As a responsible African safari company based in Cape Town, South Africa, we know the challenges that arise in being a responsible traveler in a foreign country. Often, we find it’s not the traveler’s unwillingness to contribute to responsible tourism practices while on safari, but rather that they don’t know the ins and outs of what it means to be a responsible traveler.
To help you be the best African traveler that you can be, we have compiled a concise guide to responsible tourism practices and how you can ensure that your safari has a positive impact on the people and places you visit.
It is important to note that responsible travel does not only happen during your trip to Africa, but also before and after your holiday. To make it easier to identify how you can be a responsible traveler, you can break up your trip into three phases – before, during and after.
The first step to becoming a responsible traveler is to select a responsible tour operator that can help you to explore Africa as ethically as possible. This means that every element of your trip will have been carefully considered to ensure your trip has a positive impact on the environment, wildlife and communities in Africa.
When booking multi-day tours it is important to consider whether the operator you are booking through practices responsible travel. For example, Ker & Downey® Africa does not support activities which exploit members of the community or wildlife interactions. By doing a quick background-check on what your tour will include, you can prevent supporting a corrupt cause and secure your A-grade responsible traveler status. A good example of an activity which has a negative impact on the wildlife of Africa is elephant back-rides, lion cub interactions and shark-cage diving.
Being a responsible traveler can be as simple as bringing your own reusable, eco-friendly water bottle with you on safari. This will decrease your plastic consumption during your visit to Africa, and in turn, support our fight against single-use plastic in Africa and reduce plastic pollution.
Team up with a local initiative in support of a community or wildlife conservation project. Ker & Downey® Africa is proudly partnered with a number of initiatives that support the community, wildlife and the planet.
Each trip booked with Ker & Downey® Africa includes a donation to one of our partners to ensure everyone who travels with us leaves a positive impact on Africa.
Learn more about our responsible travel partners HERE.
Purchase consciously, pack consciously. Ker & Downey® Africa supports the use of eco-friendly biodegradable self-care products while on safari in Africa. Because of the limited infrastructure in some parts of Africa, water resources are limited and thus some products can be harmful to the water supply.
Book your stay at eco-friendly lodges who have progressed to using environmentally friendly amenities in their rooms, have implemented energy and water saving systems on the property and recycle all their waste.
Consider your eating habits while traveling to Africa. By limiting your meat consumption during your trip you will actively be contributing to minimizing pollution through considering fossil fuel, animal methane and water consumption practices. Should you decide to eat meat, consider opting for free-range meat.
Spend locally by supporting local artisans, chefs and businesses whenever possible. By purchasing organic products which have been sourced and made locally, you will contribute to the sustainability of the economy of the destination you are visiting as well as uplifting the local communities.
Choose the most eco-friendly transport means available. By using public transport during your trip to Africa, (as opposed to using Uber or a rental vehicle), you can reduce your carbon footprint by saving fuel and energy. Although more expensive, direct flights to your destination are also a more sustainable option for the environment compared to layover flights.
Avoid attractions involving animals unless they are verified to be humane by a reputable source. Posing for a photo with a cheetah is not a responsible tourism activity and neither are elephant-back rides.
Volunteer at a credible organization that is well-recognized in the industry. Ensure that your volunteering efforts have a direct impact on others – whether it involves people, places or wildlife.
Pack a reusable, multi-purpose bag for your trip to Africa. You can be a responsible traveler by declining a plastic bag in the local grocery store or by picking up trash where you can.
Do not buy souvenirs, photos or tours from companies that you suspect might abuse animals, local people, the environment or the culture of the area you are visiting.
Consider giving back to the organizations that protect the beautiful environment or communities you visited during your trip to Africa. You can decide to contribute to a particular game reserve, a specific community initiative or a safari lodge that funds a local cause.
If you experienced something that you didn’t feel comfortable with on your holiday, report it to your tour operator. Reviewing your own experience can help others identify companies which are not living up to their responsible tourism policies.
Leaving a positive legacy in Africa is the foundation of everything that we do at Ker & Downey® Africa and we are here to help you be the best responsible traveler you can be. Get in touch with one of our expert LuxVenture® designers today to start planning a responsible safari to Africa today!