Southern African Conservation Trips

A safari is a magical experience, and we won’t judge you if you want to splurge and stay in a luxury lodge when you experience the Big Five for the first time. But there are numerous Southern Africa safari experiences, many through five-star lodges, that also allow you to support wildlife conservation at the same time as you’re staring gap-jawed at your first lion. From tracking desert elephants to saving rhinos, here are our picks for where to safari with a purpose.

Chobe Forest Reserve, Botswana
To get away from the crowds in Chobe, stay at Ngoma Safari Lodge. It’s located on the far western edge of the park. The eight thatched roof cottages are completely spacious but cozy and feature decks overlooking the Chobe River. In 2011, the African Wildlife Foundation helped support this community owned and operated lodge in partnership with the Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust (CECT) and African Albida Tourism. In exchange for their support, the community agreed to set aside land for conservation. The lodge provides the community with additional revenue through conservation fees plus employment opportunities. It has also created a larger corridor for wildlife to have room to roam freely throughout the region on their ancient migration routes.
G4JM+R65, Gucta, Botswana
A recent refurbishment has brought larger tents, Moroccan rugs, and four-poster campaign beds to this woodland property near the Makgadikgadi salt pans. A visit to the nearby meerkat conservation project is a must.

From $430. 27/(0) 11-447- 1605. This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue. Image courtesy of Uncharted Africa Safari Co.
Ombika, Namibia
If it’s rhinoceros you want to photograph, you can’t miss Ongava Game Reserve just south of the border of Etosha National Park. This private breeding facility has black and white rhino and plays a critical part in conserving this species. When staying at Ongava, there are several options for accommodation including the three luxury suites at Little Ongava, the air-conditioned chalets of Ongava Lodge and the traditional safari tents at Ongava Tented Camp. Best of all, because Little Ongava is so small, guests share a private guide and 4WD vehicle. This allows you maximum flexibility for exploring both Etosha and Ongava’s reserve.
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