How Green is Your Safari?
You go on vacation to get away from it all – to stop thinking and relax. It can be daunting for every decision to have so much meaning, but it’s worth considering your holiday choices. Are you making ‘green’ choices? Does your vacation dollar make a positive impact in the world?
We at Africa Travel Centre partner with properties in Africa that walk the talk. We work with our travelers to connect them with organizations making a difference to the wildlife and human populations throughout the continent. We believe in travel as a force for good, a vehicle for conservation and an activity with the power to uplift. We want what we do every day to have every possible positive impact.
When choosing a safari or any vacation, do your homework. Get to know your travel professional and what is important to them, understand how they choose lodgings and experiences, and ask them what causes and organizations they support. Some measurements to consider when learning more about a lodge or camp include:
- Do local people benefit from the lodge/camp?
- Is the camp designed to minimize its ecological footprint?
- Is the lodge/camp a part of meaningful and successful conservation work?
- How effective are their community outreach programs?
- Is the lodge/camp using renewable energy?
- How does the lodge/camp handle waste treatment and disposal?
These are just some of the criteria that separate good lodges from great lodges. If you ask during your visit, most lodges are happy to share information about their efforts, and many have programs that allow guests to get behind-the-scenes to see the work in action, whether it be community programs, the local organic garden where your dinner is harvested, or the solar structure behind your lighting, hot shower and charging points.
A few of our partner properties and why…
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa. Grootbos is just a few hours’ drive from Cape Town, but it’s a world away. They are preserving and protecting 2,500 of pristine wilderness that is home to three milkwood forests that date back more than 1,000 years, 791 plant species (including 100 that are endangered) and myriad wildlife (including 6 threatened mammal species), all while giving lucky guests a chance to immerse themselves in this wilderness.
Gorges Lodge, Zimbabwe. The owners of Gorges and its sister properties have a number of impactful community and wildlife programs. We are always impressed with their annual Mobile Dentists’ Safari where they set up a free dental clinic for every person in each community in range of their lodges. The volunteer dentists have completed more than 25,000 treatments in the six years it has been operating.