As modern humans living in our concrete jungles, in a world that’s so vastly separate from the natural world, we often forget how deeply we’re connected to nature.
With that connection comes a responsibility to protect, conserve and live sustainably. Especially our wildlife. Animals are an incredible part of our planet – without them, the world would be colourless, and more seriously, lifeless. However, the human footprint is big and getting bigger. This is why sustainable travel is so important. When we think beyond ourselves and realise that the planet provides us with all our resources, it becomes clear how crucial every choice we make really is. As David Attenborough has said: there’s no planet B. Conscious travel is an important link between people and creatures in the natural world. When these two worlds meet, a shift occurs. We begin to understand one another, we begin to open our hearts and really allow a new perspective to develop. We may find that we want to be a part of the conservation of these wild parts of the world, that we understand their place and how they can be important too. Conscious travel is a beautifully edifying means of allowing these connections to form, in a sustainable, approachable and impactful way.
So what makes travel conscious? It means the practices used in the lodges and by the teams have been carefully thought out, sourced and planned for. They allow for sustainability, protection and mutual benefit to everyone within that ecosystem. Your travels are part of a bigger picture that could help educate future generations and help us preserve these areas for years to come. The experiences below are perfect examples of just that.
This is a very special experience that’s not ordinarily accessible in even the wildest parts of Africa. At Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, situated close to Victoria Falls, you can do a deep dive into the wild and see endangered rhinos up close – extremely close.
On foot – and just a few metres away – you’ll get to witness the special grandeur of these giant, boulder-like creatures. For the uninitiated, there’s something you should know – a unique feeling washes over you when you stand before a rhino in its own world. Words can’t do it justice, but it is quite simply, unforgettable.
Scintilla offers a two-hour walk experience where an expert guide will safely lead you through the bush, sharing local knowledge about the ecosystem, the animals, how to track them and fascinating insights into a world of flora and fauna.
This sustainable travel experience allows for connection and understanding of wild animals in their natural habitat, which is important for their conservation. You’ll enter the park by vehicle and drive through the rugged terrain to the last known location of the rhino. After a rigorous safety briefing, you’ll set out on foot toward the magnificent creatures with your guide and spend some quality time interacting with, and photographing, them.
Enjoy an incredible safari experience at a camp that has a sole focus on conservation. The 21,000-hectare Marataba Conservation camp in Marakele National Park offers an exclusive and fully immersive experience that has a very unique conservation model. They only take on three bookings at a time, which allows for full backstage access to their conservation activities, while also enjoying a completely private safari.
This once-in-a-lifetime experience is on an exclusive or semi-exclusive basis, with a dedicated conservation guide, and a program designed around your interests. You’ll be a part of the activities and see first-hand how projects are aiming to protect the natural land and animals around us. Track cheetahs, monitor the growth rate of elephants, enjoy serene boat trips, collect camera trap data and learn how to identify rhinos. This kind of tourism has a low impact on the environment and involves high participation on the guests’ part which makes it an experience unlike any other. The Park and Conservation Camps are managed by dedicated conservationists who have opted for a high-value guest-participation tourism model with low impact on the environment, creating a truly powerful curation of the best of both worlds.
Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary offers an unforgettable experience of ecotourism in Zimbabwe. Come experience an art painting session that’s one for the books, while allowing yourself to connect with the present moment, immerse yourself in the bush and enjoy seeing the elephants on a totally personal level. You‘ll learn all about the intricacies of each individual and the herd dynamics, and come to know each elephant personally as you paint them, discovering their unique personalities and how the herd fits together in a fascinating friendship group.
Diving into your artistic side and tapping into creativity as a means of personal enrichment besides the Masuwe River, under the shade of a majestic mopane tree, is something you can’t get in your everyday life. This eco-sanctuary and elephant orphanage was founded in conservation goals and on this experience you’ll find out how and why. You’ll enjoy the slow pace of being present around these tranquil and sometimes playful giants, listening to them as they communicate in many interesting sounds. It’s a full sensory immersion and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
If you’re interested in a travel experience that makes a true difference, get in touch with one of our travel curators who can help you plan your conscious trip to Southern Africa.