Responsible Safari: how to travel ethically – Part 1


Cover your carbon footprint

One of the worst contributors to global carbon emissions is the travel sector, contributing an estimated 8% each year. There’s no way of getting to Africa – unless you’ve got weeks on hand for travel – but to fly, so how do you counter your carbon footprint?


If you want to be precise, you can calculate your carbon emissions using one of the free online calculators, like Carbon Footprint. Once you know your footprint (or, if you’re not bothered with calculations), there are a number of ways to counteract your travelling emissions.

Plant a Tree

You can join a number of tree-planting projects around the world, like Carbon Footprint’s Kenyan project who have planted over 150 000 trees in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Donate or join one of their tree-planting events!


Greenpop, established in 2010, work in South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania, and offer tree-planting trips and events, give environmental education in the community and green urban spaces, amongst other environmentally friendly activities. You can join or donate.

In fact, if you’re not keen to get your hands dirty, there are a plethora of organisations that welcome donations. Food and Trees for Africa, based in South Africa, have planted over 4.2 million trees and thousands of food gardens over the past 27 years, ensuring not only that the planet is replenished, but bringing food security to communities.

Water sensitivity

Water is scarce in the large proportion of Africa, so do your bit to save water while on safari. You can do this in several ways:

  • Do your homework: choose destinations and accommodation that are/is eco-friendly
  • Don’t complain if there’s no pool to swim in/electricity only for a couple of hours a day, if at all etc. It’s Africa, embrace it
  • Take short showers, preferably into a bucket that gets recycled

What not to do on safari

There are hundreds of articles on what to do on safari, but not many on what not to do, to respect and preserve the environment. Often, travelers engage in activities that are harmful to animals and the environment without even realizing it.

Green Seat/Tax

Many tour operators offer a ‘green tax’ that can be added on to the total price of your tour. This money is then fed into projects in the region that promote sustainability. If you don’t have time or energy to research where you’d like your money to go, pay this.

Wildlife organizations

There are many organisations whose sole aim is to protect Africa’s wildlife, many of whom are in danger of extinction. These organisations welcome donations and, if you’re on a tight budget, exposure is good too – share on social media and talk to your friends.


Some of the of these wildlife conservation organizations include:

  • Save the Rhino
  • African Wildlife Fund, who have a Mountain Gorilla Programme
  • Bird life International’s Vulture Programme