Saving Wildlife and the Wilderness

In the world of glamping — which inherently is a culture of excess out in the wild — it’s always nice to give back. Sure, you can donate money directly to conservation groups, but you could also support properties that already strive to preserve the animals and wilderness of the regions where they’re established.

save the rhino trustImage Credit: Save The Rhino Trust Namibia

For example, Desert Rhino Camp in the Palmweg concession of Namibia, is a collaboration of safari operator Wilderness Safaris and the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT). It’s the base of operations for rhino tracking tours, where guests are led in vehicles and on foot to encounter the elusive and endangered black rhinoceros — a species whose population has been decimated over the decades from illegal poaching. When the tours are over and you’re sipping a gin and tonic on the porch of your canvas cottage, the SRT continues to dedicate itself to the protection of the rhinos and their habitat.

africat cheetahImage Credit: AfriCat Foundation

With a customized safari through Namibia by outfitter CW Safaris, you can drive just a couple hundred miles away to Okonjima, home of AfriCat Foundation, which strives to work with local farming communities in their rehabilitation programs for misplaced cheetahs, leopards, and wild dogs. They also sponsor school trips to educate future generations on the importance of conservation. Guests can visit the big felines as they are reconditioned to their natural environment by day, while sleeping in camps with luxury amenities by night.

mustang monumentImage Credit: Mustang Monument Wild Horse Eco-Resort

Meanwhile in Nevada, a similar effort is being done by the folks at the Mustang Monument Wild Horse Eco-Resort, which is not just a place where you can camp in a tipi fitted with hardwood floors and cosy beds. Founder Madeleine Pickens and her team of cowboys are committed to the Saving America’s Mustangs foundation, which aims to protect the mere thousands of wild mustangs left in America with a permanent preserve for them to roam free.

Precious ecosystems are also being supported by glamping destinations. The folks at EcoCamp Patagonia, in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, are committed to sustainability with green energy practices in conjunction with their inventive design of sustainable — and comfortable — dome tents. They share their innovations with the Corporacion Fomento & Producción (CORFO), so that other local businesses can follow suit in this region increasingly affected by climate change.

maasai wilderness cons trustImage Credit: Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust

At Kenya’s Camp Ya Kanzi, in Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa,” the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) works with Maasai leaders to educate the local communities on best practices to co-exist with wild animals, and to maintain their ecosystem wisely. While the MWCT USA office president and acclaimed actor Edward Norton may not be there during your stay, you can rest assured — in tented cottages so luxurious that they even have bidets — that part of the money you spend goes to their conservation efforts. After all, the environment, and the indigenous animals within, are the real celebrities in these parts.