As humans, we are part of an ecosystem. What we do matters, and if we try to exclude ourselves from the picture, everything else will ultimately falter and fall. This is one of the reasons that when you go on an Africa Exclusive safari, we encourage you not only to be aware of the local communities, but to actively engage with them.
Many of the most exciting lodges and camps we work with are on lands leased from, or built in partnership with, local villages. Not only do they have an intimate knowledge of the surrounding landscape and wildlife — and thus make the best guides — but they also have a vested interest in conserving their homeland for future generations. The Olare Orok Conservancy in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is a prime example: no fewer than 277 Maasai landowners have come together to create and protect this reserve.
When you explore with local rangers and guides, visit their villages, and sit together around the campfire at night, you hear first-hand stories that have been passed down through families. This helps keep traditions alive. You learn to observe your environment in a different way, to appreciate life from a new perspective. Such lessons enrich your safari experience immeasurably.
At Islands of Siankaba and Tongabezi Lodge close to Victoria Falls in Zambia, all the staff are from local villages. Tourism is vital for the economy, and Zambians are wonderful hosts.
Dunia Camp in the Serengeti in Tanzania is run by a female staff, and at Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana all the guides are women. This challenges traditional gender roles and inspires young women, too.
Join the Hadzabe tribal community at Mwiba Lodge in Tanzania or the Himba people at Serra Cafema in Namibia, and learn to see the world through their eyes.
Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya is the only community owned project of its kind in Kenya. You can get here easily from Saruni Rhino Camp.
Stay at Sarara Camp and you’ll have the chance to hear the Samburu singing wells. Each tribe has a unique song that they sing to their cattle.