Many of the finest wildlife areas in Botswana have been turned into enormous private reserves, protecting the land and water from development, and ensuring that the animals, birds, and plants living there can thrive. Each of these reserves is leased to a high-quality safari company which has to abide by strict rules about numbers of guests, construction of camps, and the conduct of safari activities. Just staying on the concessions directly contributes to conservation efforts as it provides them with their core income stream. The result is top quality very private safari experiences in pristine settings, and an inspirational model of sustainable tourism that other countries would do well to follow.
South Africa has already taken note of what’s happening in Botswana, and moved dozens of its rhino here for protection. Known as Rhinos Without Borders, some 100 rhino have already been translocated by air and road from densely populated areas where they are at risk of poaching. In their new homes in Botswana, they can roam completely free, whilst still being tracked by researchers and protected discreetly by armed guards. Botswana, rightly, has a zero tolerance policy on poaching, so the new arrivals have a much better chance of survival. Now settled, the rhino are breeding, further strengthening numbers.
Rhino, although high profile, are by no means the only conservation focus in Botswana. At Jack’s Camp there is an important brown hyena research project. There are just 8,000 of these special hunters left in the world, so scientists must study them to better understand why numbers are falling and what we can do to save them. If you visit Abu Camp, you’ll have the opportunity to walk with the semi habituated herd of elephant - a truly moving privilege which no guest ever forgets. The core of the herd are orphans or elephants rescued from captivity, who are now living their best life in the stunning, safe surroundings of the Okavango Delta.