For most people, the word “safari” conjures images of stalking Africa’s Big Five in an open air Land Cruiser. And for good reason: safaris have their origins in eastern Africa. Today, however, travelers can go on safari in a variety of wildlife-packed destinations and for US travelers looking to stay closer to home this year, Belize is a great option.
Belize is home to more than 150 species of mammals, 540 species of birds, 151 species of amphibians and reptiles, nearly 600 species of freshwater and marine fishes, and 3,408 species of vascular plants. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System stretches the entire length of Belize’s coastline. The reef’s diversity and size have qualified the reef to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in recognition of its rich biodiversity and consequent global importance. Belize also plays an integral part in the maintenance of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, a network of protected areas linked by biological habitat corridors, stretching from Mexico to Panama.
Well-planned safaris, no matter the destination, should have minimal impact on wildlife and the environs in which they live. The upside: there’s no need to sacrifice comfort for eco-friendliness.
In Belize, check out the Belize Lodge & Excursions’ (BLE) safari circuit (www.belizelodge.com). BLE’s 19-mile circuit of safari-style luxury lodges creates a unique trans-habitat expedition. Travel in style through tropical forests, down pristine jungle rivers, and emerge in the turquoise Caribbean waters of the world’s second longest barrier reef.
Sustainable Tourism Measures at BLE
Support local and international efforts for research and conservation
Solar and wind energy initiatives
Sustainable economic development for local people