By Ellie Coverdale
Africa is a beautiful country with much to offer to visitors. It’s a massive, diverse landmass that is home to many different people, traditions and cultures. It is increasingly a destination for tourist and holidaymakers because, no matter what sort of a trip you are looking to have – from a romantic city getaway to Marrakech, to a safari voyage in Botswana, there will be something for you. However, as well as being a beautiful country, Africa is a vulnerable one too. As tourism increases, so too does the potential for harm to flora, fauna, environments and the people of Africa. So, with that in mind, it’s your responsibility as a traveller to be respectful and considerate whenever possible. Let’s take a look at some tips for how to do that.
Book Locally owned bed and breakfasts or guesthouses
The temptation when going somewhere unfamiliar can be to try and arrange things to be as comfortable and familiar as possible within the new destination. “Big chain hotels not only give you an experience that makes you feel like you could be anywhere, but they can also have a negative effect on the surrounding area. They redirect income overseas and can damage the environment”, says James O’Connell, travel blogger at Academized and OxEssays. Try and book locally owned bed and breakfasts or guesthouses when you can.
Book Your Tour Operator Carefully
When visiting somewhere that is very unfamiliar to you, booking yourself on a tour can feel like a good way to ensure that you see a good balance of sites and destinations and you don’t have to stress about travel. But, it’s vital that you ensure that all of the steps you want to personally make to be responsible, your tour company make too – in case you decide to use one. Make sure you do your research!
Try To Shrink Your Carbon Footprint
This should be a rule of thumb wherever you are visiting, but Africa is its own ecosystem so you do have to be especially careful not to make too great an impact on the environment. Use shared transport systems, take as few flights as possible and try to be on foot or on bikes whenever you can.
Engage With Locals
“People can get really stressed about planning a trip to Africa, knowing what to do and where to go. One simple piece of guiding advice that people inexplicably forget, is to engage with locals for advice and learn about the country they are in”, says Tola Jenkins, lifestyle writer at AustralianHelp and StateOfWriting. Your trip will not only be much more sensitive to the world you are entering, but it will also make your trip more fun!
Encourage Friends To Make The Trip As Well
Tourism in Africa continues to grow which is a great thing but it can’t keep being boosted without the help of the individual. Make sure to tell your friends about how much fun you had and how highly you’d recommend it. Africa still struggles with desperate poverty in some areas but with the help of more responsible visitors, that can change over time. If you feel compelled then try and spread the word even further: start a blog or write an article to report on your travels!
Another one of the unfamiliar parts to visiting Africa can be the food. In certain places, you can feel like it is too adventurous to venture further than your hotel’s dining room. But food at local restaurants can be delicious. There are certain things to avoid; of course, anything washed in water like salads and fruits and certain street-foods. But in general, if you gradually ween yourself onto the spices you shouldn’t worry about stomach issues.
Always Think Local
Any opportunity you have to help support the community you find yourself in should be taken. That can mean anything from actually making donations and doing volunteer work to just buying from local vendors.
Visiting Africa can be an amazing, life-changing experience, regardless of where in its vast expanse that you end up. It’s important that you are a considerate traveller wherever you are in the world but particularly in Africa which has instability in certain areas. Travel safe and well!
About the Author:
Ellie Coverdale writes for UkWritings and EssayRoo on matters of lifestyle and travel. She loves sharing her insights on experiencing the world and how to approach your personal and professional life to maximize your opportunities for adventure. She also writes articles for BoomEssays as a teacher.
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