While the industry is showing up in this regard, it should be noted that travellers also have a role to play. Especially when visiting nature-rich areas such as the Kruger National Park and surrounds. So, what can travellers do? How can tourists become more responsible in the way that they travel and explore nature?
Below are four effortless ways:
Research your Kruger National Park accommodation
When looking for places to stay in Kruger National Park a great place to start is to look at what initiatives your hotel has in place. For example, look into if the hotel encourages guests to reuse their towels rather than use a fresh one every day as a way of saving water and using less detergents.
If you are passionate and serious about being more responsible, you could also research additional information about the hotel when it comes to being an advocate for the environment.
“Tourism businesses today cannot operate without attempting to understand the impact that they have on the environment and the ecosystem,” says Anton Gillis, Kruger Gate Hotel CEO. “No industry is excused in this regard. And, for the hospitality industry, this is becoming increasingly important. What does this mean for hotels such as Kruger Gate Hotel and others located in national parks and nature reserves? For one, it means giving more than we take.
“Often what people may see is hotels using their surrounding areas – their location – as a marketing tool to sell more rooms and entice potential visitors to book. But what we at Kruger Gate Hotel are trying to do is to use the land around us and the natural environment to find potential solutions to environmental issues that we may face. Secondly, it means we need to adopt measures that not only improve guest experience but also mitigate waste across the supply chain and procurement, and this includes reducing wasteful expenditure.”
“For example,” adds Anton, “two thirds of the property is zoned for conservation. We have also cut down our electricity consumption by 25% through the use of environmentally friendly lighting and appliances. The hotel draws water from the river which is purified at the hotel for consumption and then returned back to the river. The system also cleans the water before it’s returned to the river. It is a 360 degrees system that ensures a sustainable relationship with the environment.”
“To add to this, we have rid ourselves of the use of plastic bottles throughout the hotel by using the Vivreau Water Purification system and coupled this process with the use of glass bottles for serving. Lastly, we have also ensured that all wet waste from the hotel is recycled through the local community pig farm. This waste is given to the farm free of charge.”
Support small businesses and the surrounding communities
You might visit the Kruger National Park to see all the animals and do a few game drives, but there are also communities outside of the Park that could use your support, too. As a tourist, the way in which you spend your money can have a direct impact on local communities if you choose to support small and local businesses. A lot of the money you use in these communities, at the local attractions and at local shops could go directly into the pockets of those who work there.
For those visiting the Kruger National Park and surrounding areas wanting to do some close-by Kruger National Park activities, consider Visiting Areas Such as Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window and Lydenburg Heads. All of these attractions employ mostly people from surrounding communities and tourism spending will go a long way in supporting local families.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle
This is a phrase we’ve seen across the world and it’s something that travellers can easily do while on holiday. It’s exceptionally important for travellers to the Kruger National Park to reduce waste, not litter and recycle as much as possible. “Leave only footprints” as the saying goes.
When you travel to places such as the Kruger National Park, consider taking reusable or recyclable bags along with you, as well as reusable water bottles and coffee cups. Reuse every time you need to refill your drinks. You can ask your hotel accommodation to top up your coffee in your own reusable travel mug.
Choose sustainable animal engagement activities
There are no animal engagement activities available in the Kruger National Park. Kruger National Park animals are wild and can be viewed from their vehicles or approved viewpoints. Should you wish to find an animal activity of sorts, look for ones that are run by people or organisations that are truly enthusiastic about animal welfare.
Avoid experiences that put humans directly in touch with animals, such as big cat encounters. This has been proven to place a huge amount of stress on the animals which often act in unpredictable ways as a result.
If you’re in the Kruger area and wish to learn more about animal conservation in the area, pop into the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. This centre provides care and rehabilitation for rare, vulnerable, and endangered animals.