Children in the Wilderness is a non-profit organization supported by ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris, which aims to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of children in Africa
Children in the Wilderness increases children’s awareness, bridges cultural divides, broadens horizons, builds confidence, provides opportunities for new friendships, positive life choices, and reveals career opportunities
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International is dedicated to the conservation, protection and study of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. Their successful, integrated approach includes close collaboration with local governments and communities as well as partners from around the world
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has more than 50 years of successful conservation work in saving gorillas based on a holistic model with four key parts: direct, daily protection of gorillas; scientific research on gorillas and their ecosystems; educating the next generation of scientists and conservationists in Africa; and helping local people with basic needs, so that communities can thrive and work together
African Parks is a non-profit conservation organization that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks currently manage 19 national parks and protected areas in 11 countries covering over 14.2 million hectares in: Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
The organization was founded in 2000 in response to the dramatic decline of protected areas due to poor management and lack of funding. African Parks utilizes a clear business approach to conserving Africa’s wildlife and remaining wild areas, securing vast landscapes and carrying out the necessary activities needed to protect the parks and their wildlife. African Parks maintains a strong focus on economic development and poverty alleviation of surrounding communities to ensure that each park is ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable in the long-term
Pack for a Purpose travelers have taken over 194,783 kgs (428,522 pounds) of supplies meeting essential needs in over 60 countries
Packed for a Purpose makes it possible to have a big impact in the communities you visit by simply using a small amount of space in your luggage to pack supplies needed by community projects around the world
The impact of Azizi Life goes beyond income generation for one artisan to benefit their entire family and other families in the community
Individual, family and community impact through fair wages is only one part of the Azizi Life vision. From the beginning, the dream of Azizi Life was to create a self-sustaining development model. The goal was to set up businesses that positively impact families and communities and are profitable enough to support larger community development projects.
Providing a home, hope and opportunities for Rwanda’s neediest children.
The Imizi Children’s Center is the foundation of the Rwandan Orphans Projects in Rwanda. The Imizi Children’s Center provides comprehensive residential care for up to 100 former street boys while providing completely free primary education to more than 100 children from the community’s poorest families.
The Kigali Genocide Memorial is the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi. It is an important place of remembrance and learning and receives visitors from all around the world.
The Kigali Genocide Memorial has a mission to advocate for survivors. As part of this objective, the Rebuilding Lives Initiative originates from the empathy shared with survivors, their association with the memorial and the hardships some of them endure. Rebuilding Lives supports those in need to achieve some improvement in their livelihoods.
The Gorilla Doctors began as the realization of a dream of American gorilla researcher Dian Fossey. Fossey dedicated her life to studying and protecting mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Gorilla Doctors is dedicated to the care of mountain gorillas, which can be distinguished from their close cousins by their thick hair and ability to live at high altitude. Mountain gorillas live in central Africa, where an estimated 604 animals live in the Virunga Massif, which spans Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in DRC, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The other 459 mountain gorillas in the world live within the boundaries of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
For this edition of our “Personal Picks”, we’re thinking outside-the-box to share four breathtaking lodges in unique, lesser-known parks and reserves that offer an excellent overall guest experience.
These areas don’t make it on many bucket lists, but they offer a superb safari with an uncrowded, exclusive feel at a great value.
Each of these lodges promises personal service, a wide variety of activities and a solid 4-night stay so you can really settle in and appreciate their distinctive settings. They pair nicely with more well-known safari destinations, and all four would make a great extension or centerpiece for a longer itinerary.
Magashi is the newest camp in the Wilderness Safaris family located in the northeastern corner of Akagera National Park in Rwanda. This camp is opening on the 1st of December, and it is the result of many years of public/private partnership and local collaboration.
We see it as an excellent example of what’s on the horizon for new destinations where governments, communities, conservation and tourism work together to rehabilitate a wilderness area. Pair this with gorilla trekking experiences from the stunning Bisate Lodge.
Amalinda is a stunning lodge built into the granite wilderness outside of Zimbabwe’s Matobo Hills National Park. It is a wild and historic place full of rocks and rhinos. Through decades of hardship and instability, this family owned and operated lodge has sustained a commitment to this unique place.
There is a huge variety of activities, from hiking and biking to tracking rhinos on foot and exploring pre-historic rock art, and the area is known for its sense of tranquility, rejuvenation and spirituality. This pairs with other destinations in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and there’s a great combo with Mashatu!
Mashatu is also a family owned and operated lodge located in a truly singular landscape where Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa meet, and it is unlike any of them with grand baobabs, spectacular vistas and a host of rare and unusual wildlife.
It’s perfect for multi-generational families with a variety of accommodation options from lightweight fly-camping to tented camps and a luxury lodge, and there’s a huge variety of activities including horseback riding, walking, biking and elephant toe-nail photography from a waterhole hide! Mashatu works well with other destinations in Botswana and South Africa, and there’s a great combo with Amalinda.
Shipwreck is one of the most remote and far-flung luxury destinations in the world, and it’s an example of a bold statement in architectural design and conservation impact. This dramatic lodge was designed to match the stark, intense beauty of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, with its extreme environment and fascinating history.
The experience at Shipwreck is all about sand dunes, whale bones and wildflowers, discovering shocks of improbable life, and visiting a place very few people have ever been. Shipwreck is on the edge of the world, and it pairs well with other destinations on a dedicated Namibia itinerary.
There’s plenty more places we love that few people have heard of. Get in touch to learn more about these lodges and how to build your perfect safari itinerary.
WE ARE MARCHING single file on a mountain path, winding our way through a bamboo forest, tall spindles shooting to the sky. Sunlight splashes through the canopy, hitting the pale green of the bamboo sheaths and turning the light a refulgent green. It’s magical, and strenuous. About 2,000 feet up, the vegetation turns into a jungle of hairy plants with needles and nettles. My ankles and calves itch terribly, but I concentrate on the mission at hand: getting face-to-face with a mountain gorilla.
Rwanda is so many things, and my time there was magical. Here’s the first video from my visit, starting with the gorilla tracking experience. I did two treks: first to the Susa group, and then to the Hirwa group.
The Susa trek was nearly a two hour climb into the misty highland. It is the largest tourist-accessible group with multiple silverbacks, some young babies and a rare set of twins, and it is one of the original groups studied by Diane Fossey. The hike was exhausting and my legs were shaky with fatigue, but it was so rewarding to spend an hour observing the young gorillas tumbling around.
Tracy and a few friends did a big trip with us back in the Summer of 2012 including gorilla tracking in Rwanda, game drives in the Serengeti and Okavango Delta and a helicopter tour over Victoria Falls. Here’s one of our favorite client pics ever. Great lighting, a very interesting expression and the sense that this leopardess is perched right above us!!!
Here’s another favorite! Everybody loves baby animals, and a baby hippo has got to be one of the cutest.