Six of the best new eco safari trips, from Namibia to Zambia

Carbon-negative camps, electric-powered wildlife-watching and not-for-profit conservation safari experiences: our pick of the best green safari trips.

Guests enjoying drinks around the campfire, Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, Kenya.

Photograph by Stevie Mann
By Emma Gregg
Published 28 Jul 2022, 06:03 BST

1. Chobe Game Lodge, Botswana

One of the first lodges to receive Botswana’s highest level of eco-certification, Chobe Game Lodge offered the country’s very first electric-powered wildlife-watching, both by land and by river. The expert, all-female guiding team — another trademark — handle the ultra-green fleet of four safari vehicles and four boats.

2. Emboo River Camp, Kenya

Proudly carbon-negative, this is the first Maasai Mara camp with an all-electric fleet of safari vehicles: upcycled 1990s Land Rovers, charged using solar power. The owners want to dump the old hunting term Big Five, too, in favour of the ‘Big 20’, celebrating unsung heroes of the savannah from fireflies to Maasai giraffes. 

3. Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

While this gloriously remote lodge doesn’t yet have ESVs, it does have e-bikes: the best way to navigate its starkly beautiful surroundings. Exceptionally low light pollution ensures astronomical adventures, too, via the lodge’s open-air observatory or through the starry skylight above your bed. 

The silent safari experience at Cheetah Plains, South Africa.

The silent safari experience at Cheetah Plains, South Africa.

Photograph by Cheetah Plains

Famous for guarding the world’s last two northern white rhinos, and healthy numbers of black and southern white rhinos, Ol Pejeta in Laikipia offers not-for-profit conservation safari experiences in beautiful grass and woodland landscapes. Ol Pejeta Bush Camp’s Kenya-built, solar-powered ESV saves 1,000 litres of diesel a year. 

5. Cheetah Plains, South Africa

Cheetah Plains, a sumptuous collection of exclusive-use, solar-powered villas in Sabi Sands Game Reserve in Greater Kruger, is owned by Japie van Niekerk, one of South Africa’s few early adopters of ESVs. Guests explore the landscape in vehicles that are customised for comfort as well as silence.

6. Shawa Luangwa Camp, Zambia

Bushwalks and ESV drives make perfect partners. It’s now possible to sample both in Africa’s top walking safari destination, South Luangwa National Park. Launched in 2021 by Zambia’s leading silent safari operator, Green Safaris, and run by notable guide Jacob Shawa, Shawa Luangwa is a new camp with e-Cruisers: ESVs that Green Safaris helped develop themselves. 

Published in the July/Aug 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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