1st July 2010
The Luxury Channel looks at some of Africa’s environmentally conscious safari parks….
Going on a safari can be a once in a lifetime opportunity to spot Africa’s Big Five. Originally, going on safari meant hunting animals for sport, but today luckily it means just observing them. It’s not just about the majestic animals; often the stunning nature and landscapes are at the centre of the visitors’ attention.
The Amakhala Safari in the Eastern Cape comes highly recommended, with the slogan: “eco-travel in Africa makes a difference.” They have initiated the Amakhala Conservation Centre, and provide ecological information and research projects that aim to preserve nature’s ecological systems.
Bateleur Eco Safaris in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve on the edge of Kruger National Park promote harmony with nature. There is no electricity and natural fuels – wood is purchased from community-based projects. Staff are sourced locally. Over 200 indigenous trees have been planted in the camp area and they are committed to field restoration projects. In 2006, the owner Andreas Liebenberg won the conservation award for offering the most eco-sensitive and conservation-oriented safari in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.
The Bush Camp takes pride in being the only eco-lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve, near the border of Botswana. The Bush Camp offers an authentic experience, with meals prepared over an open fire. The camp prides itself on conserving the surrounding flora and fauna.
Today, the Mantis Group involves hotels in Europe and South America, but it started as a collection of lodges and camps in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The Mantis vision can be described as ‘‘conserving a vanishing way of life.’’ Its founder, Adrian Gardiner who grew up in Zimbabwe, has been given various awards, including the Green Leaf Environmental Standard, for bringing the exploited nature of Shamwari back to life in the early 1990s.
All of the Singita Group’s lodges and reserves have been built in line with their concept to ‘‘Touch the Earth Lightly.’’ The three pillars of Singita are sustainability, community and conservation. Singita is owned and overseen by Luke Bailes, who has become an authority on eco-tourism and community outreach projects. “The concept of fewer beds in larger areas ensures less impact on the environment and makes for up-close, intimate experiences for guests,” he says. The company also operates in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.