At Art of Safari, our quest to make a difference in Africa is twofold. The first aspect is quite specific, in that we support a carefully curated list of conservation initiatives. The second is something bigger and more important, and in a way simpler. It’s also closer to our hearts. Essentially we believe that the most globally effective solution for long-term conservation in Africa it tourism.
That’s right, YOU can make a difference in Africa simply by coming on safari, and it’s our mission to inspire you to do so.
The biggest threat to Africa’s wilderness and wildlife
Africa’s wilderness and wildlife are globally unique – unmatched in size, diversity and remoteness anywhere on the planet. They’re also increasingly under threat from the rapidly growing human settlements neighbouring them, and the inevitable human-wildlife conflict that results from close proximity.
The UN predicts that Africa’s population will double by 2050, bringing it up to 2.4 billion – much of this growth being expected in countries with the continent’s biggest wilderness areas and most concentrated wildlife.
The difference tourism makes
Tourism to Africa plays a critical role in the conservation of wilderness areas for a number of reasons:
- Tourism provides employment and promotes conservation
The safari operations that service tourism in the national parks and reserves provide jobs for many of the locals, which uplifts their communities. And as a result, the communities understand that preserving the land is in their best interest, so there is less farming, hunting and poaching in the parks and reserves.
- Tourism enables private conservation
Much of the land that surrounds the national parks and reserves is owned by the local communities, and often it’s rich in wildlife. Safari operations negotiate with the locals to use the land for tourism, essentially renting it from them, the caveat being that the land – and it’s wildlife – has to be conserved. It’s a win-win-win situation: for the safari operations, the local communities, and the wilderness areas
- Tourism creates buffer zones
The private conservancies form ‘buffer zones’ between the growing communities and many of the national parks and reserves, giving them an extra level of protection.
- Tourism brings in money to manage parks
Entrance fees are charged at national parks and reserves. This income serves as a direct, allocated resource for governments to manage these wilderness areas.
- Tourism contributes to GDP
The inflow of tourism-related cash, much of it in foreign currency, directly benefits the many service providers touched by tourism, like informal traders, shop owners, guides, lodge staff and so on. However, it also adds to the general wealth of the country. Governments have more resources to improve infrastructure, which benefits both the locals and the tourists: resurfaced roads, renovated airports and better managed national parks and reserves.
The difference you can make
For the national parks and reserves – and in particular the conservancies – to be successful and sustainable, they require a strong and steady stream of supporters, visitors such as yourself who come on African safaris.
If you choose to travel with Art of Safari, we’ll not only ensure you experience the best Africa has to offer, but we’ll enable you to maximise your conservation impact by pairing you with the travel operations that give the most back to the environment and communities.