Can a Safari Camp Be Eco-Friendly?

The first luxury safari camp in eastern Rwanda opens to guests while another in South Africa that pioneered safari vacations gets a rebuild. The following five properties are among the most noteworthy safari camps scheduled to open in Africa over the next few months. They are all in prime game-viewing locales and each says it is committed to sustainability.

Situated on a 30,000-acre private reserve replete with wildlife on the border of Kruger National Park, MalaMala first opened in 1964 and pioneered the idea of the photographic safari in South Africa. It’s been completely rebuilt over the last 15 months, and the new look includes African slate floors in the 19 guest rooms and artworks from contemporary African artists throughout. When it comes to sustainability, the camp has eliminated single-use plastics and uses reed beds to filter its liquid waste and sewerage before the “clean” water is released back into the surrounding rivers. Nightly rates from $925 a person, inclusive of meals, alcoholic beverages, laundry and game viewing. Opening Dec. 15.

Bordering Kruger National Park, Cheetah Plains is made up of three houses, each with four bedrooms, multiple communal spaces, a wine cellar, a pool and indoor and outdoor dining areas. Each home has its own private chef, and a spa therapist. Guests can go on twice-daily game rides where they can expect to see lions, white rhinos, leopards and more than 300 bird species, including the elusive hawk eagle. The camp uses electric game driving vehicles, energy-efficient appliances and a filtration system that recycles waste water. Nightly rates from $6,600 for four people, inclusive of meals, alcoholic beverages and game viewing. Opening Dec. 15.

From the eco-tourism operator Wilderness Safaris, the six-tent Magashi will be the first high-end property to open in Akagera National Park, spanning nearly 250,000 acres, in eastern Rwanda. Overlooking Lake Rwanyakazinga, the camp is being built with sustainably harvested wood. Akagera has a diverse ecosystem of open plains, woodlands, lakes and grassy low mountains, and guests can view its wildlife — large crocodiles, spotted hyenas and the rare black rhino among the bunch — on game drives, walks and boating trips. Nightly rates from $470 a person, inclusive of meals, alcoholic beverages and all game viewing. Opening April 2019.

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