The first truly ethical African safari is coming this spring

Have you ever wondered what a safari in South Africa would be like? Fortunately, you may have the opportunity thanks to community organizer, world traveler and vegan business advocate Diana Edelman from Vegans, Baby. Edelman is conducting an ethical and intimate group travel experience in South Africa in May 2022 and registration is now open. The eight-night trip for 10 people includes a five-day stay in Cape Town, three nights at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, vegan wine tasting, chef-prepared meals, afternoon tea, garden tour, and more. Whether you’re seriously considering booking your place or just need a little wanderlust, we’ve got the inside scoop on all the big plans for this enchanting and eco-friendly vegan safari.

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Rooted in South Africa

Given the severe travel restrictions of the past two years, many are eager to get out and see the world again. With so many unique places to visit, it can be daunting to choose just one. Edelman moved to South Africa after regular and constant knocks from her South African friends who repeatedly praised their home country. She also had a deep desire to observe animals in their wild and natural habitats. Before launching this Travel + Leisure Recognized as one of the top nine vegan tours in the world – her Vegans, Baby Las Vegas Tour – Edelman has worked in elephant conservation and has become a leading expert in ethical wildlife tourism.

“There are programs in South Africa, like the Shamwari Private Game Reserve where we are going, that really do incredible conservation work, are environmentally conscious and focus on the welfare of the animals that call the game home. It’s places like this that really move me and align with my past work and draw me to South Africa,” Edelman explained.

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How to safari sustainably and ethically

While Edelman will lead the trip, she has employed the help of experts in the field of sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation. Alluring Africa curates unique travel experiences while adhering to strict ethical and sustainable principles to benefit not only tourists, but also the human and non-human animal communities they visit. With this maiden voyage, Edelman has become the company’s exclusive vegan curator, meaning customers won’t have to worry about the plant-based nature of their overseas meals.

She was also firm in stressing that this safari will not exploit animals for entertainment. The game viewing component will take place in a wildlife conservation area – Shamwari Private Game Reserve – which has maintained exemplary conservation standards for the past 25 years. Edelman compared Shamwari’s experience with other game drives she’s taken. While Shamwari only allows two vehicles near wildlife and limits off-roading so as not to disturb the natural ecosystem, the other safari she took part in in Sri Lanka was unfairly intended for human enjoyment at the expense of animals. She told us the cars would circle 10-20 animals at a time. “It made me feel uncomfortable and sad that we were impacting their lives and their movements when it shouldn’t be like that,” Edelman said.

“I hope that through the tours I offer and sharing my experiences, guides sharing theirs and conveying the impact we have on animals when we use them for entertainment, can reach people and help open our eyes and understand that these living, sentient beings deserve to live their lives without working for us,” she said.

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What to expect on a vegan safari

“Seeing African elephants for the first time in the wild was very emotional for me,” Edelman told us. “To see them living their life, traveling in their herds, it was incredible. And, of course, being near giraffes, rhinos, hippos, and more. was impressive. There were so many moments on this particular safari that struck me how intertwined we all are and how much our lives and decisions can impact the world. We are all connected to Shamwari, and I felt that very strongly.

The difference between a vegan and non-vegan safari is observation versus engagement. Guests will still be able to marvel at magnificent elephants living their natural lives, revel in watching African penguins waddle out of the ocean, and perhaps sweat when they realize the power of a rhino, but there is no You don’t have to corral or touch the animals to feel these things.

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Luxury Vegan Dining Experiences

Vegans travel for food, and Edelman pulls out all the stops. The welcome dinner alone features 14 dishes from across the African continent, veganized. The trip also includes a visit to one of Cape Town’s most biodiverse areas where a chef specializes in kelp and a luxurious evening spent at La Colombe, one of the world’s top 50 vegan restaurants.

“We work with amazing chefs and restaurants throughout the tour, ranging from traditional South African dishes to foraged meals and just plain exquisite plant-based dishes from world-class chefs,” Edelman teased.

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Vegan Travel Tips 101

There are only 10 places available for this dream trip, but there are still plenty of ways to travel well as a vegan. Edelman told us that she plans all of her trips around discovering vegan food. She’s not one to compromise or feed on sad bass and salads when she’s not home, and she offered all of her tried and tested advice to us.

“I search Facebook groups in the cities I plan to visit to see what places they are talking about, I do a ton of Google searches and also look at places like HappyCow…Vegan food can definitely be found, and I live to dig to find it. You just need to do a little research.

Looking to travel to Las Vegas or Portland in the New Year? Book your flight for January. Edelman is hosting the 5th annual Vegan Food Month in these two cities – think of it as one big food week and expect discounts and exclusive dishes on the vegan food scene.

A note on Omicron and travel:

  1. The vegan group safari organized by Edelman is over five months away, so at the moment there is no reason to worry about a postponement or cancellation.
  2. Should the Edelman Vegan Safari be rescheduled, alternative arrangements will be made for all confirmed guests. If guests feel uncomfortable traveling after making a deposit and need to cancel for any reason, they can file a claim with their travel insurance prior to travel.

For more on vegan travel, read:
Why Expedia will no longer sell Seaworld tickets
Disney’s Aladdin star releases vegan travel cookbook
Travel is back. Here’s how to plan your next vacation

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