I recently spent a month on safari in Tanzania and Kenya. Nineteen flights in eleven different aircraft took me to some of the most iconic safari areas in Africa: the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Selous, Laikipia, Samburu and the Maasai Mara among them. I was treated to mind-blowing scenery and incredible wildlife experiences, superb guiding and generous East African hospitality.
Watch an elephant herd move magnificently through a grove of doom palm and it’s easy to forget that this is a continent in wildlife crisis. Throughout Africa poaching is out of control. The Selous Game Reserve, the largest ‘protected’ area on the continent has lost at least 75% of its 50,000 elephant to ivory poachers in the past ten years. You read correctly. At current levels elephant, rhino and lion will be brought close to extinction in the next decade. Well over 1,000 rhino have been poached in each of the past four years in South Africa alone.
However, there is hope! Remarkably, and against all predictions the global rhino population is still increasing. But only just. Everywhere I travelled brought me into contact with inspirational people who have and continue to dedicate their lives to the preservation of Africa’s natural heritage. Passionate people, working impossibly long hours, in tough and often dangerous conditions. For them failure is not an option. We as tour operators, and you as tourists have a vital part to play in the future of our planet’s most majestic wildlife.