Travelling has, and must be, a different “beast”. Long gone are the days when travellers could simply travel for travelling sake. Today, with so much of our planet requiring more than a little love, attention on sustainability and conservation is paramount.
Part of why Better Safaris was established, was to offer our industry knowledge and experience of these very subjects to you, the traveller, to allow you to make informed decisions that best impact the way you travel and your lasting footprint.
Here, we take a look at a select few conservation safari experiences in Africa. Each are available to book as part of your safari with us and can be tailor-made to suit your group size, travel dates and anything else to ensure that your dream vacation, is as rewarding as possible.
When you’re ready to book a safari, we would love to hear from you.
1. Rhino notching experience at Ngala, South Africa
Experience the rare opportunity to participate in a rhino notching experience at &BEYOND’s Ngala Private Game Reserve. Witness the darting of a rhino, and assist the veterinary team in tagging the sleeping rhino’s ear for research and security monitoring, before releasing it back into the wild.
Ngala is committed to ensuring the survival of Africa’s rhinos and, as such, we implement best practice research and management practices. Ear notches enable researchers to correctly identify different individuals on the Reserve. Each rhino is given a unique ear notch number, and microchips are placed in the horn and body for identification and security purposes. Measurements, horn shavings and skin samples are also taken for DNA analysis.
Rhinos are in need of ear notches and we are inviting groups of up to eight guests each (sharing one vehicle) to participate in this extraordinary experience. You will play an active role in the day’s adventure. As the veterinary team flies overhead in a helicopter in search of the rhino, guests will follow in hot pursuit with an expert ranger in an open 4×4 safari vehicle. Once the animal is located and darted, the helicopter will land, and guests will have the never-to-be-repeated opportunity to touch the anaesthetised rhino during the notching procedure.
All funds raised go directly towards the costs of running Ngala’s rhino conservation and management project.
Where to stay?
Ngala Private Game Reserve shares unfenced borders with the world-renowned Kruger National Park, nearly 2 million ha (4.9 million acres) of unrivalled wilderness and wildlife land, home to the Big Five and more species of large mammals than any other African game reserve.
Ngala is home to two beautiful lodges, the intimate 9 roomed &Beyond Ngala Tented Camp, and the larger classic-themed &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge, ideal for families.
Accommodation rates start from US$735 per person per night
2. Lion tracking experience at Ol Pejeta, Kenya
Several lions on the conservancy have been fitted with radio collars and you can learn how to track them with the researchers with a special tracking device. When you locate a pride, you will learn how to identify the individuals by notches on their ears, whisker patterns and other distinguishing marks, and all data is passed to the Ol Pejeta Ecological Monitoring team in order to further understand these magnificent predators. Guests remain in the vehicle at all times.
Morning activity: 6.30 am
Afternoon visit: 3.30 pm – duration approx. two hours, maximum six people.
Price: US$75 per adult/US$38 per child
Where to stay?
Overlooked by the dramatic snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is in central Kenya’s Laikipia County. It’s home to the two remaining northern white rhinos on the planet and many other endangered animals, all protected around the clock by dedicated rangers.
There is a dense population of all sorts of wildlife – including the Big 5 and 300 species of birds – but the conservancy is especially famous for its rhinos, both black and white. It is the only place you can see northern white rhino, with the last two in the world living under 24-hour armed guard at Ol Pejeta. Other endangered animals — Grevy’s zebra, Jackson’s hartebeest and wild dog — are kept in a special 283-hectare enclosure that protects vulnerable species from predation or poaching.
Ol Pejeta Bush Camp is a relaxed tented camp set along the narrow Ewaso Ngiro River. The main mess tent overlooks the Ol Pejeta plains on the other side of the river. Sip your morning coffee while watching weaver birds flutter around the fever trees outside and spend evenings with a glass of wine by the fireplace. The campfire is where guests can gather to share stories and get to know one another after the afternoon game drive. Tucked up in bed later at night, listen out for the conservancy’s lions roaring to each other.
Accommodation rates start from US$528 per person per night
3. Elephant monitoring experience with Mara Elephant Project, Kenya
This once-in-a-lifetime exclusive safari offers guests a behind the scenes experience in the protection of the gentle giants of the Maasai Mara. Join Mara Elephant Project’s long-term monitoring (LTM) team as they go out into nearby conservancies to collect data on the elephant population. These scientists are doing important data collection on the elephants living in the Mara that is helping Mara Elephant Project (MEP) find long-term solutions to protect elephants, communities and habitats in the Greater Mara Ecosystem.
This afternoon experience would include a trip to MEP’s headquarters in Lemek Conservancy to meet the team before heading out to conduct research. Your group (up to 4 people) would go out with the LTM team for two hours and become their research assistants. You’d be taking detailed photos of elephants, learning how to identify different individuals and ride alongside a Maasai elephant scientist to learn more about the threats facing the ecosystem. This is a great activity for the whole family. The duration of this safari is 3 hours and is subject to availability of the MEP LTM team.
Established in 2011, Mara Elephant Project (MEP) envisions the existence of a stable elephant population co-existing peacefully with people across the Greater Mara Ecosystem (GME). Their 10 years of experience using the MEP Method of boots on the ground rangers and applied research all while taking a collaborative approach has disrupted poaching in the region and combatted conflict and habitat loss.
Time: 3 hours
Group Size: Up to 4 people
Price: US$500 per group
Where to stay?
Karen Blixen Camp is uniquely situated on the rich banks of the Mara river while located in the Mara North, one of the most dense private wildlife conservancies in the Masai Mara ecosystem. Karen Blixen Camp is an eco-friendly luxury camp that gives a sense of the exiting explorer days when the savannah was seldom visited and elaborate and comfortable camps were set up providing a luxurious and stylish retreat after each day’s adventure. Each tent is en-suite and furnished with a large comfortable bed, Persian rugs and a cozy armchair giving you the ultimate in camping luxury. The private bathroom has a flush toilet, twin wash hand basins and a romantic outside shower with amazing view to the sky.
Accommodation rates start from US$459 per person per night
Plan your vacation
Contact us today via the below contact form, or email us here to start planning your dream safari adventure.
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