With many different countries and regions of Africa daily on the news, and story after story of corruption, poverty, famine, and struggle, those seeking to travel ethically may be weary of a visit to Africa for fear of contributing to unethical practices. Thankfully though, there is good news for travellers dreaming of African safaris or holidays.
In the past few years several African countries such as Ghana, Namibia and South Africa have been working hard to improve ethical practices. They have increased research and eco-friendly initiatives and have developed opportunities for ethically-minded travellers to enjoy a great African holiday while having a positive impact.
Ethical practices in travel cover a range of issues and concerns, namely environmental and cultural impact. This can include limiting impact from co2 and the use of vehicles in parks and natural landscape, or giving financially to aid environmental protection services.
Ethical travel can also include either investment or volunteering to aid community projects.
Research touring companies before booking: some tours and organisations may enable corrupt organisations or ideas. It’s important to do your research in advance to be sure you’re aiding ethical organisations and not helping to feed into projects which can be hurtful to communities, people, or the environment.
Reduce your own Impact: Kenya has recently struggled with this as visitors coming to see endangered turtles are actually inadvertently hurting the turtles through tourism associated pollution, and erosion of the beaches due to high numbers of visitors. Efforts will need to be made to counteract the impact of tourism, while maintaining the industry which has created many jobs and helped spark economic growth for the country. Tourism is a big economic aid for many African countries, but working to create initiatives that reduce environmental impact is very important.
Choose destinations based on ethical practices (or see how you can aid your chosen destination in more ethical or eco initiatives): One of the best places in Africa for ethical travellers is South Africa. Despite the country’s darker histories related to apartheid and unethical practices, South Africa has made great strides in ethical and eco practices and in creating greater peace and equality. There may be some ways to go before the divide between rich and poor in South Africa is remedied, but that can be said for many of the world’s nations currently.
South Africa is also an incredibly diverse natural haven, which makes ethical practices all the more important. Thankfully the country’s leadership has realised the importance of eco-friendly practices. Recently several SA engineers discovered a way to turn agricultural waste into liquid fuel, electricity, paraffin and wax. This new fuel is helping small communities to be more self sufficient as far as energy thus reducing financial dependency.
If Africa holidays are on your radar but you’re concerned about negative impact, South Africa is a great choice for your holiday. Here are a few reasons to visit this vast and gorgeous country:
- Cultural & Historical Destinations
- Great food, wine, and eco-tourism
- Mountain Biking, Paragliding and more!
- A choice of responsible and eco friendly hotels, resorts and spas
Wherever your end up in Africa, be sure you’ve done your research and do what you can to reduce your environmental and community impact. Give back to this great continent and her people, treat her with respect, and she will give you more than you can imagine.