I recently spent three weeks travelling in Africa having some of the most amazing and fulfilling sustainable travel experiences of any of my travels to date. Let me share with you a little about why this trip was so different and so special to me.
For the first nine days, I travelled with Wilderness Safaris. They are a conservation company dedicated to protecting and rejuvenating wilderness in Africa, through tourism. What does that really mean? It means that their primary goal is to help restore any damages done to the African wilderness through conservation and education efforts. From supporting anti-poaching units to educating the local communities on harmful hunting practices, to tagging and researching elephants, wild dogs, rhinos and pangolins. To take it even further, they have spearheaded many national and international programs for conservation. They are leaders, not followers.
They have a wide variety of eco-friendly camps throughout Africa, most of which are built with a footprint so light that they could tear down the camps at any time, remove them and you’d never know they existed. I find this absolutely incredible.
When building these camps, every detail has been taken into consideration from where to place the structures, to the materials that are used, to not cutting trees or driving over delicate areas, to not blocking animal highways, to not putting harmful chemicals into the earth. Every single detail is done with the animals and the environment as a top priority. This is amazing!
I travelled with Wilderness Safaris and stayed at four of their eco-camps throughout Zambia & Zimbabwe. I find it hard to put into words what the experience is really like. Here is a quick list of my highlights from an amazing 9-day trip.
- Walking with endangered rhinos in Zambia
- Visiting Victoria Falls and exploring the park that surrounds the world’s largest sheet of falling water
- Travelling in 6 & 12 seat bush planes
- Staying at small eco-camps where often the number of staff outnumbered guests on site. Not only did this lend itself to exceptional service, but also to an extra feeling of remoteness, tranquillity and true African bush experience.
- Meeting, dining with and laughing with the staff, guides, chefs and waiters who were simply the best kind of people. People around the world are generally kind, caring and helpful, but the people of Zimbabwe go far beyond this.
- Incredible wildlife sightings including the endangered wild dog, hippos at sunset, leopards & cheetahs at the same kill sight, young lions playing in the early morning sun, elephants, elephants & more beautiful elephants!
- Visiting the Scorpions Anti-Poaching unit. Learning about the importance of their work, the very real dangers of their jobs and their strong mandate to educate the communities to stop illegal poaching practices.
- Visiting a local community in partnership with Children in the Wilderness where the Chief of the small town was one of the most welcoming, open-minded people I have ever met. He absolutely blew my (incorrect) expectations away.
If this kind of life-changing, perspective-altering trip to Africa is what you are seeking, let’s talk about the options that await in more than seven amazing African countries.