Wilderness Safaris: Impact Investing and Ecotourism Conservation in Africa

Case Solution

James E. Austin, Megan Epler Wood, Herman B. Leonard
Harvard Business School ()

In 2018, majority ownership of Wilderness Safaris, Africa’s leading high-end ecotourism company with safari operations in eight countries, The Rise Fund, one of the world’s largest private impact investment funds, and FS Investors, a private holding company. This is a follow-up to Wilderness Safaris: Ecotourism Entrepreneurship (HBS # 9318040), which focuses on the origins, growth and distinctive 4C business model of the company based on trade, conservation, community and culture. The two cases can be used sequentially or independently. The current case provides an opportunity to examine the justification for the impact funds investment and their methodology for measuring and evaluating non-financial impact variables, such as avoided deforestation and social costs and the pricing of avoided carbon emissions. . Changes and effects of business management through purchase and subsequent privatization are presented. The case raises strategic investment decisions in Rwanda and Angola, the source of the Okavango Delta and the second largest forested region in the world. Issues related to corporate decision-making for the conservation of natural capital and the management of protected areas in the region are discussed. It ends with the challenges derived from the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

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