East African Safaris are Changing

East African Safaris – Luxury accommodation at it’s finest!

Safaris and tours to East Africa are changing as tourists start to demand more value for their money. Travellers into Africa want to experience more wildlife conservation stories and community involvement. Package tours to East Africa are evolving as tourists start to wake up, take note, and demand more immersion in the wilderness concept

Tourists heading to East African countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique are driving this change, causing many safari operators to adapt to new trends. The reality is that no one travelled during the Covid years, 2020-2022 so safari lodges and game reserves suffered huge financial and reputational losses and were forced to rethink their visions, missions and goals.  

African safari lodges realized that they needed to put more effort into their surrounding communities and conservation, while the travellers decided that they needed more privacy, intimacy and authenticity in nature. 

In addition, environmental challenges never cease to deepen.

In Africa, environmental and social challenges are intensifying thanks to climate change – many countries are faced with food insecurity as crops yield less every year, water scarcity is real as droughts worsen, the disappearance of fauna and flora threatens tourism and biodiversity and war are impacting natural resources and people’s livelihoods. 

The days of greenwashing are now over and all individuals, organizations, NGOs, and politicians need to be honest about what they are selling. If it’s NOT sustainable, don’t say it is! Air travel, luxury accommodation and transportation of food and goods are NOT sustainable businesses! Voyage2Africa recommends eco-travel to eco-lodges like Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana, proud of its full eco grading and ecotourism status by the Botswana Tourism Board thanks to its innovative carbon-emission free game drives. Guests go out on the 4 new electric-powered game drive vehicles and the new fleet of solar-electric powered safari boats.

Remember that the customer is always right and as people become more self-aware about climate change, global environmental issues and the future of the planet and mankind, they start to make better, more informed decisions.  Big businesses need to listen to their customers, including tourism and safari businesses – just what are tourists and general travellers choosing?

Viewing of a herd of deer running through the tall grass on a game drive

Responsible tourism in Africa

Responsible tourism is trending right now – sustainable travel is happening. This is what new-age tourists want: 

  • Slowing down – cycling, hiking and food tours are better than huge itineraries jumping from plane to bus and then safari vehicle. This 3-day fly-in safari to the splendid Sabi Sands near Kruger concentrates on wildlife viewing, walks and learning more about biodiversity.  
  • Experiences – learning something new and enjoying sensory holidays – unforgettable activities in nature and meeting different tribes or cultures and learning about their customs. This Namibian safari is all about endangered wildlife and meeting the Himba people. 
  • Digital detox and immersion in nature – leave the mobile phone and laptop at home or switch off most of the time – off-the-grid holidays without the internet and social media. We love Gomoti Plains Camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta.

If you are planning a trip to Africa, on safari to view wildlife and tick off the Big 5, then maybe reconsider your desires. Remember that this is 2024 and:

  • Safari lodges and operators are offering intimate safaris where the animals matter, not the usual mass instant-gratification branded safaris 
  • Fewer tourists at any one wildlife sighting is a good idea too instead of jostling vehicles, greedy tourists and unscrupulous game rangers
  • Safari outfits are offering less structure and more flexibility – the tourist can choose how the day unfolds
  • More walking safaris and less speeding in a 4×4 vehicle to get to a lion kill 
  • Tourists want a sensory experience, a slowing down exercise in the wilderness, on foot, to learn more about the biodiversity and conservation projects 
  • Ticking off the Big 5 is old news – visitors also want to connect with communities and cultures nearby
  • Traditional classic colonial safari experiences are old-fashioned – tourists want more modern, natural, minimalist camp experiences. 

It’s time for travellers to see Africa as the bigger picture – as the continent and not just a game reserve here and a lodge there. What IS happening in Africa and what can they do to be more involved? Guests love information evenings, discussions about wildlife management and even mini-courses they can pass while on safari.

We recommend taking a new critical look at your safari tour travel plans this year. Ask the safari operators, lodges and guides about their eco-conscious principles, what they do for ecotourism and whether you can get closer to wildlife. Then organise your sustainable tourism holiday in the most ethical way possible. Chat to Voyage2Africa here about our eco-lodge, self-drive holidays and special deals.

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