Safaris go sustainable… because that’s what the (rich) kids are into these days


June 17, 2019

Wealthy foreigners have “gone on safari” in Africa since the 1800s.

As tourists abandon rustic rhino-hunting for sustainable sightseeing, tour operators are constructing a new version of Africa for today’s tourists — and it’s built on imported Tesla batteries instead of imported rifles.

It’s time for… (*enthusiastic marketer leads drumroll*)… a rebrand!!

Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway went to Africa to kill its elephants; Prince Harry and George Clooney go to save its people. But some things never change: Celebrities who safari want to do it in style.

So, to attract celebrities with progressive preferences, tour companies are buying electric safari vehicles, building sustainable lodging, and focusing on eco-tourism.

But it’s still not exactly accessible to everyone…

Like people who actually live in Africa, for instance.

Most safari packages still start at prices of $750 per person per day — and can cost several thousand dollars depending on the level of luxury.

Like the lavish hunting expeditions of the Roosevelt era, these over-the-top eco-excursions are still geared toward wealthy foreigners, not local Africans.

Sustainability itself is a win. But the fact that tour companies prioritize the environment for tourists — while members of the African middle class, who often can’t afford safari vacations, don’t share that commitment — shows that the impact of new, green safaris is complex.

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