“Regenerative safaris” offer a new approach to travel that prioritizes sustainability, community involvement, and education.
In a panel discussion that Regenerative Travel held for Earth Day 2023 moderated by Barbara Buchel – Co-Founder & Chief Impact Officer of Viatu, a founding Agency of Change at Davines in Brooklyn, New York, experts highlighted how regenerative safaris offer an opportunity for travelers to make conscious choices and work towards doing more good for the planet and its inhabitants.
Travel can be a force for good, preserving wild places and empowering local communities, but it can also cause harm to the planet and people. Regenerative travel involves taking an active role in research and understanding of the destination, as well as considering the social and environmental impact of our actions and choices. By prioritizing responsible tourism practices and educating consumers on the importance of regenerative travel, we can help preserve wild places and empower local communities.
Wazha Dube, Director of Index Select and representative of African Bush Camps, spoke about the company’s focus on community empowerment, conservation, and community education. African Bush Camps has made a commitment to actively contribute to the preservation of the environment and the well-being of the communities they visit. They focus on community empowerment, conservation, and community education through their “three pillars” approach. Their lodges are built from renewable resources, have solar farms, and recycle water and food, which reduces waste and conserves natural resources. They also have several projects focused on wildlife and community development, which guests can see firsthand and contribute to through a donation to their foundation. Additionally, African Bush Camps offers a training program for female safari guides, which helps to increase gender equality in the safari industry and empower women in remote areas. By incorporating sustainable practices and supporting local communities, African Bush Camps aims to make a positive impact on the environment and the people they encounter.
“We want to not only show people how to disconnect and connect with the wilderness and also a bit more of their primal selves, but also to connect with our communities. We welcome you to learn about how we are giving back through what we call our three pillars of community empowerment, conservation and community education, but also how we want our guests to come and actually see and touch the projects we have,” shares Wazha Dube.
Maurice Smith, CEO and Founder of Eugene Toriko and a founding Agency of Change member, emphasized the importance of luxury travel with a social and environmental impact. Smith noted that luxury is more about the culture and impact made, rather than just comfort and opulence. The panel also discussed the challenges and opportunities of sustainable and regenerative travel, such as supporting local communities, reducing waste, and conserving natural resources.
“I used to be a travel advisor who focused on quantity over quality and worked with mass market options. However, I made a shift towards experiences that have a social and environmental impact. Now, I only work with hotel leaders and DMCs that align with our mission. There is a misconception that regenerative experiences sacrifice luxury and comfort, but from my experience and our clients’, luxury is more about the culture and impact made. We call it ‘luxury with an impact.’ You are not sacrificing luxury and comfort, and some of these places are the most Instagram-worthy in the world with the best accommodations and food.” – Maurice Smith, CEO and Founder of Eugene Toriko
The panelists also discussed the importance of gender equality in the safari industry. The training program for female safari guides is changing the perspective of who can guide and what the next generation of guides will look like. Vivian Temba, founder of Kantabile Afrika, spoke about their efforts to increase gender equality in their workplace, providing flexible work arrangements and a strong support system for women to work in remote areas. Kantabile Afrika is a hospitality travel company that prioritizes integrity, purpose, and harmony in all its operations. The company focuses on maintaining the health of the land and communities by utilizing mobile camps that leave no lasting trace and sourcing materials from nearby settlements. Kantabile Afrika’s staff comprises local residents, and the company’s practices benefit the local economy.
“We need to provide flexible work arrangements and a strong support system for women to work in the bush for extended periods. Through our experience, we’ve realized that women require not only financial support but also access to healthcare services.” Vivian Temba, founder of Kantabile Afrika shares.
Regenerative safaris offer an approach to travel that prioritizes sustainability, community involvement, and education. As the travel industry continues to evolve, it’s important to prioritize responsible tourism practices and educate consumers on the importance of regenerative travel. By making conscious choices to become better travelers, we can actively work towards doing more good for the planet and its inhabitants.