When I travel global I love to “act local” and support local businesses. Yet many safari companies in Tanzania are run by overseas agents who then subcontract with local operators and pay few local taxes or fees, employ no local staff, and have very little real investment the country.
There’s a growing focus on sustainability and responsible tourism in the safari business. Travelers now prioritize minimizing environmental impact, supporting local communities, and contributing to wildlife conservation. They choose eco-friendly accommodations, engage in conservation initiatives, and prefer sustainable operators.
Enter Wilderness Legends Africa, a locally owned safari company in Arusha, Tanzania. I first met co-owner, Donatus Gadiye, at a soirée at Welcome Jerde and Dan Berg’s lovely home in Minneapolis, MN, in 2019. I liked him immediately, as Donatus has a thoughtful and engaging personality with a winning smile that’s hard to beat. Donatus was in town to raise funds for electronic collars for elephant tracking in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where he is now the head of Wildlife Protection Services and to answer safari questions for our planned March 2020 trip to Tanzania.
Covid delayed our trip by two years, but it was well worth the wait. Donatus is a terrific troubleshooter on the fly, and provided us with three outstanding guides; Elia Chonjo, Baraza Matangos Salaho and Christian Gidori. Not only were they experienced, hardworking and good natured, they also knew exactly what to look for and where in the national parks and conservation areas. With their keen eyes, some early mornings, and a little luck, we witnessed “the Big Five;” lion, rhino, leopard, elephant and cape buffalo, roaming freely in their own habitat. Something I will never forget. We also shared many a meal and lots of laughter together, and experienced the Maasai, Hadza and Datoga tribes and completed service projects at the Dr. Wilbroad Slaa Secondary School in the village of Bassodawish.
A life-changing experience with help from locally-owned Wilderness Legends Africa. Asante sana, Donatus and team. Thanks again for making our Tanzanian adventure extra special. Until we meet again!
Guest Contributor and photos by Steven Mosborg