15 Tips For An Eco-Friendly Safari

Eco-friendly safaris are becoming increasingly popular — and in-demand — among discerning travelers coming to Africa. These trips allow guests to enjoy all the standard standard safari and lodge amenities, with the added benefit of knowing that natural resources are being conserved, wildlife is being protected, and local communities are benefitting. If a resource-neutral, socially conscious holiday is high on your agenda, use these 15 tips to have a great eco-friendly safari adventure.

15 Locations That Make Up The Ultimate Botswana Safari

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1. Look For Operators That Are Truly Eco-Friendly

Some lodges and tour companies may claim to be eco-friendly, but actually have very limited or ineffective eco-credentials. Do your homework and look at the practices and principles of each tour operator and lodge. Do they simply offer every-other-day towel washing and recycled serviettes, or do they have a full solar power system, wastewater recycling, and offer charitable contributions? Look not only on the lodge’s own website, but also take the time to speak with other travelers and read online reviews about specific lodges or tours.

ngala-safari-lodge

Ngala Safari Lodge at night (Courtesy of Ngala Safari Lodge)

2. Choose Camps Or Lodges That Give Back To The Community

Eco-friendly companies often contribute to the well-being of the communities they exist in. Some offer charitable donations as well as programs that promote agricultural, conservation, and educational initiatives.

Canoeing The Congo River

Photo courtesy of The Ted Simon Foundation / YouTube

3. Consider Alternate Transportation

Electric vehicles are a great choice if the option is offered. Think about walking or hiking instead of driving if the distance between attractions can be comfortably reached. Canoes or similar items can also be used on waterways found along any journey.

elephants

Courtesy of Guido da rozze/Flickr

4. Be Respectful Of Wildlife

Many eco-friendly tours operate outside a reserve to visit wildlife in their native habitats. Be aware of your proximity to any animals and avoid loud noises that could startle them.

walking safari luangwa

Walking safari, Luangwa National Park (Shutterstock)

5. Choose Smaller Groups

Smaller groups mean less consumption of resources such as fuel. Guides avoid repeated trips thanks to the managed group size. This consideration also presents better opportunities to view natural attractions without the hassle of crowds.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

6. Use Solar Powered Items

Solar powered items are a great choice on eco-friendly safaris. Many lodges feature solar panels, but you can bring along your own option like solar powered flashlights, lanterns and radios.

Packed suitcase (Hans/pixabay)

Packed suitcase (Hans/pixabay)

7. Pack Light

Carry only the essentials needed for the safari. If possible, try to use only one suitcase and smaller backpack. Choose your clothing wisely to reflect expected temperatures for your route.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

8. Ask About Connections To Local Charities

Learn what charities are supported by each tour. Some will focus on wildlife protection while others look towards community issues. You may also want to make your own donation based on your experiences after the tour has concluded.

Water bottle (Rubbermaid/Flickr)

Water bottle (Rubbermaid/Flickr)

9. Avoid Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles are a major problem and can lead to excess waste on any safari. Bring a reusable bottle that can be quickly filled. Most water will be filtered by a lodge or camp, but carry purification tablets for any untreated water (just in case). 

feathers-collected-in-another-bowl-of-clean-water

10. Use Only Biodegradable Cleaning Products

Lodges are using more biodegradable products and you can also take advantage of these eco-friendly solutions. Request these solutions for your own safari group or make arrangement for these materials to be brought onsite.

water bottle

11. Recycle

Waste can become an issue during any safari. Look for recycling options throughout your trip. Guides can help you find recycling locations or waste can be stored until proper facilities are available.

Traditional dancing of the Baka Tribe

Traditional dancing of the Baka Tribe (Wikimedia Commons)

12. Respect Local Customs

Understand the culture and traditions of local residents as you travel through their country. Try to research this information before the safari. You can also talk to your guide for more information.

en.wikipedia.org

en.wikipedia.org

13. Obey Laws At All Times

Laws may vary in each country, so be aware of how they may affect your travel to the area. Each tour should be aware of current laws and will keep you informed if anything should arise during the trip.

15 Things Post-Millennials Will Never Experience

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14. Plan Ahead

A plan can save time on daily travel. It’s also a great way to prevent excess fuel consumption by repeated trips that avoid the most direct route to camp.

The latest gadgets will cost you in Japan - rather go for second-hand (Photo: cyclops / Flickr).

The latest gadgets will cost you in Japan – rather go for second-hand (Photo: cyclops / Flickr).

15. Only Use Your Camera In Approved Areas

Any noise from cameras can become a distraction, so ask your guide before taking pictures. Some portions of the safari may be restricted to no photography, so keep up on any changing restrictions.

More from AFKTravel:

15 Places To Go On Safari In Botswana

5 Reasons Your Next Safari Should Be At Etosha National Park

Biking In Botswana: An Alternative Safari


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