There are a lot of exciting things to anticipate when planning your African safari tour; you’ll off-road into awe-inspiring landscapes and see wildlife like nowhere else in the world. When dealing with lands with endangered animals and vegetation, however, it’s important to remember to preserve the land you’re visiting.
At Roho Ya Chui, we’re dedicated to providing visitors with the African travel experience of a lifetime, and that includes preserving the land for future visitors for years and years to come. Eco-friendly travel in Africa is more than possible, as many African communities are filled with people practicing self-sustaining lifestyles. Here are some recommendations for keeping your African tour as eco-friendly as possible.
Choose a Direct Flight
You’re likely coming to Africa from a far off destination—and that’s great! Modern technology makes it possible for us to see the world, and everyone can benefit from visiting different cultures—but do remember that flying burns fossil fuels, and planes use the most during takeoff and landing. While it’s sometimes more expensive to fly directly, you can greatly reduce your carbon footprint by opting for a direct flight instead of one with multiple layovers.
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to pack lightly. The less cargo a plane has to carry, the less fuel it takes to fly!
Conserve Energy During Your Hotel Stay
There are many eco-friendly hotels in countries throughout Africa, but you can reduce your carbon footprint even while staying at a hotel that’s not explicitly environmentally sustainable. Take advantage of the “Do Not Disturb” sign a few days of your trip. This way, the staff won’t spend energy cleaning a room that you probably didn’t mess up too much in the first place. Also, some hotels let you decide whether or not you want to reuse your towels by, for example, noting via a sign in the bathroom saying that towel hanging instead of on the ground is meant to be re-used.
You can also make a difference the way you normally would cut back and save on energy costs at home: take shorter showers, turn the TV off and turn off the air conditioner when you leave. You may not be paying for the electricity or water directly, but the environment will still appreciate it.
Be a Smart Shopper
You’ll likely want to come back home with a meaningful souvenir commemorating your trip in addition to all of the wonderful wildlife photographs you’re bound to take. Purchasing goods is a great way to support local African economies, but be wary of where your trinkets are coming from. Think twice before buying anything made from endangered animal parts, such as ivory. Not only is that bad for the ecosystem that you’ve been getting to know—and harmful for the endangered species—but it’s likely illegal.
Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa