Safari


It is my, and I think a fairly widely held, contention that the safari tourism industry, which by general definition is based on experiencing wild places and wildlife, should be both ecologically responsible and proactive in conserving and protecting the wild areas and the wildlife on which it’s business depends. Those involved in safari tourism who do, should be recognised and supported.

As a source of information, or a means of assessment, for prospective travellers, there are numerous sources of reviews and opinions on safari tourism products as well as a plethora of “Awards” supposedly recognising the “Best” of everything from guides to vehicles to bed linen. Some of the reviews and awards are well researched and are an accurate reflection of the quality of the recipients product. Others, I would suggest, should be treated with some caution by potential visitors.

With the growing awareness of the environmental and social responsibilities of the tourism industry, there are a number of “Responsible Tourism” organisations that also provide assessments of establishments, operators and other businesses in the tourism industry. In some African countries some form of grading is applied by the government or an affiliated organisation. It is worth taking cognisance of the gradings achieved by safari establishments, but a check of the credibility of the assessor and the basis on which the grading was awarded, is to be recommended. 

Whenever one travels through the more remote and wilder areas of Africa interesting experiences are a given, and impressions of people and places are inevitably formed as a result. It has been my good fortune to have travelled through much of Southern Africa and to been involved with the development of, and to have experienced the hospitality of, safari lodges, camps and mobile operations throughout. Now when I travel, I record some of these experiences and impressions with the intention, firstly, of relating what may be an interesting story; and, secondly, of passing on information, which may be of interest and pertinent, to other travellers looking to wander in similar directions.

The essence of a quality wildlife safari, in my opinion, whether provided by a lodge or camp, by a mobile operator or undertaken independently, lies in the diversity and intimacy of the experience of both the landscape and the wildlife that inhabits it. The quality of the accommodation one chooses should reflect “value for money” at whatever end of the luxury scale it is provided. There can, however, be no compromise on the attitude of, and level of service provided by, an operator of the product - including the facilities and products managed by the public sector.


                                

Sketches by Lin Barrie - Zimbabwean wildlife artist and conservationist
(
https://www.facebook.com/lin.barrie ; www.wildlifeandwilddogs.wordpress.com)

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Conservation Safaris

For those who might want to “go behind the scenes”, small group safaris are run in Namibia by Ultimate Safaris (www.ultimatesafaris.na) in support of the Conservation Travel Foundation (CTF)* (www.conservationtravelfoundation.org), which take you to visit wildlife conservation and rural development projects, meet the people involved and, in some cases, participate in the conservation and development activities. Only projects and programmes that have been assessed by, and/or are supported by, CTF are included in the itinerary. The exclusive access and insight which these safaris offer, comes with a premium over and above the basic cost of the safari. That premium is donated, in full, to the Foundation for use on the projects which are visited. While only the best lodges or camps are included in an itinerary; this does not necessarily mean urban luxury in the bush, but rather refers to the quality of experience and service without compromising on comfort. Travel is in custom 4x4 vehicles and, occasionally, in light aircraft.

*  I am a Trustee of the Conservation Travel Foundation

                         

                                  Giraffe Research - Tracking Collar                                                        Staff Accommodation, Grootberg Primary School
                                        Damaraland, Namibia                                                                                          Damaraland, Namibia

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These two essays, “ Extraordinary Safari” and “Travels to the Hinterland”, are a bit of history. The accounts were written as a blog while on two trips through Namibia and Zimbabwe in March 2013 and Zimbabwe in August / September 2013. Five years later (August 2018) these posts continue to serve as an incentive for me to pack the camp gear and return to the bush!

Extraordinary Safari                                                       David Peddie                              March 2013 / August 2017

Travels to the Hinterland                                                 David Peddie                              August 2013 / August 2017

Curriculum Vitae                                                   Conservation    Community    Commerce    Culture                                      © David Peddie 2017