How to “Green” your Leisure and Travel Time

We all love to explore, don’t we? The excitement of travelling, trying delicious, exotic foods, experiencing unfamiliar cultures and learning new languages is a wonderful thing.  A question I’ve been asking myself is, how can I use my travel and leisure time in a way that’s “green” and responsible? If you’ve wondered the same thing, here’s some inspiration.

ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS


What’s your favourite holiday location? Is it a luxury lodge in Kruger National Park? Your family’s beach cottage in Hermanus? A campsite in the Drakensberg?One way to make your holidays or recreation time more eco-friendly is to visit our amazing nature reserves, game parks and wild places. Whether it’s a two week vacation or a Saturday afternoon picnic, your presence (and entry fee/donation) supports the ongoing protection and success of our green spaces. You can enjoy relaxing in a beautiful natural environment knowing you’re helping provide a home for indigenous creatures and employment for park caretakers.

LOW-IMPACT ACTIVITIES


If you’re exploring a natural area, you can lessen your carbon footprint with low-impact activities. Low-impact activities have the least effect on wildlife and their habitats. The idea is to cause minimal pollution and disturbance to the area and its inhabitants. This is a good reason to try an activity you haven’t done before! A few options are:

  • Trail walking
  • Cross country running
  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Snorkelling
  • Sailing
  • Bird-watching
  • Game-viewing by foot

For those who prefer a less sporty adventure, some lodges offer opportunities such as photographic and art safaris, cooking courses, cultural tours and the like. My favourite winter holiday activity is finding an armchair with a great view and exploring a good book.

EATING OUT


When eating out, eat at ethical restaurants. Do some research ahead of time and find places that serve food with a conscience. Things to look for:

  • Free-range, antibiotic-free meat, dairy and eggs
  • Locally grown, organic fruit and vegetables
  • Oils and preserves sourced from surrounding areas
  • Support of the community by providing employment or skills training

STAY AT SUSTAINABLE AND FAIR TRADE PROPERTIES


When you go on holiday or indulge in a weekend escape, support Fair Trade or sustainability-conscious properties.
Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) is for travellers who want to make a difference. Being a responsible traveller means having an amazing experience, while at the same time giving back to the people and the environment you visited. It is a commitment to honouring the people and places that made your holiday happen. (Fair Trade Tourism)
Sustainability-conscious properties are those that take into consideration the 4 Cs: conservation, community, culture and commerce. It’s a well-rounded combination that benefits the local people, the wildlife, you the visitor and the business. Some gorgeous properties that fit the bill here in South Africa:

Tasha Seccombe_Fairview Plettenberg Bay_0035

MAKE A DIFFERENCE


Before you book your next hotel stay or head out to a local conservancy, find out how you can contribute to the work they’re doing. Perhaps you could take along stationery or medical supplies, or donate trees to a reforestation project. The people working at your destination will let you know what their projects are and how you can help.
*The 4Cs philosophy originates from Wilderness Safaris, a highly regarded ecotourism operator.