10 Ways to be a Green Traveller

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Green traveller

Being a green traveller means a lot more than just throwing your trash in the bin. It already starts at home when you plan your trip and includes loads of factors like transport, accommodation and even daily routines. Below are ten ways to be a green traveller when visiting Namibia. It is obviously not always possible to adhere to all of these, but it will already make a difference if you can change your behaviour by incorporating some of the suggestions in your travel plans.

1 GREEN TRAVELLERS FLY NON-STOP

As far as possible try to book direct flights. Takeoffs and landings create most of an aeroplane’s carbon emissions. Besides, you’ll not only be helping the environment but also cutting down on travel time.

 

2 SAY NO TO SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

One of the biggest evils, not only in Namibia but worldwide, is bottled water. As a general rule water in Namibia is safe to drink, therefore pack a reusable water bottle. To further cut down on plastic bring your own reusable straws, shopping bags and even reusable cups for takeaway coffees or teas.

INSTAGRAMMABLE

3 CHOOSE THE RIGHT MEANS OF TRAVEL

There are busses and shuttles to most of the main towns, but since Namibia is a big country most tourists will rely on a rental car to get around. Do some research before renting a vehicle as tarred roads and most of the gravel roads are generally in good condition and big fuel-guzzling 4×4’s are not always required. Consider renting a smaller car that will be more eco-friendly.

Walk, cycle or skate to really explore towns. Not only are these modes of transport carbon-free, but they allow you to experience these places a lot better than from behind a car window.

4 STAY AT SUSTAINABLE ESTABLISHMENTS

Look for eco-friendly accommodation on your own or visit the Eco Awards Namibia website – the country’s own sustainable tourism certification programme.

 

5 GIVE IN THE RIGHT WAY

Do not give money or sweets to children and villagers as this often encourages begging. Rather ask your tour operator in which ways you would be better able to sustainably support these people, or support local NGOs who provide education and other social support.

green travellers

6 LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS

Always respect nature. Roads are there for a reason, never drive off-road with your vehicle unless it is a marked track. When hiking, stay on hiking trails to avoid unnecessarily destroying vegetation. When camping, only stay in designated campsites and take everything along with you when you leave.

7 RESPECT WILD ANIMALS

Namibia is rich in wildlife, which is one of the reasons why so many tourists visit the country each year. Do not spoil the experience for other people. Always keep a safe distance from wild animals as they are unpredictable. By chasing after them for that close-up shot you put yourself, others and them at risk. Don’t be that person who takes a selfie with a wild animal.

Never feed wild animals as this encourages them to approach humans for food and cause them to be killed when they become aggressive and possibly injure other tourists.

 

8 USE ECO-FRIENDLY TOUR OPERATORS

Use local tour operators that subscribe to sustainable and green practices. Tour companies usually have easy-to-find information on their sustainability on their website.

9 RESPECT THE LOCAL PEOPLE AND THEIR CULTURE

Always be courteous and ask permission before taking someone’s photo. Namibia is rich in cultural heritage and you will learn a lot more when you engage with local people rather than just take a photo and walk away.

 

10 SAVE WATER

As a country with two deserts, it goes without saying that water is a very scarce resource and should always be used wisely. Before you set off on your trip, research ways to be water-wise and always remember that saving water is something that should be ingrained in everyone’s daily routine no matter where they live, green traveller or not. (Read our tips for saving water here.)

This article was first published in the 2019 EU special edition of Travel News Namibia.

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