The best safari is when you make a real difference during your travels. Imagine combining the splendour of those breathtaking African sunsets with outstanding Big 5 encounters and contributing to conservation solutions for Africa.
Conservation’s need for innovation and tourism’s efforts to be more responsible have given rise to an immersive safari experience offering travellers behind the scenes access to the conservation world. Traditional safari elements stay intact, but are combined with experiential activities that directly contribute to on-the-ground conservation initiatives.
These initiatives include lion tracking for research purposes, working with rhino calves orphaned by poaching, community conservation education, and raising conservation awareness through photography and filmmaking.
Youth 4 African Wildlife (Y4AW) has taken this concept further by specifically targeting the youth with their experiential conservation offering dubbed ‘the safari with a difference’. The organisation believes that the youth stand a better chance of solving our conservation dilemmas than their elder counterparts. The Y4AW conservation experience focuses on places with high levels of conflict between conservation and development objectives.
In 2018 the experience will take travellers to some of the best parts of Kenya and South Africa. The experience will start in breathtaking Maasai Mara (1 – 10 July 2018) for a once in a lifetime chance to experience the great wildebeest migration. The trip to Mara will also immerse travellers in community conservation education initiatives and lion research.
This will also be an opportunity to learn about local culture and human-wildlife conflict issues through a partnership with a Kenyan conservation organisation called Friends of Maasai Mara.
The South African leg will see Y4AW return with visitors to the world’s first rhino orphanage (11 – 14 July 2018) to contribute to the care of rhino calves orphaned by poaching. This orphanage is not open to the public and travellers will get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to raise an orphaned rhino.
From the orphanage the experience heads to a gem of natural and geological heritage, Pafuri in the Kruger National Park (14 – 20 July 2018), to sample what the best of South African ecotourism has to offer. Pafuri offers visitors a chance to experience tourism that is mindful of the environment and local communities.
The safari section will end with a trip to one of South Africa’s most prestigious reserves, Sabi Sands (20 – 26 July 2018). Very few reserves can rival the Sabi Sand Big 5 experience; this is possibly the best example of how luxury photographic safaris are an excellent conservation resource.
Another difference in this safari experience is that it aims to raise conservation awareness through education, social media, photography, and filmmaking. This is portrayed in short films such as The Rhinos’ Last Shot and 50 Days to Save the Rhino which are produced by travellers as part of the experience. Participants in this experience receive photography and filmmaking lessons, conservation lectures and leadership skills that can be used to forward the conservation agenda.
The last three nights (26 – 29 July 2018) of this experience will be dedicated to film editing.
Only eight spots are available on this immersive conservation experience. Participation in the Mara leg of the program will cost $3,700 while the South African leg will cost $3,900. Both legs of the program are offered at a discounted price of $7,000. A portion of the money received is used by Y4AW to fund conservation education and species protection initiatives throughout the year.
Watch a few of the many memorable moments from the five years of hosting the Y4AW conservation program