Ever wondered what effect your African safari or holiday is having on the local environment you're visiting? Take a moment to reflect: Africa has her share of amazing luxury lodges and incomparable wildlife experiences but the continent is the world's poorest and her people and ecosystems beset by all manner of hardships and challenges.

Happily, there's a new approach to African travel: eco-holidays in Africa. Operators, lodges and wildlife authorities all over the continent are actively promoting responsible, sustainable, eco-friendly travel to Africa, working not only to conserve the natural environment but also to give back to local communities.

Indeed, communities across Africa have been considerably uplifted by such initiatives: employment is generated by training disadvantaged community members to become guides, support staff or chefs; life skills like computer literacy and HIV awareness are provided; and in many cases, tribal communities such as the Kenyan and Tanzanian Maasai are now genuinely involved in the management of their traditional lands that have been set aside for tourism.

Other responsible travel role players support wildlife and conservation initiatives by funding animal rehabilitation centres, promoting awareness about rare fauna and flora and encouraging sustainable environmental programmes. Look out for lodges that are eco-friendly and recycle their waste, grow organic vegetables and use solar power or try an African eco-holiday that puts you at the heart of the community and its development projects.

It's easy to get carried away by the magic of Africa but why not ensure your African holiday or safari has purpose and makes a meaningful contribution to the continent?

Check out our selection of African hotels and lodges who are actively involved in making a difference to Africa or find the best African eco-safari or holiday from our hand-picked list. Should you need more information or advice, simply contact one of our African Safari Experts for assistance.