‘The greatest wildlife show on earth’: Why safaris need saving 1 year 2 months ago #76

Park beside the Serengeti National Park’s Mara River in September or October and you’d usually join dozens of other safari jeeps. For this is when and where the Great Migration reaches its camera-grabbing apex, as humongous wildebeest herds dramatically ford the Mara and lion, leopard or crocodile pounce. Last month, however, one visitor reported being the only tourist present as the wildebeest crossed. Such a description is near impossible to envisage for anyone who has tracked the migration in Tanzania this millennium. For that single soul, it sounds like splendid isolation – just imagine having a whole Unesco heritage site to yourself to witness the greatest wildlife show on earth.

Safaris have provided many of my life’s greatest moments: the icy thrill of a lion looking right at me, or the exhilarating shock of being sprayed in mud by a cantankerous elephant. A high proportion of jobs in the likes of Malawi, Zimbabwe or Zambia are tourist-dependent – Kenya alone has reported a 56 per cent rise in ‘bushmeat’ seizures (from Kenyans hunting the likes of gazelle, monkey or even giraffe) since the pandemic began, and illegal logging and charcoal production have also escalated.

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Welcome to Conservation Mag where we celebrate nature through ecotourism and wildlife travel while we look for ways to preserve our heritage by supporting nature conservation. Starting conversations about the positive action people like you and I are taking to make a change, we discover and discuss strategies that result in the expansion of natural areas.