Travelling in Africa | The Best of the Rest

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Dibangombe, Zimbabwe

As well as offering courses in conservation (to eco-professionals), and bush and wildlife awareness to tourists and firms, Dibangombe Ranch is lighting what it calls "eco-candles" through its relations with tribal neighbours. Situated 35km from Victoria Falls, the large ranch offers game drives, bush hikes and elephant-back game-viewing in untarnished wilderness.

Women at Work, South Africa

In South Africa's Mpumalanga province, tourists can meet a new breed of farmer: women producing commodities such as essential oils, medicinal plants and sugar for international markets. The women, who lived in tribal reserves under apartheid, are opening their homes and farms to raise awareness and funding for gender projects, from literacy and safe sex campaigns, to raising seed capital for nascent businesses.

Adrere Amellal Desert Eco-lodge, Egypt

Located in Siwa Oasis, Adrere Amellal offers insight into desert geology, ecology, history and culture. The lodge has 27 rooms, a dining area, a large stone pool (a restored Roman well), a herbarium and a library.

The camp is centred around Tembo House, overlooking Kilimanjaro and constructed (without clearing trees) from local lava rock and thatch. Italian and Maasai themes are expressed in the decor and cuisine (prepared on a special eco-charcoal burner). Kitchen waste provides the compost for an organic vegetable garden. Guests luxuriate on Italian linen in six tented cottages or a suite, set on wooden platforms under thatch.

The en suite bathrooms have eco-friendly flush toilets. Electricity and hot water are solar-generated. Guests enjoy game drives, walks and village visits. Nearby, another Group Ranch project has received international acclaim. Ol Donyo Wuas Lodge, operated by Richard Bonham Safaris, was highly commended in the 2001 British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

Money raised through wildlife-based tourism funds projects that create employment and raise living standards. Tourists can choose how their donation is spent; over US$81,000 has been generated for the community.

Contributor: Stephanie Debere