Wilderness Safaris

As Africa’s leading authentic and sustainable ecotourism organisation, Wilderness Safaris offers discerning travellers exclusive access to some of the best wilderness areas on the continent, helping to protect more than 2.5 million hectares across 8 biomes harbouring 33 IUCN Red List species. We have more than 33 years’ experience in operating luxury safari camps with a light environmental footprint in 8 African countries (Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe) design tailor-made journeys. Our vision is to conserve and restore Africa’s wilderness and wildlife by creating life-changing journeys and inspiring positive action. We are committed to our 4C’s sustainability ethos of Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture and we work closely with our two non-profit partners, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, to help change the face of nature-based tourism in Africa; a contribution from every guest bednight directly contributes towards these two organisations. CITW has been operational since 2001 and has, in that time, positively impacted over 10 000 children’s lives aiming to increase children’s understanding and appreciation of the environment. Over the last 10- years, the Wilderness Wildlife Trust has funded over 100 different conservation projects in 8 African countries and funds approximately 25 different research projects a year. The environment is at the heart of Wilderness Safaris and sustainability is woven into every aspect of our DNA. We have been committed to biodiversity conservation for over 33 years, and our Conservation C is a critical component of 4C’s ethos. It is separated into two elements: Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and Biodiversity Conservation. Transparency is key and details can be found in our annual Integrated Report; showcasing that each of the 4C’s is as important as the other.

People are the heart of our business. We believe in honest, mutually beneficial and dignified relationships with our rural community partners in ways that deliver a meaningful share of the proceeds of responsible ecotourism to all stakeholders. Community and Culture are two of the Cs that make up our core sustainability 4Cs ethos. We employ over 2 000 people across Africa, with more than 85% of our camp staff coming from remote communities. We also work closely with our non-profit partner, Children in the Wilderness (CITW); a life skills and educational programme for rural children; more than 500 children are hosted on an annual basis in Wilderness Safaris and partner camps, 2 500 learners engage in Eco-Clubs per year and 300 supported with scholarships. We have also recently launched a new Cultural Tourism: Ethics Charter and Code of Conduct, to ensure best practice for all community engagement and authentic cultural experiences. 

Our mechanisms for local prosperity and social equity include community-centric employment, joint ventures, education and training, social and health benefits, capacity-building and infrastructure development. We employ over 2 000 staff from across Africa. For many, Wilderness Safaris is their first-ever formal employment and each employee can support up to seven people.

We have excellent relationships with our rural community partners, such as the Okavango Wilderness Trust in Botswana and the Torra Conservancy in Namibia. Our non-profit partner CITW started as a camp education programme in 2001 but has recently grown to include Eco-Clubs, Eco-Mentor training, a Youth Environmental Stewardship programme and a scholarship programme. Adult Eco-Clubs began in Botswana in 2013; there are now 6 Adult-Eco Clubs in Botswana, 2 in Malawi and 1 in Zimbabwe, positively impacting over 100 women. The women produce various crafts which Wilderness Safaris purchases for its camps and gift shops. 

The environment is at the heart of Wilderness Safaris. We have been committed to biodiversity conservation for over 33 years, and protect over 2.5 million hectares of land under conservation. The Conservation C of our 4C’s sustainability ethic is separated into two elements: Environmental Management Systems (EMS), which deals with how we build and manage our camps in the most eco-friendly way to ensure that we have the lowest possible carbon footprint; and Biodiversity Conservation, which covers the understanding, management and protection of the wildlife and ecosystems with which we are involved. Where relevant, we protect these pristine wilderness areas, promote the reintroduction of indigenous species, and rehabilitate natural environments through vegetation management. In partnership with the Wilderness Wildlife Trust we support approximately 25 conservation research projects each year and facilitated the largest ever cross-border black rhino trans-location to Botswana last year. 



About the author

Helen Jennings

Helen has studied at the Universities of Goldsmiths, Kent, Jyvaskyla (Finland) and The Arctic University of Norway (Tromsø) where she obtained a MA in Indigenous Studies. She has travelled extensively and has lived and worked in Canada, Scandinavia, and South America. Helen is particularly interested in cultural, indigenous, and spiritual tourism, ideas behind sensible ‘regulation’ and is convinced of the value of ethical and sustainable tourism.

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