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Eco-travel in South or East Africa? Can I trust what the tour companies and lodges say?


Apr 6th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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Eco-travel in South or East Africa? Can I trust what the tour companies and lodges say?

I am in the very early stages of planning our trip for March '08, (haven't decided where in East or South Africa yet) and I would very much prefer to go with a tour company that is Africa based, and tries to give back to the communities visited, as well as stay in lodges that are sustainably run (as much as possible, I realize it's not easy). Some of the lodges tout their eco capabilities and sensitivity. Can I trust what they say, and does anyone have any "green" recommendations? I know that the wonderful Fodorite community will have some ideas.
Momliz is offline  
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Apr 6th, 2007, 08:25 PM
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Conservation Corporation Africa (often referred to as CC Africa or CCA) is known for its conservation efforts. BEST did a case study on them a few years back:


Here's CCA's website: http://www.ccafrica.com. And the foundation's: http://www.africafoundation.org/

Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa has a list of operators that it has certified including Sabi Sabi, Singita, and Djuma, among others: http://www.fairtourismsa.org.za/

I'm sure there are many more that other posters can recommend.
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Apr 6th, 2007, 09:21 PM
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In looking at websites, actually many have quite an environmental philosophy. And, I was impressed by one group, I think it was Wilderness Safaris, who commented that they are very environmentally conscious simply because they have to be - they aren't going to run the generator all day so have to use solar power, and conserve. Makes sense to me. Practicality wins out. And, of course they make sure that their livelihood - the wildlife - is preserved and protected. In my researches, I think it may have been one of Rocco's postings, he mentioned that some game preserves are trying to implement and maintain highways, so to speak, for migrations, between the preserves. This will only improve genetic diversity and the health of the various populations.
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Apr 7th, 2007, 12:22 AM
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hills27 has the right response and the right list.

Beware eco-friendly sounding places that are just 'greenwashing' their brands. That's not to say that there aren't a lot of well-intentioned places who are doing the right thing, but BE SKEPTICAL unless you hear it from a third party you can trust who knows what best practice actually is. It's too easy to talk green and do nothing.

The issue here is verified, vetted, or audited ecological best practice, and in South Africa, the only way that is done at present is through Fair Trade in Tourism. CC Africa and Wilderness have been acknowledged by highly credible environmental groups for their practices, and by reputation are good environmental stewards -- and good local community members, it should be added.

Beyond eco- practices, I would encourage all Fodorites to see this in a slightly broader context of what's called RESPONSIBLE TOURISM or Responsible Travel. In essence, it is taking the principles of sustainability and applying it to tourism. Responsible Tourism considers environmental, social and economic impacts and only acts in ways that are sustainable across all three measures.

For anyone seeking further insights into how to be a Responsible Traveller, I can recommend these resources:

www.planeta.com - global journal of practical ecotourism

The Responsible Travel Handbook is online at http://www.transitionsabroad.com/lis...l_handbook.pdf

Other resources and listings at http://www.transitionsabroad.com/lis...esources.shtml

And for those wanting to look deeper, there's the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism at http://www.icrtourism.org/capetown.html

The International Centre for Responsible Tourism is at www.icrtourism.org

And, finally, the UN WTO's Global Code of Ethics in Tourism is online at http://www.unwto.org/code_ethics/pdf...tico%20Ing.pdf



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Apr 7th, 2007, 02:25 AM
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Hello Momliz,

As Kurt says, you definitely cannot trust what the tour companies and lodges say. Almost all look eco-friendly on their websites. It’s also difficult to know which “environmental groups” are credible.

In Kenya you have Ecotourism Kenya that has an eco-rating with gold, silver and bronze ratings. http://www.ecotourismkenya.org/index.php It’s probably the best information you can get, but to me it doesn’t look that independent from the industry.

After you’ve found a camp that’s environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, you have the slight problem that long-distance high-speed travel isn’t sustainable at all.
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Apr 7th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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Thank you, all. This is just what I need to help make my decisions. In the long run, responsible tourism will only benefit the areas involved.
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Jul 11th, 2012, 03:03 AM
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yes! i guarantee you. i have been to several parts of Africa travelling and if you search online, most of the stuff is helpful. i have been to south africa. i visited the http://www.krugerpark.com/ and it has a wide range of luxurious lodges and rest camps. for more info follow this link
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