Have you ever fantasized about going on a South African safari? Fortunately, due to Instagramer Diana Edelman (VegansBaby), a hardworking community organizer, international traveler, and vegan business champion, you might just have the chance. In June 2022, Edelman will lead an ethical, intimate group travel experience in South Africa, and registration is now open. The eight-night trip for ten people includes a five-day stay in Cape Town, three nights at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, vegan wine tasting, chef-curated meals, high tea, a garden tour, and other activities. Whether you're serious about booking a reservation or just looking for some travel inspiration, we've got the inside scoop on all the exciting plans for this charming, eco-friendly vegan destination.
South African origins
Given the recent travel limitations, many people are eager to get out and see the world again. With so many interesting sites to visit, it might be difficult to choose just one. Edelman chose South Africa after taking a beating from her South African friends, who had frequently extolled the virtues of their homeland. She also had a strong urge to watch animals in their natural environments. Before launching her las vegas trip, which Travel + Leisure named one of the best nine vegan tours in the world, Edelman worked in elephant conservation and became a prominent authority in responsible animal tourism.
“There are certain programs in South Africa, such as Shamwari Private Game Reserve, where we are going, that do a fantastic job of conservation, are eco-conscious, and are concerned with the well-being of the animals who call the reserve home.” “It's locations like that move me, that resonates with my previous work, and that pull me to South Africa,” Edelman remarked.
How to Safari in a Sustainable and Ethical Manner
While Edelman will be in charge of the trip, she has enlisted the help of specialists in sustainable tourism and animal protection. Alluring Africa curates one-of-a-kind travel experiences while adhering to stringent ethical and sustainable guidelines to benefit not only visitors but also the human and non-human animal populations that they visit. With this first trip, Edelman has become the company's sole vegan curator, which means guests won't have to worry about the plant-based nature of their meals while traveling.
She was also certain that this safari would not use animals for entertainment. The animal observation component will take place at the Shamwari Private Game Reserve, a wildlife conservation area that has maintained exceptional conservation standards for the past 25 years. Edelman contrasted Shamwari's safari to others she'd been on. While Shamwari only permits two vehicles near wildlife and bans off-roading to avoid disrupting the natural environment, the other safari she took in Sri Lanka was unjustly geared to human delight at the expense of the animals. She said that the automobiles would encircle 10 to 20 animals at once. “It made me feel uneasy and sad that we were having an effect on their lives and mobility when it shouldn't have been like that way,” Edelman said.
“I hope that the tours I give and the guides' experiences, as well as the impact we have on animals when we use them for entertainment, may touch home for people and help open their eyes and understand that these living, sentient beings deserve to enjoy their lives without working for us,” she said.
What can you anticipate from a vegan safari?
“Seeing African elephants in the wild for the first time was quite emotional for me,” Edelman told us. “It was fantastic to see them live their lives and move in their herds.” And, of course, seeing giraffes, rhinos, hippos, and other animals up close was incredible. There were so many instances on that safari that made me realize how linked we all are, and how our lives and actions have an effect on the planet. “At Shamwari, we're all connected, and I felt that quite powerfully.”
The difference between a vegan and a non-vegan safari is observation versus engagement. Guests will still be able to wonder at magnificent elephants living their natural lives, delight as they watch African penguins waddle out of the ocean, and perhaps get a sweat going when they realize the sheer power of a rhino, but there's no need to corral or touch the animals to feel these things.
Exceptional vegan dining experiences
Vegans travel for the cuisine, and Edelman is going all out. The welcome supper alone has 14 vegan delicacies from throughout the African continent. The itinerary also includes a visit to one of Cape Town's most biodiverse areas, where a chef specializes in kelp, and luxurious dinner at La Colombe, one of the world's 50 greatest vegan restaurants.
“Throughout the trip, we're collaborating with fantastic chefs and restaurants on everything from traditional South African fare to foraged dinners to just wonderful plant-based food from world-class chefs,” Edelman teased.
Vegan travel tips 101
There are only 10 spots available on this dream travel 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 the discovery of vegan food. She's not one for compromising or subsisting off bars and sad salads when she's away from home, and she offered us all her tried-and-true tips.
“I research Facebook groups in cities I plan on visiting to see what spots they are talking about, do a ton of Google research, and also look at spots like HappyCow … Vegan food can definitely be found, and I live for digging to find it. You just need to do a little research.”
A word on Covid and travel:
The vegan group safari organized by Edelman is a little more than months away, so there is no need to worry about postponing or canceling at this time.
If Edelman's vegan safari needs to be rescheduled, appropriate arrangements will be arranged for all confirmed attendees. If any guests are unsure about traveling after making a deposit and need to cancel for whatever reason, they may file a claim with their travel insurance before the trip.