Being a responsible tourist means more than throwing away your trash. As tourism has boomed in Africa over the last decades, the delicate eco-systems and cultural diversity of this incredible continent has come under threat. Even though tourism has many benefits for a developing nation, it can also destroy more than it protects. While many governments do their bit to save the environment it is also the tourists’ responsibility to measure their own eco-foot print.
Here are our top tips to help out the eco-friendly traveller on their African adventure.
1.Be Picky about Where you Stay
Take caution when booking your accommodation. While a hotel or lodge’s amenities are vital to enjoying your stay – with large hotels usually offering the best array of home comforts – don’t hesitate to look into smaller or local accommodation options. Hotel chains usually rely on large scale suppliers and in-source staff from major cities that prevents local economies from developing.
Take the time to do your research. Most hotels and lodges will have a website explaining what they do for local communities, how they avoid negatively impacting the environment and will have tips to help you be a better eco-friendly traveller when visiting their area.
2. Leave Only Footprints Behind
Who doesn’t love a great souvenir to take home as a reminder of a magical holiday. But, be mindful of what you choose to take back to show off to your friends and family. The Jenman philosophy is to take photos home and leave footprints behind. If you do want to buy something tangible do not be afraid to ask: how something has been manufactured, where it has been sourced, and what materials it is made from.
3.Sometimes Small is Better!
The bigger your travel group, the greater the negative impact will be on the environment!
Small groups with a guide who knows all the Do’s and Don’ts of the area you plan on visiting, will give you a far more personalized experience. Chances are, travelling in a small group, you will learn far more about the country you are in and see things that you probably would not have traveling alone or in a big group.
4. Another country, another culture
Be aware of the different cultures of the countries that you visit. Behaviours that are normal in your home country can be offensive in your host country. Be open for different customs and assimilate: buy local produce, talk to the locals, be curious about their lifestyle, and learn their language and way of life. Make them enjoy and look forward to welcoming other tourists!