From Bushtracks Expeditions' beginnings over 25 years ago we've been committed to preserving Africa's wild places, wildlife, and the communities that live alongside some of the world's most precious flora and fauna. Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict for resources, and poaching remain ongoing threats to Africa's animals. Sustainable tourism offers a solution to many of these problems by creating job opportunities, protected spaces and wildlife corridors, and ongoing incentives to protect the land and its wild inhabitants. Bushtracks has long been an advocate for sustainable tourism, and you can be assured that your Bushtracks safari promotes conservation in multiple ways.
Bushtracks only uses camps and lodges who give back to their communities. We carefully vet all of the safari lodges we use to ensure that they create income opportunties through conservation and give back to their communities. These lodges employ members of the local communities, providing training, steady salaries, and anti-poaching jobs. The lodges often purchase and serve produce grown by local farmers, and provide financial support to local schools, clinics and other projects. We also work with lodges that respect the culture of their employees and the rural communities surrounding the wildlife areas. For this reason we always encourage our guests to engage with these modern Africans and learn about their amazing traditions and lifestyles.
Bushtracks has a significant partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), and owners David and Carolyn Tett are Council members of the Board. AWF, together with the African people, ensure the wildlife and wild lands of Africa will endure. We believe that it is simply not enough to protect single species or individual pieces of land, that we must take a more holistic approach which works at the "landscape level." For this reason AWF embraces large landscapes and wildlife corridors, and implements a variety of efforts that conserve land, protect species, and empower people.
Bushtracks can add a specialized conservation component to your safari. Many of our guests, understandably, want to spend part of their safari experience advancing their understanding of an endangered species, getting to know conservation specialists, or engaging with a local school or community. The proceeds from each of the following encounters go directly to benefit the people and wildlife they support, and allow you to deepen your connection and understanding of the animals and neighboring communities. These are just a few of the many conservation experiences we can add to your safari, ask your Bushtracks safari expert for other activities.
The Save the Rhino Trust is an organization that has been instrumental in the preservation of the rare, desert-adapted black rhino. Desert Rhino Camp in Namibia functions as a collaborative effort between Wilderness Safaris and the trust. While in camp you will have the opportunity to track a black rhino. Typically you set out in the morning on a game drive vehicle, behind the Save the Rhino trackers. These trackers keep records on where and when previous rhino were seen. This enables them to track the rhino, although due to the vast terrain you sometimes have to drive long distances to view them. Once the animal is located, you may get to track the rhino by foot, depending on the position or location.
Track rhinos on NAMIBIA'S RED DUNES AND RHINOS SAFARI
Although hunting is instinctive in carnivores, many of the cheetahs at AfriCat lack experience due to being orphaned or removed from the wild at an early age. This inexperience, as well as their conditioning to captivity, makes them unsuitable for release. The 55,000 acre Okonjima Nature Reserve, provides captive cheetahs and other carnivores with the opportunity to hone their hunting skills and become self-sustaining and thereby giving them a chance to return to the wild. The captive cheetahs are fitted with radio-collars prior to their release into the reserve, so that their welfare and progress can be closely monitored. Visitors will be able to observe some of this program at work and learn more about the leopards and cheetahs in AfriCat's care.
See big cats on NAMIBIA'S RED DUNES AND RHINOS SAFARI
A visit to the famed elephant orphanage founded by the late Daphne Sheldrick in 1977 is an engaging way to interact with and help Africa's threatened elephant population. To date, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former-orphaned elephants raised in their care. During a visit to the orphanage, you will meet the keepers and the elephants, and enjoy watching the youngsters' unbridled joy at feeding time.
Adopt an elephant on KENYA'S PRIVATE RESERVES SAFARI
The Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre in South Africa was established in 1971, as a cheetah conservation project. The center has continued to perform an important role in the preservation and protection of cheetahs and has bred over eight hundred cheetah cubs. Guests may visit the center for three to four hour visits with the conservationists and the animals in their care.
Get up close to a cheetah on the CLASSIC BIG 5 SAFARI
The Elephant Café is a one-of-a-kind restaurant in Victoria Falls. The Café is located approximately 10 kilometers upriver from the Victoria Falls themselves at Zambezi Elephant Trails. The restaurant has been home to a herd of hand-reared elephants for many years. The older elephants were rescued from severe drought and culls decades ago, while others have assimilated from the wild, or were born into the herd. But the proximity to elephants is only half of the story. The Kenyan-born Chef de Cuisine, Annabel Hughes, is inspired by foraging, gardening and cooking in a unique place "where the biggest pests are elephants, in an area with people who have been subsisting off the land for centuries." They are elephants that have grown up with safe human support using the “positive reinforcement method,” and with whom guests can interact: stroking, feeding, and taking photographs with them.
Eat with elephants on SOUTHERN AFRICA'S BEST PRIVATE RESERVES & VICTORIA FALLS SAFARI
Travelers to Victoria Falls can easily add a visit to an orphanage and school for some of Zambia's most vulnerable children. The children bring nothing to the school but receive everything a child would need. Located 25 minutes from Livingstone, the school welcomes visitors of all ages, and offers young guests the opportunity to engage with children their own age. For guests wishing to explore a working village and learn about traditional customs, a visit to Mukuni Village outside Livingstone can be arranged, as well.
Engage with schoolchildren or a community on
SOUTHERN AFRICA'S BEST PRIVATE RESERVES SAFARI
Bisate Lodge, a new ecolodge in Rwanda, integrates an inspiring reforestation vision with a great place to view mountain gorillas in the wild. To counteract Rwanda's intense agricultural model, the camp has planted 15,000 trees along the upper slopes of the half cone of Bisate, which will eventually form a beautiful forest woodland. Bisate employs 5 members of the local community to manage the reforestation, and lodge guests may spend time in the tree nursery and plant a tree during their Rwanda safari, thus contributing directly to the restoration of the area.
Trek for gorillas at BISATE LODGE
Giraffe Manor, located in a suburb outside Nairobi, is set on 12 acres of private land is a Scottish-styled lodge that is routinely visited by the resident herd of Rothchild giraffes. Guests may feed the giraffes and interact with them, and then visit the nearby Giraffe Center to learn about their successful breeding program, learn from the staff, and enjoy more up-close encounters. Giraffe Center provides conservation education for Kenya's youth, ensuring giraffes' protection today and in the future, too.
Kiss a giraffe on KENYA'S PRIVATE RESERVES SAFARI
Browse beautiful beads, bracelets, necklaces and pottery handmade and hand-painted in the Kazuri workshop using clay from Mount Kenya. A short tour and gift shop visit will introduce you to some of the over 340 women employed here who form, fire and glaze the ceramics with designs that reflect the culture and wildlife of Kenya. Not only will you enjoy picking up some unique and meaningful keepsakes to take home, you'll be happy to be a part of a success story of sustained employment and health care for Kenya's men and women.
Meet craftswomen on SERENGETI MIGRATION AND THE MASAI MARA SAFARI
At private conservancies in the Masai Mara you are not bound by strict game reserve rules, which means you are free to go walking in the veld with people who were born there. Walk with a Maasai guide dressed in his traditional red moran (warrior's) clothing, as you learn about birds, insects, beneficial plants, and personal insights about the Maasai warrior culture and living among wildlife. While village visits may be arranged, this can be a much more satisfying way to learn about this timeless way of life.
Walk with a Maasai warrior on KENYA'S PRIVATE RESERVES SAFARI