AWF Safaris

AWF Safaris


Africa is home to the most spectacular and awe-inspiring wildlife and landscapes in the world. There is no better way to enjoy these incredible world treasures than by joining a safari to experience the magnificence of the continent first hand. With a presence of six decades on the continent and 20 years of crafting stellar safari experiences, African Wildlife Foundation is uniquely positioned to offer exceptional itineraries that blend outstanding wildlife viewing with chances to see AWF's projects and learn about critical conservation issues from the experts.

Gorilla

About AWF Safaris

Prepare for the experience of a lifetime.

Africa is home to the most spectacular and awe-inspiring wildlife and landscapes in the world. There is no better way to enjoy these incredible world treasures than by joining a safari to experience the magnificence of the continent first hand. With a presence of six decades on the continent and 20 years of crafting stellar safari experiences, African Wildlife Foundation is uniquely positioned to offer exceptional itineraries that blend outstanding wildlife viewing with chances to see AWF's projects and learn about critical conservation issues from the experts.

Conservation travel is now more critical than ever.

COVID-19 has been devastating and its impacts far-reaching, but some industries have been hit harder than others. Tourism, one of the primary drivers of economic growth on the continent, was brought to a virtual halt overnight. The resulting ripple effect is vast, and the effect on wildlife economies is massive.

How can you help? Book your 2022 safari and be one of the first to help pick the tourism industry back off the ground. By booking, communities whose livelihoods rely on tourism will be directly supported. While traveling, you will learn first-hand how AWF is working to make an impact in the areas we travel. 

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2022 60th Anniversary Safaris

Book now and get ready for your adventure.

Email Carter Smith at csmith@awf.org to learn more.

Uganda Safari

Uganda: Kidepo Valley, Semliki Wildlife Reserve & Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

REGISTRATION CLOSED

This exclusive safari explores the best of Uganda's diverse landscapes. Begin in Kidepo Valley, ringed by mountains in the far northeast of Uganda. This paradise is known for its large herds of buffalo, zebra, and the occasional tree-climbing lion. Venture onwards to the Semliki Wildlife Reserve, where enroute you trek chimpanzees in the forests of Kibale and then in Semliki enjoy a private boat cruise on Lake Albert in search of the critically endangered shoebill. You will then travel to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for exceptional encounters with critically endangered mountain gorillas.

This safari remains one of our most popular for many reasons. It is led by AWF’s senior vice president Craig Sholley who is a gorilla conservation expert and shares his 4 decades of experience. As an L.S.B. Leakey grant researcher, Craig studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey and later became director of Rwanda's Mountain Gorilla Project, of which AWF was a sponsor (see bio) This trip is also exceptional because it includes 2 gorilla treks and a chimpanzee trek.

Uganda Safari dates: February 3 - 12, 2022
Maximum participants: 10

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Kenya Safari

Kenya: Amboseli, Samburu & Masai Mara

REGISTRATION CLOSED

Our Kenya safari showcases the absolute best of Kenya, with visits to three renowned wildlife rich areas: Amboseli, Samburu and the Masai Mara. As we observe wildlife in its natural habitat your AWF leader will share conservation issues facing the parks, conservancies and reserves. We kick this 10-day safari off with a visit to AWF’s headquarters in Nairobi and a visit to the Sheldrick elephant orphanage. We then head out on safari to behold some of the most outstanding wildlife rich parks, reserves and conservancies and learn about important AWF legacy work that has taken place over the last 6 decades in Kenya. This includes conservation enterprise work, conservancy work, and the Charlotte Fellows Program which AWF created – providing a platform for powerful local conservation leadership.

This safari is led by AWF’s safari program manager, Carter Smith. Carter called Kenya home for 20+ years. She conducted her graduate work in ecology on the martial eagle here and operated her own safari company and worked in elephant conservation.

Kenya Safari dates: January 15 - 24, 2022
Maximum participants: 10

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Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe with AdventureWomen

For those women travelers out there who are seeking an adventure, we hope that you consider joining this safari to Zimbabwe with our new partner AdventureWomen. We have joined forces to offer an exciting all women safari to Zimbabwe which starts at Victoria Falls, located on the Zambezi River bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Falls are a spectacle of awe-inspiring power, beauty, and grandeur. This safari is packed with exceptional experiences including a dinner cruise on the Zambezi, rhino trekking, visit a school built by AWF and guest visits by some remarkable women – including Zimbabwe Country Director Olivia Mufute. You will be led throughout Zimbabwe by your AdventureWomen Ambassador Judi Wineland and your AWF Representative Carter Smith for this amazing safari experience where we visit Hwange National Park, Lake Kariba, and Mana Pools National Park.

Zimbawbe Safari dates: May 9 - 20, 2022
Maximum participants: 14

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Namibia: Etosha National Park

Namibia: Etosha National Park

Embark on a journey to one of Africa's most unique destinations. Namibia is a land of stunning landscapes, endless skies, barren deserts, rugged mountains, and spectacular wildlife. This Namibia safari explores some of the most remote areas of this fascinating land —areas rarely explored by others, making this a true journey of discovery. From the dunes of Sossusvlei to the dramatic coastline of the Skeleton Coast, littered with historic remnants of shipwrecks, and remote Etosha National Park, home to white and black rhinos and more than 340 species of birds, this Namibia safari offers a range of experiences. This safari is ideal for the experienced safari-goer, though it is open to any and all who have adventure at heart.

Namibia Safari dates: May 21 - 31, 2022
Maximum participants: 10

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Serengeti

Tanzania with Thomson Safaris

This classic Tanzania safari is operated by our long-standing and valued partner Thomson Safaris and features the very best that Tanzania has to offer! This is another one of our popular safaris and one that fills fast, so we are offering 2 safari departures. They both include a VIP visit to AWF's Canines for Conservation and absolutely superb wildlife viewing in Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and the legendary Serengeti. This safari is scheduled to coincide with the annual migration, and allows you to observe countless wildebeest and zebra as they strive for diminishing water and green pasture. Accommodations include a blend of well-located, tastefully-appointed tented camps and award-winning lodges.

Tanzania Safari dates:
August 1 - 12, 2022 (Safari 1)
August 13 - 24, 2022 (Safari 2)
Maximum participants: 12

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Zimbabwe Rhinos

Zimbabwe: Savé Valley, Zambezi River & Victoria Falls

If it is wildlife you seek, look no further than this adventure to Zimbabwe. We have a terrific AWF team on the ground, led by Country Director Olivia Mufute. Join this specially curated safari and experience an anti-poaching unit in action; track rhinos in a conservancy supported by AWF; and visit Lupani, an AWF Classroom Africa school. You will spend two full days in Savé Valley Conservancy, a vast private reserve home to one of Africa's largest populations of black and white rhino as well as searching for hippos and crocodiles during a Zambezi River cruise.  You will experience three diverse and wild destinations on this safari; Savé Valley, one of Africa’s largest private reserves, the wildlife-rich flood plains of the Zambezi River, and mighty Victoria Falls.

Zimbabwe Safari dates: September 4 - 13, 2022
Maximum participants: 10

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AWF Safari Leaders

AWF Safari Leaders

Craig Sholley

Craig R. Sholley

Craig R. Sholley's experiences with wildlife and conservation began in 1973 as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. He has worked and traveled extensively since that time providing conservation expertise in a variety of world arenas. As an L.S.B. Leakey grant researcher in the late 1970s, Craig studied mountain gorillas at Rwanda’s celebrated Karisoke Research Centre with Dian Fossey. Returning to the U.S., he redirected his interests designing natural history educational programs and wildlife tours for the Baltimore Zoological Society. Concurrently, Craig led nature expeditions and photographed throughout Africa, South America, and Asia.

In late 1987, Craig returned to Africa full time to direct Rwanda's internationally known Mountain Gorilla Project. Turning the project over to the Rwandan government in early 1990, Craig continued in Rwanda acting as Scientific Advisor for the award-winning IMAX film, "Mountain Gorilla." Craig has served as a Senior Associate of the African Wildlife Foundation and on AWF’s Board of Trustees. He has also served on the Board of the Ecotourism Society. Throughout much of the ‘90s, Craig was Director of Conservation and Education for International Expeditions, an organization widely recognized for its ecotourism initiatives.

Craig returned to Rwanda in 1995 on assignment with the National Geographic Society surveying the conservation status of mountain gorillas in Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda in the aftermath of Rwanda's civil war. The findings of that trip are the basis of a 1995 article in the National Geographic Magazine on mountain gorilla conservation. Craig has worked full time with AWF for the last 18 years and presently serves as Senior Vice-President.

Carter Smith

Carter Smith

Carter Smith moved to Kenya in 1994 to pursue her dream of a life in wildlife conservation in Africa, and she never looked back. Her early years in East Africa were spent living in the bush rehabilitating birds of prey while completing her graduate degree in Ecology on the Martial eagle. Following her graduate study, affiliated with Kenya Wildlife Service, National Museums of Kenya, and the University of Leicester, she went from eagles to elephants. She joined Save the Elephants and worked closely with Sir Iain Douglas-Hamilton as Donor Relations Officer. During this time, Carter became one of the first female licensed safari guides with the Kenya Safari Guide Association.

In 2005 Carter started her own safari venture and led private safaris throughout East Africa for 15 years. “I always feel privileged when someone asks me to create a safari for them. I have discovered that the real sense of success I receive is when guests return from their safari. I know that they will be profoundly affected. My favorite comment from a client was that it was not just a trip of a lifetime — it was a trip that changed her life. She had traveled the world, but said there was nothing like her safari experience.”

Carter joined African Wildlife Foundation in January 2019 to manage AWF Safaris and help the program reach and inspire a greater audience. She is thrilled to be continuing on her steadfast path of furthering African wildlife conservation.

Carter is the author of the children’s book "African Tea," which she wrote while living in the bush in Kenya.