As Gamewatchers Safaris celebrates 30 years of creating eco-friendly African adventures, avid travel-blogger and photographer Clinton Richardson gives his recommendations for planning the perfect experience …
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Clinton travelled to Nairobi National Park, Selenkay Conservancy (Amboseli), Ol Pejeta Conservancy (Laikipia) and Olare Motorogi Conservancy (Maasai Mara). All images are from Clinton’s TrekPic photo site. Blog entries are from his Venture Moola blog at ReadJanus.
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Would you like to take a trip of a lifetime? How about an African safari where you can see exotic animals in the wild in abundant numbers and with comfortable accommodations?
What if your trip helped preserve the very wildlife you see and its threatened habitat? And, what if it also helped the indigenous people of the area preserve their way of life?
Would it help persuade you if your outfitter could walk you through the planning process, help with travel arrangements and provide on the ground representatives to make your in-country travel seamless?
Would you be more likely to go if the head of your outfitter helped create the very conservancy concept that makes this possible?
If you think you might, read on while we describe how to make just such a rewarding and environmentally supportive adventure.
Reticulated Giraffe outside Gamewatchers’ Porini Rhino Camp
Take a safari like the one we just described in our recent 28-episode Safari Series. And experience the best trip of your life while helping preserve Africa’s wilderness.
Bull Elephant at Amboseli National Park
Why we chose Gamewatchers Safaris.
But why travel with Gamewatchers to their conservancies? Why not use another outfitter in Africa?
There are lots of reasons that fit into two general categories. The first are the selfish reasons that relate to the quality of your safari experience. The other relate to the impact your travel makes on the region, reasons related to being environmentally conscious and supportive.
Hippo outside Gamewatchers’ Porini Lion Camp
First, the selfish reasons.
You get a great experience. I think the proof of that is in the safari we took and documented in our recent Safari Series. Check out any of our 28 adventures recorded from our 12-day trip. Forgotten our trip? Sample some of these days we traveled with Gamewatchers.
Safari 1: The Hunt
Safari 3: Tented Camps and Conservancies
Safari 4: Passports in his Underpants
Safari 5: Night Lions to Amboseli
Safari 7: Pooh on You
Safari 9: The Maasai
Safari 11: Crash in the Grass
Safari 17: Distracting His Highness
Safari 18: How to Eat a Tree
Safari 19: Hunting with Children
Safari 24: Searching for Figlet
Lions headed to the waterhole outside Gamewatchers’ Porini Amboseli Camp
You get a superior viewing experience.
Seriously. In the conservancies, the number of tents are limited per acre to keep the tourist numbers down. No more than one tent per 700 acres and no more than 12 tents in a single camp. So, you see more animals with fewer sightings of other vehicles.
You view the animals on drives in six passenger open safari vehicles that give you an unimpeded view. And in the conservancies, the vehicles are permitted to go off road to where the animals are. So, you get close. In the National Parks, which abut the conservancies, this is not possible.
But you do not miss the national parks. You will be able to view in both locations while visitors to the national parks are not invited into the conservancies. Amboseli National Park was spectacular and a highlight of our trip.
Cape Buffalo outside Gamewatchers’ Porini Rhino Camp
The accommodations are first rate.
Yes, you stay in tents but the tents are spacious, floored and come with their own bathroom and shower. Yes, the showers are gravity showers but we never had problems with temperature or volume of water.
Each of our tents also had two beds (with bedsteads), one a single and the other a full size. Bedside tables with lamps and a writing table were standard fare. Each also had a covered porch with two chairs.
And, the food is five-star served in spacious dining tents each day where you get a chance to share stories with other guests. Before dinner, many of us sat outside around a fire pit to enjoy the evening and one another’s company.
You will find the people as enjoyable as the wildlife viewing. And by that, I do not mean just the other guests. The staff were extremely cordial and engaging made up almost entirely of local Maasai, the same people who lease the conservancy land to Gamewatchers.
Figlet the Leopard outside Gamewatchers’ Porini Lion Camp
It’s good for the wildlife and more.
As if all of that was not enough, you can take this trip and have this grand experience with a clean conscience. It all is extremely eco friendly and your travel dollars go a long way to expand wildlife habitat in Africa and support the local Maasai community who owns the conservancy land.
This is all the brainchild of Jake Grieves-Cook and others like him who came up with the conservancy concept as a way to help local tribes by making them partners in conservancy projects that expand protected wildlife habitat beyond the borders of the National Parks. For more than 20 years, Jake has been working to expand wildlife habitat and promote the interests of the local Maasai.
Here is how the model works. Jake and his Gamewatchers Outfitter (www.porini.com) lease land directly from the Maasai that they set aside as game conservancies. Gamewatchers agrees to strict density limits and set up tented camps in the conservancies.
Tourists visit the camps and provide the revenue to pay the Maasai. The Maasai receive regular rent payments for the leased land. The camps also employ the local Maasai to run the camps and provide the guides.
White Rhino Calf outside Gamewatchers’ Nairobi Tented Camp
The result is:
- more protected habitat for wildlife
- more employment and revenue for the Maasai
- more wildlife in the conservancies, and
- a premium wildlife viewing experience for visitors
It all works if enough of us visit and support this remarkable conservancy model.
Make your plans.
So, take the leap. Plan a safari and have one of the best experiences of your traveling life. But, do it with Gamewatchers Safari and help preserve the wild African experience for future generations.
Here is how to plan a trip with Gamewatchers. Just send them an enquiry telling them when you plan to travel and whether you are travelling as a single, couple, family or group and one of their expert representatives will promptly reply with some ideas and prices. They will tell you everything you need to know to plan a great trip.
Rather know more before you talk with someone? Check out the Gamewatchers’ website planning page or have a free planning guide sent to you.
Either way, have a great trip!
Sundowner view outside Gamewatchers Rhino Camp
First published 16 May 2019. All photos and text are © Clinton Richardson. All images are from his galleries at TrekPic.com
About Clinton Richardson
Clinton Richardson has been writing and taking photographs for decades. His books include the critically acclaimed 5th edition Richardson’s Growth Company Guide 5.0 and the award-winning book about social media and ancient coins called Ancient Selfies. His images, including images taken on his trip, can be viewed at TrekPic.com. His Venture Moola blog can be viewed at Readjanus.com.