Gallivanting across Africa in search of majestic and fascinating wild animals is at the top of many people’s bucket lists, and thankfully, there are more ways than ever to safari with an eco-friendly and socially conscious mindset. We found seven safari lodges that were created with heavy consideration for conservation and community: the only heavy footprint left is that of a gentle, gigantic elephant as he passes by.

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Chem Chem, safari lodge, conservation, Tanzania

Chem Chem, Tanzania, sustainable safari, safari

Chem Chem Safari Lodge

This Tanzanian lodge, located within the Burunge Wildlife Management Area, prides itself on a “slow safari” ethos, with options including wilderness picnics, walking safaris with a private guide, and lessons in identifying wildlife tracks, as well as meetings with the lodge’s anti-poaching team. The tent-style suites and main house toe the line between rustic and glamorous and were crafted to bring to mind vintage safari lodges. A pool, spa, gourmet restaurant, and viewing tower make returning after a day of flamingo watching and safari-going a little easier.

Greystoke Mahale, chimpanzees, safari, Tanzania

Greystoke Mahale, Tanzania, eco lodge, chimpanzees

Greystoke Mahale

Operated by Nomad Tanzania, one of East Africa’s original safari companies, Greystoke Mahale will make visitors feel as if they have ventured to a magical place where beaches, forests, and mountains exist in harmony. The native chimps are the main attraction here, but with the beach of Lake Tanganyika at your feet and Mahale Mountains behind you, it’s an ideal location for exploring waterfalls, swimming, and having kayaking adventures.

Pamushana, Zimbabwe, community partnership, conservation

Image © Exploring Tourism Zimbabwe

Pamushana, eco lodge, safari, sustainable safari lodge

Pamushana Lodge

Pamushana Lodge, part of the conservation-focused Singita resorts family, has won multiple Leading Safari Lodge awards, and this Zimbabwe retreat gives back in a major way. As the ecotourism arm for a 130,000-acre reserve, Singita manages the lodge on behalf of an environmental trust: all proceeds from the lodge benefit conservation and community partnership efforts. The local culture is honored in small ways, such as the beaded and adorned throw pillows, as well are more dramatic ways, including the preservation of a diversity of habitats from grasslands to broad-leaf forests.

Grootbos Nature Reserve, conservation, community efforts, sfari

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South African, safari lodge, safari

Related|Solar-powered safari lodge is a gorgeous green retreat in Botswana

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Not that you could ever get tired of seeing the usual suspects (giraffes, elephants, rhinos, lions, etc.) in real life, but the Grootbos Nature Reserve in South Africa offers alternate experiences including a marine safari to see the marine Big 5, a botanical 4 x 4 tour, or shark cage diving. The land is home to 791 plant species, including 100 endangered plant species, and milkwood forests that are over 1000 years old.

Duba Plains, Botswana, eco lodge, safari lodge

wildlife, safari, safari lodge, sustainable design

Duba Plains

Part of the Great Plains Conservation Camps, Duba Plains opened in March 2017, but it is already gaining a following for both its conservation and environmental stewardship as well as its proximity to plentiful wildlife (lions and buffalo are common sights). The rooms at the camp, located in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, were built on recycled railway sleeper decking to provide prime and varied animal viewing access.

Camp Ya Kanzi, Kenya, safari, eco safari lodge

Camp Ya Kenzi, solar-powered, safari, Maasai

Campi Ya Kanzi

The only safari lodge on a 283,000 Maasai-owned reserve, Camp Ya Kanzi (aka Camp of the Hidden Treasure) shouldn’t remain hidden to you or your fellow safari adventurers: the expansive view of Kilimanjaro is reason enough to plan your visit. Stay in a tented cottage or tented suites or rent an entire private villa with a swimming pool supplied by rainwater.

Chad, glamping, safari, wildlifeImage © SteppesTravel UK

Camp Nomade, Chad, safari, eco safari lodge

Camp Nomade

Camp Nomade, located in Zakouma National Park in Chad, is exclusive in more ways than one: it’s only available from mid-December to mid-April each year when the park dries up, and can only host a maximum of eight visitors per week. With 360-degree views and the feeling of being plopped down in the middle of all the safari action, lucky visitors can look for buffalo, elephants, lions, leopards, baboons, and more.

Lead image via Camp Nomade