservation tours take the next step and directly connect their guests with their tireless work, giving travelers much more than the experience of a quick elephant ride or a snapshot with their favorite exotic animal.
While S.A.F.E. features many safaris in their collection, I’ve highlighted two that provide very unique opportunities to join the fight in conservation, while catering to travelers of any age or experience.
The Ultimate South African Rhino Safari
Presented by OutsideGo, this 11-day Safari adventure across South Africa is perfect for the active traveler looking for an authentic emersion into the world of tracking and protecting one of the worlds most endangered species.
The trip begins in Johannesburg where, after being assisted to your accommodations at the City Lodge, you will enjoy a day of exploration in the city.
The next day you’re off into the wild, beginning with the Timbavati Reserve before heading for the Kruger National Park. Enjoying a sunrise with friends while out in the bush
“It’s hard to understand the reality of how soul enriching traveling [here] is until you are face to face with a rhino” explains Sandy Cunningham, president of Outside Go. “talking to rangers and trackers, coming into close contact with the rhinos… no story or article can come close to witnessing it first hand”
This trip is designed to do exactly that, bring you as close as you can to these powerful and brilliant creatures and be an integral part of protecting their livelihood and survival.
All of the guides are incredibly knowledgeable, most with over 10 years of experience in the bush, and will teach the ins and outs of Rhino preservation with passion and enthusiasm. All meals and accommodations are taken care of for you, providing the maximum amount of time for exploration and leisure.
. The sleeping accommodations during the safaris are modeled after what was used by early explorer’s of the area while providing an extraordinary level of comfort. While in Kruger, you are given the option to sleep on an elevated platform under the stars, which is not available at any other camp in the park.
After a week of working closely with the rhino’s in the wild, the final two days of the trip are spent at Melton Manor at Kwandwe, where you will be able to unwind in luxurious accommodations and participate in a rhino-darting-and-notching program.
This adventure is much more than the average guided safari and will be sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
Orphaned Elephants in Kenya
For those who are looking for a more relaxed excursion into the world of wildlife conservation, Epic Road offers the Maasai Wilderness and Elephant Conservation Safari in southwestern Keyna.
For this journey, you will be working directly with a local tribe in the area around Campi ya Kanzi, as well as Ithumba Camp, a site where young orphaned elephants are being reintroduced back into the wild.
The highlight of this trip is the truly luxurious nature of the accommodations at Campi ya Kanzi, looking out over the grassy foothills of the Chyulu Hills in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The camp’s tented suites are modeled with deep respect to the surrounding environment and built using only local materials. Solar power provides you and up to 16 guests with clean energy, while you’re not enjoying the sunset and sunrise over the towering mountains in the distance.
The Maasai Wilderness and Elephant Conservation Safari also come with the option to take to the sky and observe the beauty of the land from a small plane, landing to eat a picnic lunch in the bush.
These two programs are just a small taste of the many adventures featured in The S.A.F.E. Travel collection. Also featured are many programs located in the strikingly beautiful territories of Botswana, Namibia, and Tanzania.
As I am sure anyone who has also been to any of these regions will agree, If you haven’t experienced the wonder that Africa holds yet, it really should be next on your list. I promise you will return home already plotting the next trip back.
For more information on these and other programs, visit the S.A.F.E Website
Luke Dowley is the owner of a drone photography business in Amherst, Mass.