Safari – originally a Swahili word simply meaning ‘journey’, it’s taken on a whole new range of meanings in the last 50 years. But have you ever considered an active conservation safari?
Several private game reserves across South Africa have recently begun offering some very innovative ways to take the concept of ‘safari’ to another level.
Take for example Gondwana, a small private reserve on the Garden Route in the Western Cape. It now offers an Eco Camp of either three or five day. Over the course, where you’re staying in an entirely separate camp, deep in the bush, you learn the skills of conservation: this could be anything from driving a 4x4, tagging an elephant, tracking a wild dog or removing alien water-sapping vegetation. You’ll also learn how to forage from the bushveld and the making and setting a potjie or braai.
The conservation activities are not merely for the sake of it: data collected is actively used in the management of Gondwana. The camp is super comfortable (although not it must be said luxurious) with permanent tents on wooden platforms in a secret valley deep in the reserve. There are private bathrooms and the camp is fully catered. The same staff that teach the conservation skills and collate the data which you as a guest collect also host you at the camp: so it’s intimate and personal with many travellers forming lifelong bonds with the rangers they work with.
Prices start at R9 250 per person sharing for three night package, all inclusive (£495 - €559 - $645)