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Bush Tales

10 Questions you should be asking as a Responsible Traveller

15 Min Read

If there's anything we've taken from this year – it's that as humans, we need to start putting more effort and awareness into conserving our environment. One way to do this is to start applying pressure on large companies to do their bit. The accountability lies with all of us, whether it’s daily practices of sustainability or deciding which businesses to support. According to the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, the hotel sector accounts for around 1% of global carbon emissions and this is set to increase. Hospitality, like other industries, has a responsibility to manage its impact on our planet. As a consumer, we must be conscious of supporting hotels and operators that are playing their part in creating a more sustainable future. 

To do this, we must educate ourselves on the questions that need to be asked to assess the sustainability of a hotel you wish to stay at. It’s better to support a hotel that does their bit for the environment and the local community. So, we’ve put together these top 10 important questions any responsible traveller should be asking before booking with a camp/lodge.

 

The 10 important questions you should be asking as a Responsible Traveller:

  1. Was your lodge/hotel built sustainably?
  2. How do you lower your energy use and what energy-saving initiatives do you have in place?
  3. How do you support and work with the local community?
  4. Do you employ local staff?
  5. Do you make use of renewable energy sources?
  6. Do you offer plant-based meals to guests?
  7. Do you encourage guests to make sustainable changes during their stay, do sustainable activities in the local environment and do your staff set an example for guests?
  8. How do you manage food waste?
  9. Do you recycle your waste and reduce your single-use plastic?
  10. How do you lower your water consumption and what water-savings initiatives do you have in place?

Why should you choose to travel with African Bush Camps?

At African Bush Camps we pride ourselves in doing our bit for the environment, conservation, and the community in which we operate. To prove this, we’ve answered the 10 questions below for you.

  1. Was your lodge/hotel built sustainably?

    Yes, our lodges are all built as semi-permanent structures using sustainable materials. Our structures can be constructed and taken apart easily, showing they have low-impact on the surrounding area. Our goal is to leave a minimal environmental footprint where we operate.

    Somalisa Casmp drone shot SImon Watson African Bush Camps-1-1-1
  2. How do you lower your energy use and what energy-saving initiatives do you have in place?

    From day one we have designed our camps in energy-efficient ways that harness the natural benefits of the area, such as shade, wind and sun. Implementing biomimicry in architecture of camps means we create nature inspired solutions for a healthy planet.We also ensure trees and termite mounds are undisturbed and rather used as the focal point in building. We do the majority of our cooking out in nature, surrounded by the bush, on an open fire to reduce the energy used for kitchen appliances.

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  3. How do you support and work with the local community?

    Our charitable arm, the African Bush Camps Foundation, supports the communities on the outskirts of national parks in which we operate through vital projects that address education, community empowerment and conservation projects. We also support the local sector by using resources from the surrounding communities, such as building materials, labour, furniture, clothing, décor and food supplies.

    Wildlife conservation projects are an important factor in the safari industry and we hold the responsibility to serve and protect the wildlife in the areas we operate. The Conservation and Wildlife Fund, and the Mana Pools and Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Units all do an impeccable job in patrolling the landsremoving snares and conserving the wildlife for future generations to admire. 

    ABC Foundation - ReWild Africa - Alistair Daynes-22-1-1
  4. Do you employ local staff?

    Yes, all our staff (guides, hosts, chefs) are local to the communities in which we operate to ensure we are empowering the communities through job creation. We encourage and empower growth for each employee within the company. We’ve had many staff members climb the ladder from backhand kitchen staff or mechanics working their way up to becoming professional guides, hosts & managers.

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  5. Do you make use of renewable energy sources?

    Yes, we use rooftop solar systems and solar geysers throughout our camps. At our Somalisa Camp and Somalisa Acacia Camp, we have an entire solar farm set up to power both camps.

  6. Do you offer plant-based meals to guests?

    Yes, we are flexible and personable when it comes to the likes and needs of each guest that visits ABC. We will move mountains to offer whatever guests want. We’ve even gone so far as to source specific kitchen appliances for Halaal-friendly meals & kitchen prep. Plant-based guests are well taken care of by our chefs, in fact, some of our plant-based recipes have even been featured in Nourish Magazine.

    Vegan Laqsagna African Bush Camps-1
  7. Do you encourage guests to make sustainable changes during their stay, do sustainable activities in the local environment and do your staff set an example for guests?

    For every guest that stays with us, we donate $10 per guest per night to our Foundation, and $15 per guest per night to the Conservation and Wildlife Fund, so guests automatically make a difference to the community and conservation when they travel with us. We also encourage guests to visit our communities around camp and take part in our Foundation projects. One such project we are associated with is the ‘Pack for a Purpose’ where guests bring along old items from home that they give to the community members when doing a community visit. We stock our shops with curios and décor from the local businesses in the communities we support thorough our Foundation. In our shops, guests can donate to our Foundation. Donations to our Foundation mainly come from our past guests who have connected to the projects while on their trips, they keep their legacy going in these communities through their generosity. 

    Our entire camps’ concept is that it demonstrates sustainable practices and our staff have been trained according to our brand bible that speaks to our values. This lifestyle is re-enforced to the point where this becomes our culture of African Bush Camps.

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  8. How do you manage food waste?

    We have compost holes in the ground (with cages to stop scavenging from the wildlife) where we dispose of our compostable food waste. These get rotated as they get full. Because our camps are situated in national parks, we are careful not to introduce exotics in the park, for example, seeds. Therefore, we mix our compost with charcoal and ash.

  9. Do you recycle your waste and reduce your single-use plastic?

    We're in the process of becoming as ‘plastic-free’ as possible. All guests on arrival are given their own metal water bottle to reuse throughout their stay to decrease the number of plastic bottles used throughout camps. We have no plastic straws in camp and goods procured are packed with as little plastic as possible. We separate waste for recycling purposes and this waste is disposed of outside the parks at official waste collection and management-centres. All our paper waste is converted into paper mâché and made into welcome cards for our guests.

  10. How do you lower your water consumption and what water-savings initiatives do you have in place?

We have boreholes that supply water to our camps and all cleaning products and amenities are chemical-free and eco-friendly - meaning we are able to recycle our water safely through the waste management systems we have in place. This waste management system recycles and produces safe drinking water for wildlife. 

This water is recycled through our bio rock systems where the water is treated using natural processes and enzymes which is then fed back into the pans as safe drinking water for the wildlife. Hwange National Park is a semi-arid desert so to provide water for the wildlife here is of utmost importance. In other camps such as Nyamatusi, it's fed back into the wetland as potable water rather than contaminated sewage.

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As you can see, when you travel with us at African Bush Camps, you can rest assured that you're doing your bit for the environment, conservation and the community.

As said by our Founder and CEO Beks Ndlovu,

"We don't separate ourselves from a conservation company. We believe that in order to conserve these beautiful parts of the world we need to do tourism in a very sustainable way. We don't measure profits just in our bottom line financially, but in impact that we have to the area, to our staff, and the greater community at large." 

Beks-Ndlovu--(13)

For more information on our Foundation, Sustainable Camps and Conservation efforts, please take a few minutes to watch our videos below:

Building our sustainable camp, Nyamatusi: https://hubs.ly/H0zmNhz0 

Conservation in Kanga: https://hubs.ly/H0zmNkN0

The African Bush Camps Foundation: https://hubs.ly/H0zmN0F0

We would like to thank the team at Imbue Sustainability for their help generating these questions.

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