Sustainable travel tips

posted 14th November 2023 by Danica Wilson in Conservation and Charity

Sustainable Travel Tips

Sustainability is used a lot in the tourism industry, so we want to share some really simple and easy travel tips. These will contribute to reducing the impact on Africa’s wilderness, wildlife and communities and making a difference, one safari at a time.

Encompass Africa prides itself on supporting philanthropic and sustainability and conversation efforts in Africa.

Sustainable travel tips:

Can you fly with no carbon footprint?

The answer is a resounding yes you can. Simply opt to support a project or plant a few trees to neutralise the carbon emissions generated from your flight to Africa and within the continent whilst on your African safari. There are a number of websites that allow you to calculate your emissions and offer projects you can opt in and support. Don’t forget to pack light too, it will then lessen your carbon emissions and help sustain our environment longer. A little effort from all of us can go a long way.

Do you want to experience a fantastic holiday and travel by road to really immerse yourself in local life? It’s a brilliant way to travel because it doesn’t generate the carbon emissions of flying. So consider self driving holidays in Africa and we can put it together for you so it’s effortless. Or why not choose one of our private guided safaris where you have a professional with you and travel around by road. Our top destinations for road travel are Namibia and South Africa (guided or self drive), Kenya and Tanzania (guided) and of course Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Sustainable travel tips:

Do you drink coffee?

Coffee has become a hugely popular hot drink for many of us. Coffee pods are made from aluminium and plastic which end up in our landfill each year. Aussies spent some $215 million on coffee pods last year. Whilst the former Nespresso CEO is creating sustainable coffee pods, it cannot undo the damage already caused. Did you know coffee pods (the non-sustainable types) are reported to take 150 – 500 years to breakdown in landfill. Many city hotels have coffee pod machines so please think before you make yourself a coffee. Rather walk down to the local coffee shop and support a local business plus drink a coffee made from fresh ground coffee. If you’re going on a Kenya safari with us, be sure to try their local coffee. If you are off on a Rwanda gorilla trek don’t miss their coffee too – it has a kick to it, just what you will need for that early morning start to hike up to the gorillas in the mountains. Finally, our Ethiopian holidays are a hit with guests when we include a coffee ceremony (with cake of course) because the coffee there is sensational. One of the finest is called Yirgacheffe for is delicate quality and somewhere floral aroma.

Sustainable travel tips:

Water wise is really important and there are multiple components here.

Our first water wise tip whilst on an African safari holiday is of course drinking water. Staying hydrated in Africa is really important for your health and in many countries it is not recommended to drink tap water (having said that, you can safely drink water when on a South Africa safari or Namibia safari. The other countries may have safe drinking water in cities and towns, but rural areas don’t have the chlorinating plants so it is better to drink bottled or filtered water. More and more safari industry partners are cottoning onto the importance of water conservation and moving to filtration systems and providing guests with bottles they can then keep.   So wherever possible, please keep plastic free when drinking water. It is not always possible, just do your best to make a difference.

Secondly, let’s talk about bathing. Being on safari you are lured by beautiful bathtubs with special views and romantic settings. Go on, indulge with one whilst you’re here. Just don’t over do it and bath every day in every camp. Reason being is water is a finite resource worldwide and in Africa, it is often trucked in to supply the properties. So firstly you have the distance travelled by the trucks to fetch and deliver the water, then the actual consumption of water itself. Imagine if every guest every day in every safari camp had a bath? Just how much water would be used, we dread to think. So we always shower and taking a shorter shower than usual won’t kill you either. It certainly does wonders for conserving this finite resource. Now here are some stats, did you know the average bath takes up (figure from social media post) whereas a shower consumes (figure).

Sustainable travel tips:

On the topic of the bathroom, have you seen signs that say something like this:

‘Dear guests, please help us to Save our Planet. Every day millions of litres of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once, if at all. You can make a difference. Hang up your towel which means ‘I will use it again’. A towel on the floor means ‘please exchange for a clean one’.

So whether you are in Cape Town holidaying at a luxury hotel or in the remote stretches of Tanzania’s Serengeti on Safari, you can help us conserve the earth’s vital resources by simply hanging up your towel each day. Just compare it to the number of days you use a towel back home.

Do you slip slop slap when going in the sun? It’s essential to stay safe from sun damage. Having said that, did you know an estimated 6,000 metric tonnes of sunscreen washes off into the oceans every year? This has had a major contribution to coral bleaching which is evident around Australia’s coastline and certainly part of Africa too. So before you buy your favourite sunscreen for that upcoming safari holiday, please check the label and ensure it is water resistant and free of those nasty chemicals.

Sustainable travel tips:

Made in Africa. Buy local in Africa and benefit.

We always recommend our guests support local businesses, sample local produce and this alone helps the local economy by generating profits and reducing the necessity for imports. With Cape Town the epicentre of cuisine in Africa and Franschhoek the culinary capital of South Africa, you cannot go past the lure of outstanding wines and beautiful foods prepared with local produce.

The same principle applies to arts, crafts and souvenirs. Shopping in Africa is exciting because it can be done on street corners, in rural villages and along the roadside plus the usual shopping centres and markets. Please always ensure that you are purchasing items made in Africa. The ladies at Encompass Africa do have a soft spot for shopping and pride themselves on opting for locally made items that directly benefit a local and his or her family and broader community.

Sustainable travel tips:

Peddle power makes a difference.

Can you ride a bike or do you like to walk? We highly recommend exploring Cape Town on holidays in South Africa on foot or on a bike – it’s more environmentally friendly after all. We have guides who can take you bike riding around Cape Town and multiple walking tours of Cape Town. You will see so much more and we can give you insider tips on the hidden gems whether it’s an underground gin bar, exceptional chocolate shop or our favourite hole in the wall bakery in Bo Kaap.

We hope these sustainable travel tips come in handy when you next visit Africa or anywhere in the world for that matter.  If everybody did their part the world would be a much better place.