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Ritzy safari adventures for the eco-conscious

Megan Wilkins

Contributor

Imagine waking up to the earthy smell of the bushveld, with warm air gently blowing as you step out onto your balcony to see the sun rise over rolling plains. There is very little in life as gratifying for the soul as the true wild majesty of an African safari. Experience the earth-shaking call of the lion as it begins the evening hunt. Or marvel at the power and restraint of the earth’s gentle giants, as the elephants greet the dawn. Going on safari is one of the most beautiful and exclusive experiences one can have, and now you can do so in a way that gives back to the land and helps to conserve these remarkable creatures.

Abu Camp - Botswana

Renowned for its attention to detail and all-out luxury, Abu Camp in Botswana invites you to experience life in the bush as the elephants do. Named after a famous bull elephant, Abu is focused on conservation, with a deep understanding of the importance of Africa’s gentle giants.

Set in deep riverine forests, the camp is staged with an exquisite backdrop, and a view of a large lagoon - perfect for evening game viewing with a gin and tonic. With luxury tents and en-suite bathrooms attached, you will have every creature comfort. Indoor and outdoor showers, and a copper bath and plunge-pool, complete the experience as you sink into warm water at the end of a fulfilling day.

Abu Camp offers many unique activities, from wilderness hikes to traditional Mokoro rides down the Okavango Delta, you are sure to have close encounters with some of Africa’s most beautiful animals. Watch the hippos blow bubbles under the water, and learn about the intricate family groups within the elephant herds, as the sun rises on another beautiful day.

Shamwari Game Reserve - South Africa

This game farm is a known favourite amongst A-list celebrities, and upon entering the area, it is very clear as to why. Home to South Africa’s “Big Five”, this Game Reserve is focused on protecting the natural fauna and flora of the Eastern Cape. With a drive towards rehabilitating formerly captive lions, the care and love put into their conservation is clearly evident.

Shamwari means “my friend”, and the level of service truly lives up to its namesake. From the moment you arrive, you are welcomed into the family and led to one of their five-star lodges. With a specific emphasis on the Born Free Big Cat Foundation, you will experience the joy and humility that comes from working with these proud and regal creatures.

Shamwari is home to all manner of wildlife, and they offer local-inspired nature adventures. From private game drives to “kids on safari’, every member of the family can immerse themselves in this exclusive experience. Bird lovers can enjoy guided walks with experienced ornithologists, while others lounge by the waterhole with warthogs in the afternoon. Drift off to sleep in comfort, while the lions begin their night time hunt, knowing that the next morning will bring new and exciting opportunities in the veld. 

Donyo Lodge - Kenya

Set on the Mbirikani Group Ranch, ol Donyo Lodge plays host to contemporary living, steeped in the rich and ancient traditions of the Maasai. This lodge takes a different approach to conservation, investing in the local community, as opposed to the animals directly. The lodge leases the land from the Maasai people, who conserve and protect their local wildlife and ecology.

Situated in the foothills of the Chyulus, ol Donyo provides impressive views over the plains to Mount Kilimanjaro. With unique chalets and villas on offer, no two experiences are the same. They provide unmatched luxury and comfort, while maintaining the “wild” feel of an African safari. One of their most unique experiences is the chance to “sleep under a canopy of stars” in one of their secure outdoor beds.

Beyond the 4x4 game drives, ol Donyo offers horse riding through the park, mountain biking, animal tracking, and community outreach programs. One of the most fulfilling experiences at this lodge is connecting with the Maasai people. This is one of those rare times where you actually get to see how conservation helps to uplift the animals it protects and the community to which those animals are so important. 

Royal Malewane Lodge - South Africa

If decadence and lavishness are what you seek in a safari, then look no further than the Royal Malewane Lodge in Thornybush Private Game Reserve. Every detail has been designed to delight and enthrall guests. This lodge offers some of the most spectacular Big Five sightings, all made possible by two Master trackers and a team of experienced game rangers.

With an emphasis on privacy, Royal Malewane provides helicopters or jets to guests who wish to remain “incognito” for the duration of their stay. With the option of a suite that comes with a private chef and masseur, every moment of your visit will be one of complete relaxation. They even have a secure plunge pool that is known to be frequented by elephants. The lodge’s spa offers outdoor treatments for soul rejuvenation and stress-melting relaxation.

Persian rugs aside, Royal Malewane plays an important role in the conservation of Thornybush Private Game Reserve, with a particular focus on the native lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhino. The dedicated team of game rangers works closely with national game rangers to assist in anti-poaching efforts. 

Porini Lion Camp - Kenya

This eco-friendly safari offers a more authentic experience of wild Kenya. Found in a breathtaking setting on the banks of the Ntiakatiak River, and offering a limited number of limited luxury tents, you are assured of a truly unspoilt and “away from it all” safari visit. With unmatched game sightings, and exclusive activities, you are sure to get the full African experience.

Walk the reserve with the Maasai warriors and learn about their ancient traditions. You will be greeted by your own private luxury tent, complete with solar power and eco-friendly bathrooms. Porini offers the exciting chance to witness the great Wildebeest migration from one of their hot air balloons, giving your safari that extra kick of adrenaline. 

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