About Many Africas
The origin story of this site can be read in a blog post. But really, it comes from a fortunate life of extensive travel (I am a teacher, and restless in school holidays, although I now limit myself to one return flight a year), and a growing awareness of the impacts of it, both positive and negative, as I revisit favourite places. Having once 'worked' writing guide books, I have watched the experience of travelling through (but mostly over) the African continent transform in the last couple of decades, with a cash-rich and time-poor western culture leading to ever-more polished and expensive travel 'products' being placed in front of 'consumers'. I don't want to rail against these experiences here (although polepole, or 'take it slowly' in Swahili, remains good advice), but instead offer slower alternatives or, if you really are short of time, recommend the best of these places, not only in terms of their hospitality, guiding and the quality and immersiveness of their experience (a clear priority if you are short of time), but also in terms of their wider mission and aims. These are:
An enterprise which contributes to a wider conservation or habitat restoration effort. Or which exists primarily for this purpose. A private conservancy or nature reserve is a good example of this. National Parks too, obviously - many of these have been quite incredibly revitalised with the support of NGOs, zoological societies and private businesses.
An enterprise which employs, upskills, educates and nurses its local community as widely as possible, and buys local. Or which exists primarily for this purpose. A lodge in a community conservancy is a good example of this, as is a community conservancy itself.
This is a tough one, given then air miles involved, although I do like to promote businesses which are at a price point accessible to local, urban middle classes. But in general, a business which treads as lightly as possible on the landscape.
Most places featured on this site will do all of the above, and provide you with a stunning holiday. Ideally, you will also feel a lifelong connection to the places you visit, and will keep going back.
Background image: elephant transporters in Liwonde National Park, Malawi, in 2017, waiting for family groups to be herded (by helicopter!) towards them, so that they could transport them across the country to develop and diversify the population in Nkhotakhota Wildlife Reserve. A stunning thing to witness in this small but special park beside the evergreen banks of the Shire River, which has since added lion and cheetah to its population.