In our more conscious than ever world, don’t let your travels let you down. There are ways that you can travel more mindfully. In other words, low-impact, ethical vacations.
Several studies have revealed that attitudes toward sustainability are changing dramatically, worldwide. More people are conscious of their purchases and often look for environmentally-friendly alternatives. However, why should that be limited to your shopping basket?
Eco-friendly travel is possible. Some travel management companies, like Unfound Africa, address the environmental and ethical concerns of consumers. Through these companies, you can be assured that the destinations, properties, and tours booked through them have a light footprint.
At Unfound Africa, we take it a step further. We are partnered with Fire Island Conservation, a non-profit initiative that manages a number of projects that benefit not only the environment, but also impoverished communities.
Fire Island Conservation spearheads several projects and through each of these, there is a goal of empowering local communities, while protecting the environment. We focus on the community’s needs for sustenance, without compromising the environment or adding to the current issues faced by our aquatic life. Our initiatives offer alternative income and protein sources to poached marine animals, since the removal of vulnerable wildlife is a widespread problem along the coastlines. Through our endeavors, we also educate those involved on the essential balance of life and the concept of sustainability.
Planning responsible travel through Unfound Africa couldn’t be simpler through our dedicated travel management team. Our travel and concierge teams will plan every step of your journey and moment of your vacation, just the way you want it. And with the many projects we operate through Fire Island Conservation, you’ll offset your carbon footprint produced during the journey.
We know we’re accountable for our own actions and don’t expect to leave it up to travelers to do the work. However, there are some small steps our guests can take to help reduce their carbon footprint while traveling.
The environment will thank you and so will your memories. Taking the time to spend your days in one destination will enrich your experience of the place and the people. You’ll really appreciate learning about not only the typical attractions but also the hidden gems that many don’t get to see. Your conscience will also remain guilt-free since you’ll lower the carbon emissions that would normally be released while traveling between destinations.
There are few people who like lots of connections while flying. Well, now you have an extra incentive to book the route with the least legs. Up to 70% of aircraft’s total emissions are from landings and takeoffs, therefore, long-haul and direct flights are more fuel-efficient and better for the environment. You can even save your pocket by traveling coach. Carbon emissions are around three times higher for business class and four times higher for first-class, mainly due to the extra space used. Also, be considerate of what you pack. The more weight a plane carries, the more carbon emissions it produces, so pack as light as possible.
You can help reduce carbon emissions from transport by choosing to drink and eat local produce. At our Unfound Africa, we strive to use local goods where possible. At our remote destinations, transportation of produce is always planned to tie in with a trip already heading to the destination, to reduce the footprint. We make sure that we bring opportunities to the local communities through the production of wares or goods for our properties, wherever it’s possible. We also encourage our guests to get involved in local activities and experiences, or shop in the communities where available, as it’s a great way to ensure that your money goes back into the local economy.
Each of our destinations is situated in a protected area. These sanctuaries are vital for protecting our natural resources and the biodiversity of fauna and flora. By visiting such places, you contribute to their success.
Vida Nova Retreat – our Hout Bay eco-hotel is surrounded by Table Mountain Nature Reserve. Just off the coastline of Hout Bay is Karbonkelberg Marine Protected Area, a highly restricted “no-take” zone, providing an essential breeding and nursery area for marine life.
Vida Nova Kruger – our eco-lodge in Marloth Park lies in a wildlife sanctuary, situated on the southern boundary of Africa’s first peace park. The world-renowned Kruger National Park encompasses two million hectares of protected land… that’s bigger than the Bahamas!
Klaarstroom – this bijou eco-hotel lies in the Greater Cape Floristic Region, a protected area on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and considered a haven for flora and birdlife.
Machangulo – Kilima Sanctuary | The Monarch Villa | Loggerhead Beach Villa | Leatherback Beach Villa – with four stunning eco-luxury villas to choose from in this Private Nature Reserve, you can rest assured that you are contributing toward one of the last protected habitats of the coastal African elephant. The area is one of the earth’s 36 biological hotspots, and plays a very important role in conserving vulnerable species.
Ilha do Fogo – this remote, pristine island forms part of the Primeiras e Segundas Environmental Protection Area (PSEPA). It is Africa’s largest coastal marine reserve and a crucial area for marine biodiversity, including some of the world’s most prolific coral reefs.
Last year, South Africa committed to reducing emissions 10 years earlier than they had previously stated. Now, they have a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a maximum of 510 tonnes of CO2 in 2025, and 440 in 2030.
Mozambique reduced 1.28 million tons of carbon emissions in 2019. They have now committed to reducing 10 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2024.
Alaska falls under the United States’ promise to reduce emissions by almost 25% by 2025, when compared with 2005 levels.
At each of our properties, we strive to provide you with a home away from home. To keep your carbon footprint low, you can ask housekeeping to only wash towels and linens as often as you would at home. This practice saves a significant amount of water and energy, and lightens your impact on the environment. Make sure you always turn off the lights, aircon and television when you leave the room. Try to keep your showers short and consider a tepid shower to cool you down at our sunny destinations.
Pack a reusable shopping bag, coffee mug and water bottle. That way, when you’re heading outside of our retreats, you can fill your bottle with water for the excursion and if you stop for a takeaway coffee or shopping, you’re prepared. With eight million metric tons of plastic entering our oceans annually, every little helps. Especially when visiting remote areas, where the waste management infrastructure can struggle to keep up with the volume of plastic trash produced by tourists on top of locals. Don’t forget to use the recycling facilities where they are available.
Try a more authentic experience while traveling. Avoiding the touristy areas will not only help you keep out of crowds, but also provides a more unique vacation, which is far more likely to directly benefit the local communities.
While you’re enjoying your chosen destination, instead of exploring the area by car, look at the alternative options for transport on offer. Consider discovering the natural wonders around you while kayaking, SUPing, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, biking and swimming. Not only is it entertaining, but it won’t play on your conscience.
We’re all familiar with the famous quote “Take only memories, leave only footprints.” from Chief Seattle, Duwamish Tribe Leader and namesake of the City of Seattle. This is something to keep in mind while hiking. By staying on the marked trails, you’ll be certain to avoid damaging protected or endangered plants, or disturbing wildlife.
Small groups impact the environment less than individual travelers. You’re usually filling up vehicles, which means a reduced carbon footprint. You’re also more likely to get off the beaten path to experience local gems, which support the local economy.