What is a Responsible Safari?October 31, 2019
It’s an important question and one we get asked often. Choosing a responsible safari means doing travelling with respect for the people and environment within your chosen destination of travel.
Tourism is a trillion dollar industry and accounts for roughly 10% of the global GDP, which leads to a major impact on people and the planet across the world. Depending on the way tourism initiatives are implemented and the way each tourist decides to travel, the effects of tourism can be negative or positive. These effects can be a global and regional level right down to the local level within the destination of travel.
As a traveler, understanding and choosing responsible tourism means travelling mindfully, as the goal of this tourism model is to minimize negative social, economic and environmental impacts as well as empower local people through the economic benefits of tourism. Not only is the traveler held accountable, all stakeholders involved in tourism are responsible for upholding environmental integrity, social justice and equitable distribution of the money generated.
Understanding the main principles of responsible tourism means being empowered with the knowledge and tools to allow you to travel through Africa with minimal negative impact:
Community respect and empowerment
Travelling responsibly means respecting and conserving local cultures and ways of life. Your holiday to a foreign destination, is also a visit to somebody else’s home. Treating them and their places with consideration is the ethical thing to do; it does not take any effort but creates opportunities for more authentic and engaged travel.
As part of their commitment to responsible tourism, Cottar’s 1920’s Safaris has collaborated with the local Maasai community and landowners of the Olderkesi Conservancy in Kenya to establish the Cottar Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Olderkesi Community Wildlife Conservancy pilot project. Dialogue is open and ongoing between Cottars and the Maasai in order to ensure a win-win situation for all.
Tongabezi is a leader in responsible tourism in Zambia. They put their money where their mouth is in the initiation and hands-on management of four different projects at the lodge and within the surrounding area. For instance, the Tongabezi Trust School has enabled funds generated through local tourism and donations to build the Tujatane School and houses for teachers in the Mukuni village.
Environmental sustainability and wildlife conservation
Minimising the environmental impact of tourism is a key aspect of a responsible safari. The tourism sector and travellers have to take care to protect and conserve the natural environment, resources and wildlife that call it home. Conservation of wildlife species is as much the responsibility of the tourism sector as governmental authorities and non-profit organisations.
An essential aspect of caring for the environment is through farming produce that is local, organic and seasonal. This means that the food served at an environmentally-friendly safari lodge or camp, such as at Cottar’s 1920’s Safaris, should have a minimal (if any) transport-related carbon footprint and does not poison the environment with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Tongabezi’s chalets on Sindabezi Island are powered by solar energy with paraffin lamp supplements. The entire island has no grid dependency as even cooking is done with gas and the waste-water system pump is also solar powered. All soap, shampoo and cleaning products for the rooms and kitchen are biodegradable.
Chat to us about creating a safari that fulfills the principles of responsible tourism and ticks all the boxes on your safari bucketlist.
Feature image courtesy of Valorie Darling Photography of Kin Travel at Cottar’s 1920’s Safaris.
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