Africa’s Best Hands-On Conservation Activities | Fauna Travel

Africa’s Best Hands-On Conservation Activities

Rhino conservation at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge / Courtesy of Kwandwe

By: Scott Dubois, Fauna Travel Designer

We started Fauna because we believe that travel can be a force for good. When we plan your safari, we only work with camps that protect the land and the local communities. Most wilderness conservation areas in Africa rely on ecotourism partnerships for their survival, and many properties are now offering hands-on conservation projects to travelers who want to have an even deeper experience with the wild. We’ve collected some of our favorite projects below.

Please contact us if you’d like to book one of these experiences for yourself.

Tag Rhinos at Kwandwe Private Reserve

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Rhino conservation at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge / Courtesy of Kwandwe luxury South Africa safari
Rhino conservation at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge / Courtesy of Kwandwe

Kwandwe Private Reserve, located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, is a 22,000-hectare luxury game reserve sprawling along the banks of the Great Fish River. Visitors can embark on a unique 3-night Rhino Conservation Safari, taking part in rhino tracking and notching activities under the guidance of experienced conservationists. This safari is offered from May to September when temperatures are cooler and more hospitable for the animals. Contact us in advance if you’d like to take part because availability depends on the wildlife management teams and their rhino tagging needs.

Wildlife Release at Tembo Plains Camp

Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Project Rewild Zambezi / Beverley Joubert / Courtesy of Great Plains Foundation
Project Rewild Zambezi / Beverley Joubert / Courtesy of Great Plains Foundation

Tembo Plains Camp is a luxury safari camp located in the 290,000-acre Sapi Private Reserve adjacent to Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. Great Plains Conservation took over this former hunting concession and has been slowly rewilding it under the name Project Rewild Zambezi. It’s one of the largest wildlife translocations in African history. Thousands of elephants, wild dogs, and lions from the overpopulated and drought-stricken Savé Valley Conservancy in Southern Zimbabwe will be moved to Sapi. As of September 2022, the first 100 elephants have been relocated. However, guests visiting Tembo Plains from May to September of 2023 may have the opportunity to see the project in action, because many more animals will be released during this time. 

Meet the Canine Unit at Singita Grumeti

Grumeti Reserve, Tanzania

Grumeti Canine Unit / Courtesy of Singita
Grumeti Canine Unit / Courtesy of Singita

Singita operates the nonprofit Grumeti Fund to protect the dramatic landscape of the Western Serengeti at the Grumeti Reserve. Their anti-poaching team consists of over one hundred rangers and four furry members. Radar, Tony, DJ, and Popo make up the canine unit, which can detect ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales, ammunition, bush meat, and snares, as well as poachers. They are all rescue dogs from the United States who have been expertly trained by Working Dogs for Conservation. Guests at Singita Properties, such as Singita Sasakwa and Singita Sabora, have the opportunity to visit the Grumeti canine unit to interact with the handlers, meet the dogs, and watch a live demonstration of their tracking.

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Meet Gorilla Researchers at Ngaga Camp

Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of Congo

Lowland gorilla trekking at Ngaga Camp / Courtesy of Congo Conservation Company luxury Congo gorilla lodge
Lowland gorilla trekking at Ngaga Camp / Courtesy of Congo Conservation Company

Ngaga Camp in the Republic of Congo is home to one of the most unique primate experiences in Africa. It was originally founded and still operates as a center for western lowland gorilla research in the Congo Basin. The camp is home to biologists but now accepts guests in its rustic but stylish thatched suites. A dozen troops of gorillas live in the area, and three are habituated to humans and can be visited on hikes with the camp’s expert guides. Guests will have the opportunity to meet with the biologists on arrival to talk about their research and the conservation project. Learn more about our 2023 Fauna Expedition to the Congo.

Visit an Elephant Havens Orphanage

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Elephant Havens Orphanage, Botswana / Courtesy of Elephant Havens
Elephant Havens Orphanage, Botswana / Courtesy of Elephant Havens

Many travelers are familiar with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi for the great work they do saving orphaned elephants. However, there are many orphanages across Africa, and Elephant Havens is one of our favorite lesser-known projects. The orphanage is built on the edge of the Okavango Delta and is a refuge for orphaned elephants until they can be reintroduced into the wild. Elephant Havens encourages both international travelers and locals to visit and learn about elephant conservation. Visitors on safari at Duba Plains Camp can arrange a flight or helicopter ride over the Delta to visit the orphanage as part of their stay.

Join a Dawn Anti-Poaching Patrol at Borana Lodge

Laikipia, Kenya

A view of Mount Kenya from Borana Lodge / Courtesy of Borana Lodge
A view of Mount Kenya from Borana Lodge / Courtesy of Borana Lodge

The Borana Conservancy is a wildlife reserve located on the Laikipia Plateau at the base of Mount Kenya. Borana Lodge is a luxury lodge situated in the middle of the conservancy and features eight cottages, perched atop a hill. Guests here may join the anti-poaching team each morning at first light to track rhinos on foot. It is a great way to see firsthand how these conservation heroes protect rhinos and learn about their daily efforts to keep these animals safe.

Contact us to start planning your journey into the wild.

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