Press Release

World Tourism Day: AWF Announces Successful Return of African Safaris

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Flawless summer safaris in Tanzania pave the way for confirmed 2022 in-person trips, including Kidepo Valley, Semliki Wildlife Reserve & Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda; Etosha National Park, Namibia; and Save Valley, Zambezi River & Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

WASHINGTON, D.C. AND NAIROBI, KENYA (September 27, 2021) – To mark World Tourism Day and celebrate the safe restart of in-person travel to Africa’s vast natural landscapes, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) Safari Program today announced the completion of two successful in-person safaris in Tanzania, recently operated in August, along with its updated safari schedule for 2022.

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has designated World Tourism Day 2021 as a day to focus on “Tourism for Inclusive Growth.” For communities in Africa working on the front lines of conservation, wildlife tourism is a critical component of their livelihoods and an important driver for sustainable development. Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic continue to have social and economic impacts across the continent in protected areas, but signs of normalcy are slowly returning.

AWF Safari Program Manager Carter Smith said, “We have helped many marginalized groups who have been impacted over the past year and half. The decision was not easy. But after careful deliberation, we decided it was time to embrace this new normal and commence in-person travel. Too much is at stake.”

With the international community and African governments focused on preventing biodiversity loss, wildlife tourism is elevated in terms of financing conservation communities, land leases, and recourses that protect it. Before the COVID pandemic, tourism accounted for over 4 percent of Kenya’s GDP directly and over 10 percent when accounting for indirect services related to the tourism industry. In both South Africa and Tanzania, over 1.3 million jobs are linked to the tourism industry. In Rwanda, wildlife-based tourism is the highest foreign currency generator.   

AWF Safaris participant Nan Kirlin said, “AWF provided an opportunity to witness first-hand the importance of their work in Africa, specifically, Tanzania. Without organizations like AWF, we may not have had the amazing wildlife experience that we enjoyed. Knowing that there are folks dedicated to the preservation of this piece of the planet renews my faith that humans can co-exist with the rest of the creatures on the Earth.”

Photo of tourists on AWF safari in Tanzania

Carter Smith continued, “AWF Safaris was determined to get our supporters back out on safari because conservation travel is now more critical than ever. In-person tourism will help kickstart economic recovery in African countries and restore important revenue streams that fund efforts to protect wildlife and wild lands and continue to put food on the table for so many. The immensely positive feedback from our guides, the staff of our partners like Thomson Safaris, and from our travelers was more than enough to show us that this restart was a big success. At a time when most outfits are still dipping their toes back in the water, AWF operated a successful and safe return to in-person safaris in Africa.”

AWF Safaris has announced safaris in Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe for 2022. Learn more about the full line-up of AWF’s in-person safari events.

About African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.

MEDIA CONTACT:  For more information and interviews with wildlife travel and tourism experts about how AWF Safari Program and the successful return of in-person wildlife safari to African countries, contact Patrick Mitchell of AWF in Washington, D.C. at or (202) 991-7508.