How to travel greener on an African safari
If you’re planning on going on an African safari, it’s probably because you love nature and wildlife. As Africa’s tourism market grows, more wildlife parks are supported by tourist dollars, which is good for conservation, but the impact on the environment grows with that too. The best kind of safari goer you can be is an environmentally friendly one. Here are some tips on how to travel greener on your next African safari.
Do research on where you stay
Many lodges these days employ a huge amount of “green wash”, where they claim to be “eco-friendly” but are nothing of the sort. Do your research thoroughly before you decide where to stay – try to find out if the lodge uses solar power, recycles grey water, and builds out of sustainable materials. Another thing to find out is whether the lodge works with the local community – there are many great examples of lodges and communities working together to share safari profits and funnel the money back into conservation efforts. Generally, try to stay at small hotels or lodges, or places that are locally owned.
Minimize plastic waste
Bring your own water bottle on the trip and refill it with filtered water where you can, rather than buying plastic water bottles. In some countries, such as South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, you can drink the tap water in many places.
Drive rather than fly
When travelling around Africa, take the road rather than to the air to get around if you can. You save on carbon emissions, and you’ll get to see more of the continent if you drive (one of the many reasons why we love African overlanding safaris!).
Choose your souvenirs carefully
Some curios, such as carvings, could be made out of endangered trees – be sure to check the materials that the statues and artworks you buy are made out of. Curios made out of animals (such as tortoise shells) or coral are a no no.
Eat local food
Try and eat food that has been sourced as locally as possible, like seasonal tropical fruit and veggies, rather than ordering things on the menu that have to be imported.
Donate to conservation efforts
While your park entrance fees go towards conserving the park and its animals, there are many other wildlife conservation groups doing important work in and around parks. Do some research on conservation organisations in the area you’re going to be visiting, and perhaps go and visit them in person when you’re there to see the work they are doing before you donate money to help their work.
Get involved with a green charity
If you have some time on your trip, why don’t you volunteer your time with a green charity in the area you’re staying in? One example of a great green charity to volunteer with is Greenpop, which is based in Cape Town and focuses on planting trees in undertreed areas in South Africa and Zambia.
Contribute to carbon offsetting projects
Calculate how much carbon your trip has produced (air miles, road miles etc) by using a carbon footprint calculator and then find a carbon offsetting project located in Africa (there are many reforestation projects, for example) to donate to.