Readers of Bench Arica's ‘Bench Press’ undoubtedly share our intrinsic love of Africa. Some of you may have visited multiple times, lured, perhaps by the smell of the rain, dramatic skies, colourful tribes or the overwhelming joy of witnessing wildlife in their natural environment. There is no doubt that we also share an innate concern about the threats to Africa’s wildlife, culture and diverse landscapes.
Sustainable travel means leaving a smaller footprint on the environment, conserving wildlife and contributing to local communities. Here are some recent initiatives on the African continent that we are proud to report on.
PLANET OR PLASTIC?
The world is waking up to the fact that we’re producing more throwaway plastic waste than we can handle and camps across Africa are no exception. Tour operator, Wilderness Safaris have made a concerted effort to reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles used in their camps. Across the group, they have achieved a total reduction of 76% by offering guests plastic and reusable steel bottles to fill up with fresh filtered water when needed.
Also supporting the ‘Planet or Plastic’ campaign is Sabi Sabi, in South Africa, who is still using plastic bottled water so as not to waste water. Instead the bottles are made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is a globally recognised safe and recyclable material.Sabi Sabi is working with suppliers to ensure that this process is not only carried out responsibly but also educates local communities on the importance of responsible recycling, while simultaneously creating job opportunities.
BANANA LEAF LUNCH BOXES
In East Africa, Lemala believes in supporting and developing local entrepreneurship while reducing its impact on the environment. One example is their partnership with 32 local women to provide its lodges with lunch boxes made from dried banana skins to replace the previously used plastic ones, improving not only their environmental footprint but empowering women and creating enterprise.
TACKLING HUMAN – WILDLIFE CONFLICT
In the Hwange area of Zimbabwe, conflict arises from lion predation on the livestock of rural towns. Simply replacing traditional bomas with ‘walls’ made from PVC has resulted in 100% success, with not a single lion yet to breach the boma. This collaborative innovation is thanks
to the African Bush Camps Foundation, Elefence International and the Hwange Lion Research Project.
To find out more about more of the wonderful sustainable companies and initiatives that we partner with at Bench Africa you can download our digital magazine app to your handheld device.
THE SAFARI GUIDE MAGAZINE
This stylish digital magazine, aimed at the sophisticated, savvy traveller, was born out of an innate desire to encourage more meaningful travel throughout the continent of Africa - in all its rich diversity. Each issue is packed with Africa travel news, sustainable travel ideas, insider tips, fervent tales, electrifying videos and dramatic imagery. If you care about our planet, if you’re desperate to get off the beaten track, if you want to mingle with the locals or just experience ‘the extraordinary’ in Africa then The Safari Guide has it all.