Sustainable Travel and Development
If you are flying to Africa for a Safari, it will not have escaped your notice that you are producing a lot of carbon. I suspect that if you are reading this, it might be something you feel guilty about, and it is also possible that you harbour doubts about ticking the 'offset' box and forgetting about it as an adequate response to the climate emergency (but do still tick that box!). Travel for leisure, especially air travel, is undeniably a luxury in current circumstances, so you might as well make it as utilitarian as possible, while also mitigating your impact as much as possible in your daily life.
Whatever you believe regarding the extent to which the money you spend 'trickles down' through local economies, I have decided not to take any chances on these pages, and only support businesses where there are clear channels down which this money can flow, in terms of employment, training, education - in short, whole-community uplift. And it is not always about the amount you spend: of the $90 you spend for your tented suite at the wonderful, warm, buzzing Flatdogs Camp in South Luangwa, Zambia, more will go to the local Mfuwe community in salaries and supplies than will be taken by the community from the $800 a night extraction-operation-posing-as-a-camp in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya. And I mean overall, not proportionally (I won't name it but there are other great options in Samburu, don't worry). To be promoted here, whatever the conservation effort, a place will need to have demonstrated a commitment to:
· local employment and training,
· local education,
· local supply chains, and, ideally,
· local healthcare.
If you don't care too much about this, and just want good service, you will not have read this far, but the money you spend is transformative in rural Africa, and the good news is that most businesses do care, with goodwill and cooperation a massive part of running a business in these marginal areas.
Background image: Tribal Textiles in Mfuwe, Eastern Zambia, employs over 100 people, producing textile orders for home decoration for clients around the world - high-quality, artisanal and largely chemical-free (flour plays a part!). If you are in the area, it also runs workshops for children and adults alike. It is only a few miles from the nearest elephant, lion or hippo, with no fences in between. A really wonderful experience, away from the animals but among the people who live alongside them.