PETA is announcing the recipients of its inaugural Animal-Friendly African Safari Award, which recognizes safari companies that offer wildlife viewing on protected reserves or in national parks and, among other things, maintain a respectful distance from wild animals and guide small groups at specific times of the day to minimize stress to the animals.
Here are the winners of PETA’s Animal-Friendly African Safaris Award:
Alluring Africa, Winter Park, Forida
Diana Edelman, CEO and founder of Vegans, Baby, has designed a luxury itinerary that introduces guests to diverse vegan cuisine and conservation-focused experiences. One of the company’s safari camps is located on the 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve, a former hunting reserve with an abundance of wildlife. The area is home to large prides of lions, hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs, and visitors keep a safe distance to observe the animals as they go about their daily lives in their natural habitat.
World Vegan Travel, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
The tours offered by World Vegan Travel cover a wide range of destinations, and activities are designed by vegans for vegans. Its tours include guided wildlife-viewing walks through a forested primate sanctuary, an afternoon river cruise to observe birds and monkeys, a tour of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest aviary, and rhino conservation lessons. A local vegan chef will also teach guests how to prepare traditional African plant-based cuisine.
Kings Camp, White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Kings Camp provides a luxurious safari experience with a certified vegan hospitality consultant to ensure that all of the guests’ needs are met. The camp is situated in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, overlooking an open savanna plain with an active waterhole frequented by a diverse range of wildlife. Visitors are invited to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, a safe haven for orphaned, injured, or poisoned wildlife such as lions, rhinos, and leopards.
Vegan Safari Africa, Boseja, Maun, Botswana is Animal-Friendly African Safari
The Deception Valley Lodge, one of the featured lodges on this safari, was once a collection of eight cattle farms that were rewilded by removing the fencing and creating migration corridors, naturalizing waterholes, and allowing roads to become overgrown so that wildlife could thrive again. Helene Forward, the vegan owner, personally visits all safari lodges to ensure they are vegan-friendly and personally trains the chefs for the mobile camping safaris.
Air Safaris 269, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
JC De Klerk, the vegan owner and pilot, personally ensures that his tours are 100% vegan, including vegan versions of traditional South African dishes such as braai (South African BBQ) and melktert (custard pie). Visitors can select from 14 packages that include viewing animals in their natural habitats by air and land, visiting a rehabilitation center for previously captive African big cats, and learning about research into African wild dog populations.
“These safari companies are winners because they offer cruelty-free adventures that respect animals enough to let them live in peace and they make sure guests’ food and toiletry choices are animal-friendly. PETA urges travelers to do their research and choose safaris that respect animals and never allow harmful, hands-on encounters.”PETA President Ingrid Newkirk
According to studies, one-quarter of safari guests are now Animal-Friendly African Safari, vegetarian or vegan, and safaris that allow for observation of animals in their natural habitat rather than forced interactions are on the rise. Meanwhile, trophy hunters who spend $50,000 or more to travel to Africa to kill native wildlife are falling behind as more people prefer to “shoot” animals with cameras rather than guns.
The dry winter months (generally from June to September) are ideal for African safaris. It is recommended that these trips be booked six months to a year in advance.