An African safari is a feature on many traveller's bucket lists, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see some of the most majestic and the rarest animals on the planet. However, it's common knowledge that many of these fascinating species that make up Africa's wildlife are endangered, some critically. So more than ever, it is vital that when travelling, we are travelling responsibly. There are many examples of ethical tourism which can be followed, whether this encompasses wildlife, the environment or local communities. To help your effort, we have put together some tips to consider when planning your African safari holiday.
Be aware that some safari companies still exploit animals as part of the tour. This can include riding elephants, or walking with lions. It is highly advised that you do not support any company that does this as these methods do not support animal welfare or conservation. We would also suggest avoiding off-road quad bikes as this can disturb the fragile flora across the surface. When travelling, it is best to opt for safari vehicles or walking safaris which are guided by an experienced and knowledgeable tour group. Furthermore, check the company's policy for game viewing practices, to ensure that they are conscious of minimising wildlife disturbance.
When booking a safari holiday, it is always important to question where your money is going and specifically who will the money be going to help. When it comes to wildlife conservation, the key behind its success is the supporting community involvement and integration. To ensure your safari supports local people, try to stay in a conservancy. These conservancies are managed by local communities or conservation charities, which means that even if the land is leased to safari companies, the locals still reap the benefits. Many luxury camps are located within such conservancies which also use advanced water systems, which conserve the local environment as well.
When choosing where to stay during your safari, search for areas of land where local communities are responsible for conservation efforts through providing sustainable tourism and farming. An important reminder that plastic bags are banned in both Rwanda and Kenya since August 2017 and so these will be confiscated from your luggage at the airport, so it would be wise to bring your own bags, made of a non-plastic material. It goes without saying, but avoid littering during your safari, especially on game reserves where the wildlife can be directly affected. Also, as tempting as it may be to take some of Africa's beautiful wildflowers home as a souvenir, refrain from picking any flowers, as these can be more essential than you may think in maintaining ecosystems.
There are three questions that you should ask when considering the conservation effort of the safari company you're looking to book with. Firstly, are they actively preserving endangered species? Secondly, do they have a sustainability scheme in place? And thirdly, do they have anti-poaching units on-site? To begin, question which species you are likely to see on this safari and are they found in this region naturally. If this species is endangered, ask if the company is involved in conservation efforts for them. You can ask questions such as if the animal is naturally bred or is it through human intervention. By asking these questions, you should have a good idea of whether or not the safari focusses on animal welfare and conservation.
Finally, look into the reserves efforts to stop poaching in their park. Poaching is still a huge problem in many African countries, especially when it comes to animals such as the black rhino and elephants. Ways in which the park you are visiting may be helping with the prevention of poachers is by increasing their monitoring efforts and hiring more rangers in the last few years. Tourists can help these efforts to stop poaching by visiting areas which are most affected such as Selous and Ruaha in Tanzania. where many elephants are hunted each year to gain profit from the ivory trade.
When travelling, it is always exciting to bring back souvenirs for your friends and family. However, when buying souvenirs, it is important to be conscious of what you are purchasing. Avoid purchasing souvenirs made of animal products such as ivory, shells or fur as this only increases the demand for this item. Instead, focus on purchasing hand made items from locals which are made from sustainable materials and will help to support the local community.
Looking to experience a once-in-a-lifetime safari adventure? Get in touch with us by calling 020 7843 3500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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