Wilderness Safaris: Impact Investing and Ecotourism Conservation in Africa
In 2018 the majority ownership of publicly owned Wilderness Safaris, the leading high-end ecotourism company in Africa with safari operations in eight countries, was acquired by The Rise Fund, one of the world's largest private social impact investing funds, and by FS Investors, a private equity investment firm. This is a follow-on case to "Wilderness Safaris: Ecotourism Entrepreneurship," (HBS No. 9-318-040) which focuses on the company's origins, growth, and distinctive 4C business model based on Commerce, Conservation, Community, and Culture. The two cases can be used sequentially or independently. The current case provides an opportunity to examine the investment rationale of the impact funds and their methodology for measuring and assessing nonfinancial impact variables, such as avoided deforestation and the social cost and pricing of averted carbon emissions. Changes and effects in governance resulting from the buy-out and the subsequent taking the firm private are presented. The case poses strategic investment decisions in Rwanda and Angola, which is the source of the Okavango Delta and the second largest forested region of the world. Questions of business decision making based on the preservation of natural capital and the management of the region's protected areas are reviewed. It ends with the challenges from the emergence of the COVID 19 pandemic in March 2020.