Wildlife conservation and beyond

February 7th 2020  |   Conservation Safaris, Miscellaneous  |  by   Charlotte Opperman
Wildlife conservation

‘Eco’ and ‘conservation’ are big words in the safari industry right now, with camps and lodges keenly aware of the need to protect the delicate environments in which they operate.  There are myriad interesting schemes on the ground – the following is just a small snapshot of some that have caught our eye recently.

Solar-powered brewery, Tanzania

Asilia Tanzania run superb camps in East Africa and the company has been carbon neutral since 2009.  Its latest innovation; the world’s first solar-powered microbrewery in the bush, will be sited at the new look Sayari Camp, re-opening June 2020 in the northern Serengeti.  It’s a joint venture in partnership with Swedish brewery start-up Wayout, and will make beer and soft drinks, as well as purifying water and producing sparkling water.  Without the need to bring plastic bottles and aluminium cans into camp, they’ll not only reduce waste but cut down on transport too.  The brewery will create four unique beers for Asilia – perfect for safari sundowners.

An artists’ impression of the new bar at Sayari, complete with brewery specials on the blackboard!

An artists’ impression of the new bar at Sayari, complete with brewery specials on the blackboard!

Silent safari, Zambia

With accommodation in four human sized birds’ nests raised into the trees, Chisa Busanga Camp already looks like one of the more intriguing lodge openings in 2020.  Add to this that the completely solar powered camp will conduct all wildlife drives in electric vehicles and you’ve got something quite exceptional.  Guests will cruise silently across the Busanga Plains enjoying the wildlife and undisturbed by the rumble or carbon emissions of a diesel powered safari vehicle.

View over Busanga Plain from one of Chisa Busanga's 'birds' nest' tents

View over Busanga Plain from one of Chisa Busanga’s ‘birds’ nest’ tents

Research and community focus on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast

Supporting local communities goes a very long way to preserving the habitat, landscapes and wildlife we love on safari.  So the community joint venture at Hoanib Skelton Coast Camp – with tourism benefiting local people in the area – also caught our attention.   That’s not all, as it’s also a centre for research and conservation of the desert-adapted lion and hyena.  A wonderful spot for a real desert experience there’s a surprising wealth of animals found along the nearby riverbed’s narrow ribbon of vegetation

Desert adapted elephants near Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Desert adapted elephants near Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Gorilla conservation and habitat restoration, Rwanda

Bisate Lodge in Rwanda combines the bucket-list gorilla trek with a pioneering reforestation project and a community partnership. The latter has seen over 50% of its staff recruited from the surrounding area.

The reforestation of over 100 acres, which began in 2017, has already helped the recovery of endemic birds and butterflies, with several mammal species also returning.

It’s this combination of reforestation, community engagement, authentic cultural experiences, and eco-friendly operational systems, that takes Bisate guests well beyond the ‘gorilla express’, really enriching the experience of this extraordinary place.

The plant nursery at Bisate Lodge

The plant nursery at Bisate Lodge

Magnificent re-wilding, South Africa

Samara Private Game Reserve is the glorious result of the re-wilding of 11 run down livestock farms, across a variety of ecosystems, spanning 67,000 acres in the Karoo.   Locally extinct indigenous species have been re-introduced; among which the first cheetah for 130 years, elephant after 200 and lion after 180 years.  Others, particularly leopard and vulture have returned of their own accord.  Samara’s re-wilding mission is a fascinating part of the guest experience, with access to wildlife conservation work being undertaken a key part of any stay here.

Cheetah are one of several species to have been successfully reintroduced at Samara

Cheetah are one of several species to have been successfully reintroduced at Samara

Elephant Express – School buses in Botswana

Visitors to Mapula Lodge in the Okavango Delta will be benefiting a new scheme which provides buses to safely transport children to school on a stretch of land used heavily by elephants.  In the first initiative of its kind in the Delta, the two buses were launched in January with the aim of reducing the risk of fatalities from unexpected human/elephant interaction.  They are adorned with beautiful illustrations of elephants and will be equipped with educational material to relay the message that it is possible to find ways for human and wildlife populations to live side by side.  During the school day, the buses are used to transport clinic patients and doctors.  Natural Selection, the safari company that runs Mapula Lodge is working alongside Uncharted Africa and the Okavango Community Trust to run the buses.

One of the new ‘elephant express’ school buses

Any questions?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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