The threat of climate change is impacting the world over, but there are significant impacts across Africa. There are a few things worth considering when planning your safari vacation to ensure you're making educated, and sensible choices to help make your trip as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.
The first thing to talk about with climate change and safaris is of course, flying out to Africa. Long haul flights are a big carbon emitter, solar or hydrogen powered planes are a long way off. So the question is, can flying be justified? That’s an important question but I would of course, argue an emphatic yes in this case, for reasons I will come onto. But for now it can only make sense to try and fly as little as possible, so, if you’re going on safari, consider staying for a longer period of time!
One of the biggest pieces of advice would be to do your research and try to book your flights with companies making a genuine effort to reduce their emissions, and if you’re coming to Tanzania offset with Carbon Tanzania.
Climate change is already having catastrophic effects on the environment and people of Africa. Extreme weather events are becoming commonplace, flooding in particular, not just in El Nino years, is now a regular scourge across most safari countries. Roads, bridges and homes can be completely washed away (never mind a safari camp). Inside national parks, already insufficient budgets are struggling to constantly re-build expensive infrastructure.
Climate patterns are more unreliable. Droughts are becoming longer and more frequent. For the people living off the land around protected areas this means their livelihoods are ever more uncertain. For wild animals and wilderness, their food and water sources are compromised, driving them to the borders of conservation areas - where they come into ever increasing conflict with local people.
To help people become more resilient to the effects of climate change we need to develop and promote safaris that make a tangible, positive improvement to their livelihoods. Tourism is a critical opportunity for livelihood diversification, especially in periphery areas outside of the honeypot destinations (think southern vs northern Tanzania). Only then can we effectively protect wild animals and wild places into the future.
If you’re going on safari, you can ask your tour operator about their principles and commitments on climate change. What community initiatives are they involved in? What eco and community friendly practices are the camps you’re going to using: employing more women, solar panels, grey water, local community outreach? Look for developments in the safari industry like electric safari vehicles - a no brainer as there’s so much less disturbance to wildlife and the environment.
Make an impact with your safari by donating to the Kusini Fund and the projects we support.
Want to talk about climate change and your safari? Contact us now.