Every year, millions of tourists choose to travel to Kenya to experience its breathtaking landscapes, safaris and vibrant culture. Many tourists in a country that, although it has a higher level of development than other African countries, still has a high poverty rate. As a tourist who wants to make a trip to Kenya, we should be aware that our trip can have a negative or positive impact on the territory. It is our responsibility to make our visit to Kenya a sustainable and positive impact trip.

Tips and tricks for a sustainable trip to Kenya

1- Choose sustainable accommodations

Be sure to choose sustainable accommodations that are committed to environmental conservation. There are many options available, from eco-camps to lodges and hotels that use renewable energy and promote sustainable practices. By choosing sustainable accommodations, you are also supporting the local economy and the local communities that work in these establishments with living wages.

Sustainable lodging in the Masai Mara

2- The role of local communities during your trip to Kenya

There is a big difference between having a local guide and traveling through a local community. The first thing is a minimum of minimums, it is expected and logical that a local person will show you his country. But having a local guide is not synonymous with sustainability on a trip to Kenya. For example, if that local guide is underpaid, exploited and depends on the tips or commissions he gets from tourists, it is an example of the NON-sustainability of your trip to Kenya or wherever you are.

On the other hand, if the local community, organized and empowered, organizes the safaris and the activities developed in the country and, in addition, redistributes the wealth of tourism among all, then we can consider our trip to Kenya sustainable.

Food during safari in kenya with William, a sustainable trip in Kenya with Maasai.
Raquel eating with William in the middle of the masai mara.

Hiring a safari from a local Kenyan company and confusing something local with something sustainable is not the same. It is necessary to verify that the local company has sustainability policies, pays well to its guides and that the money is reinvested in the territory. Generally, and due to the capitalist system in which we live, this is almost never the case: the owner of the company keeps the benefits of tourism to enrich himself.

In short, it is sustainable, if it impacts and redistributes the money throughout the community, for example, by funding schools, secondary education, orphanages, etc.

3- Go on a sustainable safari

Most travelers who go to Kenya is to go on safari.

When we choose the company that will make us the safari or if for example we hire a package that includes the safari, we have to ensure that the local company is committed to conservation and animal welfare. Some of us have seen on social networks, videos of hundreds of cars chasing or surrounding an animal, regardless of the damage we are doing to it or if we are disturbing it in its natural habitat. We are only interested in having the best photo. Here is an example that happened recently in the Mara National Reserve:

When we put our interest in taking the best photo ahead of the animal’s welfare, we are being very disrespectful to the environment. There are guides that encourage these practices to satisfy tourists. Without realizing the damage they are doing to the ecosystem.

It is important to know that when we are on safari in the Masai Mara, we are in a territory that does not belong to us, and we are the guests.

If you do NOT want to see this when you go on safari, take a look to our sustainable safaris SAFARIS KENYA

4- Reduce the use of plastics

This example is simple and we saw it firsthand. If on your trip to Kenya you are given plastic bottles every time you want water, it is a clear example that the tour operator you have hired for your trip to Kenya does not have sustainability policies.

On our first safari we did with a local company in Tanzania, we were given small bottles of water every time we were thirsty. We were not aware of the problem of using plastics in a country or in an area where there is no recycling infrastructure. These bottles, we assume, were thrown in a dumpster. all mixed and with no possibility of recycling. At the end of the safari, we did a Maasai dive with a Maasai community and it was the Maasai who explained to us that plastic was rejected by the community and that if a tourist brought any plastic, they should return it to their country or to Arusha, as they and no one in their area have the recycling machines that we have in Europe.

How do we drink water during a sustainable safari? We were given canteens which we refilled. In this way, we save several plastic bottles a day. Obviously, the water was still mineral and drinkable, but filling was done from large 10-liter bottles.

5- Use of public or shared transportation

If we travel in backpacker mode, the bus is the most economical method of transportation other than bicycles. They are generally safe and from Nairobi there are many lines moving around. It is more complicated to go to a remote area, where we will depend on matatus to get there.

Conclusions of a sustainable trip in Kenya

In summary, sustainable travel in Kenya is possible if you follow these recommendations. By choosing sustainable accommodations, using public transportation, supporting local communities, going on a sustainable safari and reducing your plastic consumption, you will be doing your part to minimize your environmental impact and support local communities.

LINK: SEE sustainable travel in Kenya!

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