Sustainable Travel: Enjoying the World While Preserving It

How can we enjoy cherished lands without leaving a negative impact? The answer lies in sustainable travel.
The Love Central - Sustainable Travel: Enjoying the World While Preserving It The Love Central - Sustainable Travel: Enjoying the World While Preserving It
Sustainable Travel: Enjoying the World While Preserving It

How can we enjoy cherished lands without leaving a negative impact? The answer lies in sustainable travel—a thoughtful approach that lets us explore the world while ensuring it thrives for generations to come

The concept of sustainable travel isn’t a Western import—it’s woven into the fabric of African life. Take the Gullah Geechee people of South Carolina, descendants of West African slaves. 

For centuries, they’ve practiced “seeding”—harvesting sweetgrass for baskets without uprooting the plants, ensuring a sustainable supply. This mirrors techniques used by their ancestors in Sierra Leone and Ghana.

In East Africa, the Maasai have been examples of sustainable travel long before the term existed. Their traditional pastoralist lifestyle allows them to move with their herds, letting grazed areas recover—a practice now celebrated in eco-lodges like Kenya’s Campi ya Kanzi.

The Love Central - Sustainable Travel: Enjoying the World While Preserving It
Join a beach clean up Image source Freepik

The Sacred Triangle of Sustainable Travel

Here are the key components of sustainable travel:

1. Environmental Guardianship

This isn’t just about reducing carbon emissions—it’s about respecting the land as our ancestors did. In practice:

  • Stay at Bisate Lodge near Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. For each guest, a tree is planted, helping to reforest gorilla habitats.
  • Take the new high-speed trains in Morocco between Casablanca and Tangier, cutting your carbon footprint by 70%.
  • Join a beach clean-up with the Watamu Turtle Watch in Kenya, protecting sea turtles that have nested here for millennia.

2. Cultural Kinship

This pillar ensures that our travels deepen cultural bonds rather than commodify them. As diaspora Africans, we’re not just visitors—we’re returning family. Ways to honor this:

  • In Ghana’s Ashanti region, stay at the Bobiri Forest Reserve’s guest house. Learn traditional kente weaving, a skill your ancestors might have practiced.
  • Attend a Boma dinner in Tanzania’s Serengeti, where Maasai hosts share oral histories that may echo your own family’s tales.
  • Visit the Robben Island Museum in South Africa. Many guides are former political prisoners who stood against apartheid—a fight that resonates with our own civil rights struggles.
The Love Central - Sustainable Travel: Enjoying the World While Preserving It
Take a tour in Ethiopias Omo Valley Image source Freepik

3. Economic Empowerment

This ensures tourism dollars reach those who’ve historically been left out—often, women and rural communities. It’s about equitable growth, a principle deeply rooted in African concepts like Ubuntu (I am because we are). Try:

  • Book through Senegal’s Tastemakers Africa, a platform that connects you with local experiences, like a food tour in Dakar led by female entrepreneurs.
  • Stay at Bulungula Lodge in South Africa’s former Transkei homeland. It’s 100% community-owned, offering a chance to support an area long marginalized under apartheid.
  • Take a tour with Tafari Travel in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley. They employ guides from various tribes, ensuring each community benefits from showcasing its way of life.

Conclusion: Sustainable Travel is More Than a Trip

Consider this: The mighty baobabs in Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park can live over 1,000 years. Through sustainable travel, we ensure these ancient watchers—and all they represent—will greet many more generations of our global African family.

In doing so, you’re not just exploring your past; you’re actively shaping an Africa that will beckon your children’s children home, its magic not just intact, but magnified. Now that’s a legacy that spans oceans and epochs! Happy World Environment Day!

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