Africa is such a diversity and richness of unforgettable experiences. Here we will present you with options for travels supporting local communities, conservation organisations or projects. They have a common goal for the ecotourism activity to serve as an economic development and poverty alleviation of the local communities nearby the marine og wildlife parks. We also present you with projects that empower both the visitors and local community through education and contribution to research projects. Experiences that leave you not only more inspired, more knowledgable but also with a feeling of contributing to the environment, science and communities as a “citizen scientist”.
In below great ape conservation projects you can engage yourself in Chimpanzee and Gorilla conservation. The two projects are placed on the eastern part of the Chimpanzee and Gorilla distribution area, both working to preserve remaining populations. The two projects and national parks are deeply involved in educating local communities on sustainable use and management of the ecosystem and wildlife conservation.
Read more on the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Lake Victoria, Uganda here, and find out how to contribute or visit.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in the corner between Uganda, DRC and Rwanda. You can read more about te different conservation projects, how to contribute and visit here.
If you are interested in visiting other of the national parks in Uganda or read more about the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park , look here.
Rwanda & DRC
Gorilla trekking is possible in two national parks in Bwindi, Uganda and Virunga, DRC where you can access from Rwanda. Only small groups of visitors are allowed to get close to and become fascinated by these great apes. Tourist visits support the conservation programs of the mountain gorillas as well as the park’s functioning. Both Virunga and Bwindi are neighbouring the eastern distribution zone of the mountain gorilla’s habitat, which is mainly covered by the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is only a small fraction of the gorilla populations that are protected by national parks as most live outside the borders of these. Human conflicts, deforestation, and exploitation of their natural habitats are causing a great threat to the long-term survival of this species.
Through mountain hikes it is possible to get in close proximity to the gorillas and to enjoy the rich biodiversity of flora and fauna this area offers.
Read more on the different conservation projects in Virunga National Park, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) here, and find out how to contribute or visit.
In Sierra Leone you can visit a dedicated Chimpanzee sanctuary that is rehabilitating and creating safe space for orphaned and endangered chimpanzees. The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary endeavours to help protect and conserve the species in the wild by engaging with the public through environmental sensitisation and training programs. The sanctuary has a high emphasis on community development, community outreach and education as well as field research.
Read more on the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Sierra Leone Chimanzee Rehabilitation Programme here, and find out how to contribute or visit.
Several ecotourism and conservation projects are available to attend and support in Mozambique. Some invite the participants to become “citizen scientists” where they assist scientists in gathering valuable data about wildlife. Such experiences can inspire to a wealth of knowledge and to be contributing to ongoing success of both science, conservation and ecotourism.
Ponta do Ouro:
An opportunity to experience marine wildlife in a sustainable way that supports both the conservation and research of the species, can be found in Ponta do Ouro at the Dolphin research centre. You can find more information on how to visit, volunteer or contribute from their website and Facebook site below.
Here you can find opportunities for joining marine research on whale sharks, sea turtles and manta rays through unique diving and snorkelling excursions.
For more information on the research projects involving citizen scientists, read here:
On the high end of ecotourism and conservation of the pristine reefs off Vilanculos, one can visit the Bazzaruto Archipelago for spectacular diving and snorkelling experiences.
Bazzaruto Archipelago and The Sanctuary
Another more low budget options is to stay in Vilanculos and join the various diving operators that also offer excursions to other nearby reefs with a high biodiversity off the coast of Vilanculos.
The odyssea divers offer both great diving and accommodation.
Fishing and snorkelling tours can be accommodated by Big Blue Vilankulo
The Cabo Delgado region of northern Mozambique offers unique opportunities for wildlife experiences on both land and sea. The area is not yet very developed with regards to tourism but have been assigned as a conservation – and ecotourism site with a high priority to sustain its unique biodiversity through a sustainable development of both the environment and local communities.
Local backpacker accommodation can be viewed on Mozambique Backpackers.
For more information on the unique marine biodiversity and conservation projects, read article on this site:
And for more information on the development of conservation projects and ecotourism, read below:
Siyabona Africa, Mozambique Travel Articles
South Africa has long been a role model within ecotourism that also involves citizen science where tourists or locals can support research and participate in projects on short or longer time scales.
Blue Wilderness supports conservation of sharks and creates inspiring outreach to promote awareness on these beautiful animals.
Around Sub-Saharan Africa:
African Parks is an non-profit organisation that applies a business approach towards conservation of wildlife. They co-manage 7 national parks with national authorities across 6 sub-saharan African countries.
To visit the national parks and read more about African Parks, check this out.
and read more about African Parks impact on Chad’s initiative to burn its ivory stockpiles and prevent illegal trade, here.