© Sunrise in Makgadikgadi.
When planning a holiday to Botswana one needs to be aware of the carbon footprint one is leaving behind while relaxing and enjoying the magnificent safari destination. Here are some tips on how to travel to Botswana responsibly.
Caring Travel - Responsible Travel in Botswana
When planning a holiday to an exciting and foreign destination such as Botswana it is easy to get excited about all the amazing adventures and incredible sights you are about to enjoy. However; in a world where pollution is extensive and carbon emissions are sky rocketing, we should all feeling the need to cut down on our carbon footprints and find ways to travel more responsibly.
Caring for the environment is very important and a key concept to keep in mind when planning a holiday, especially one which may involve a long flight before you reach your destination. Here are a few ideas to help you plan a caring and environmentally aware holiday.
Never throw any papers or packets out of your safari game drive vehicle or on the ground around your camp, an animal may try to eat it as food and choke on it. Always dispose of your cigarette butts carefully and responsibly, remember the bush around you can be very dry and just a small spark could cause a fire.
When packing your bags for your journey, try to leave all extra boxes and packaging behind so as to avoid more waste when you arrive at your destination.
If you are doing a self-drive safari, always remain on the trails provided and do not venture off the tracks. Going off the trails will damage plants and you may even ride over small animals. Always drive as carefully as possible and plan your routes to ensure you take the shortest route.
Where possible try to travel in a vehicle with more than 2 other people - you can save costs on vehicle hire and the fuel and gas emissions will be less per person.
Leave No Trace Behind You
The number one goal when travelling to a new and exciting destination should always be to leave the location exactly as you found it or in a better state than you found it.
While on safari in Botswana this can be achieved by always keeping your surroundings in mind. When out on a safari game drive always observe the wild animals silently; be aware that they are not tame and that loud talking, clapping to get their attention, or breaking the line of the vehicle by hanging out of the window to take a photograph will not only disturb the people around you but will also affect the animals natural behaviour. Think "charging elephant", or "enraged baboon"...
Save Water. Save Electricity
f you were at home you would inevitably be turning the lights off when you left a room and you would probably not be running huge baths every day, or leaving taps dripping or taking a clean towel every time you bathed or showered. Remember that Botswana is a water scarce country.
Where ever possible try to reduce the amount of water and electricity you are using by turning off the lights in your room or tent when you leave and by not requesting a new towel every day.
Respect the Locals and Their Cultures and Traditions
Respect your surroundings and the people that live in it. Many of the safari lodges and tented camps in Botswana try their best to reduce their carbon footprint by hiring and empowering the local people around them.
Many of your guides and the staff members within the lodges will be from nearby towns or from local tribes.
Remember to always respect their culture and backgrounds. If the opportunity presents itself, take the time to chat to them about their culture and way of life; it will provide you with a new and interesting insight into your surroundings, they will be pleased to tell you about their beautiful country, and you may end up with a new friend or acquaintance.
Heed Instructions or Requests from Your Guides
The safari guides are enthusiastic about their jobs and will be as excited about a sighting as you are. However; it is also their job to look after your safety, the safety of those around you. and the safety of the animals.
If your guide stops a little further away from an animal than you would like, or moves out of the way to give another vehicle a chance to see the game animal, do not argue with your guides or hassle them.
They are well trained, and will always do their best to ensure you have the most optimal experience possible.