Is Sustainable Travel Possible?
Written By Megan Lewis On May 10, 2021
You can actively support wildlife conservation, environmental protection, and community development projects, AND minimise your carbon footprint … and all by simply taking a sustainable travel approach to how you experience luxury African wildernesses.
In the same way that the travel hiatus has disrupted the socio-economic stability of most African countries, the travel reboot could be one of the fastest ways to cushion and reverse these impacts. Sustainable travel means that you can be part of the tourism sector revival, making a meaningful difference to the lives of local people and animals, without hurting the environment while doing so.
Sustainable travel supports community development & sustainable livelihoods
The Covid-19 pandemic has left its mark on Africa’s tourism sector, which accounts for about 7% of the continent’s average GDP and 6.8% of its total employment. That’s 24.6 million people who were affected almost immediately by the worldwide closure of domestic and international travel in early 2020. The ripple effect has been considerable, with families no longer able to afford household staples and the health of local economies suffering as a result.
We work with organisations like Project Luangwa to get resources to those who need them most © Green Safaris
Each Green Safaris property supports at least one community development project, projects which survive and thrive just by having people stay at one of our lodges or camps in Zambia and Malawi. Along with these existing projects, we have ramped up support within the broader Green Safaris’ family to ensure those within our neighbouring communities can put food on their tables during these uncertain times.
The Tongabezi Team and people from the nearby village prepare the ground for more crops © Green Safaris
One such example is a community organic farm found just outside the town of Livingstone. The teams from Tongabezi Lodge and Sindabezi Island Camp worked with members of the village to turn 12,74 hectares of barren land into a flourishing farm. While we continue to collaborate with the community, the goal is for it to become an independent and sustainable livelihood source for several households.
Sustainable travel protects wildlife & their natural habitats
As much as 80% of visits to African countries are made specifically by those wanting to witness its spectacular wildlife. And, because many protected areas are underfunded in Africa, their survival is largely (sometimes completely) reliant on the revenue generated by people visiting these destinations. Conservation can’t happen to the necessary extent without people like you coming to experience these special spaces.
Kafue National Park is a wildlife sanctuary and is home to large herds of elephant © Green Safaris
Now, without funds being channelled from guest visits to these destinations, many isolated spaces have been left vulnerable to exploitation, particularly as neighbouring communities are also left without their usual income sources. Poaching, deforestation and consumption of bushmeat wildlife has increased, which – if left unchecked – could potentially lead to more species becoming endangered (or even extinct).
The youth of Likoma Island are actively involved in resource management and conservation © Green Safaris
All of our conservation projects work to improve our community’s understanding and commitment to environmental protection, wildlife survival, and resource management. On Likoma Island, the team at Kaya Mawa are working with community members to mitigate the impacts of deforestation and have already established six community-managed tree nurseries. Each nursery will grow around 2000 indigenous hardwood and fruit trees that, once mature, will be felled for firewood and harvested for fruits.
Sustainable travel is made possible through carbon offset projects
While we love the saying ‘Take only photographs; leave only footprints’, we know that by travelling to one of Africa’s precious wilderness areas, you have the opportunity to contribute in a significant way. We develop carbon offset projects within the areas where our properties are, which help to make real sustainable travel possible. It means that when you visit us, you can do so guilt-free.
Clay stoves reduce the number of trees felled for household firewood in Simonga and Sinde Villages © Green Safaris
The Tongabezi Team, together with the people of Simonga and Sinde Villages, have established a reforestation plantation that, like the one on Likoma Island, is a carbon offset project. It aims to naturally improve the air quality of the area through tree planting as well as by rolling out environmentally-friendly grass-burning stoves built from clay. By replacing wood-burning stoves used in households, the number of trees chopped down will be reduced significantly.
Sustainable travel is not only possible, but also one of the best ways you can give back to local community and conservation projects in Africa, while experiencing the magic of a safari. We hope you visit us in the Zambian and Malawian wilderness soon. When you do, you can be confident in the knowledge that we will explore gently together.