What is Eco-Travel?
According to the International Ecotourism Society, Eco-friendly travel is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education” (TIES, 2015). In essence, eco-tourism follows three main principles which are; conservation, communities, and education.
How We Maintain a Responsible Operation
As Asilia, our biggest commitment is to empower crucial wilderness areas in East Africa, benefitting people, and nature. With the help of you – our guests – who contribute a donation of US$5 for each night that you stay with us, we’re able to make the most significant positive impact towards our goal of empowering our areas of operation, including the local communities and wildlife that call them home.
Our camps and logistics answer to the highest standards of ecotourism. It means we reduce our footprint by limiting fossil fuels and using sustainable energy sources such as the sun, recycling water that is used in camps and reducing our overall wastage. The rest of our carbon footprint is offset by our support of local forestation projects and even the introduction of our very own vegetable gardens which are located in areas such as the remote Rubondo Island as well as in the northern Serengeti.
We have appointed Eco-Warriors in each of our camps in Kenya, Tanzania as well as on the island of Zanzibar. These eco-warriors are responsible for the collection of all waste produced by our camps. They sort this waste into different groups based on how they should be disposed of and every week this waste is sent to Arusha for recycling.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Home to Ol Pejeta Bush Camp and the last two surviving northern white rhino, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is famous for pioneering conservation projects and unspoilt wilderness. The Conservancy aims to protect all the vulnerable species, provide a sanctuary and generate an income through tourism for reinvestment in conservation and communities.
Matemwe Turtle Conservation
The team at Matemwe, along with local residents, look for nests in unprotected areas of Matemwe. Fishermen are rewarded for bringing us injured turtles or ones that have been caught in their fishing nets. Every year, The Mnarani Turtle Conservation Center release rehabilitated sea turtles back into the waters of Zanzibar. The Mnarani Turtle Conservation Centre is a community-based NGO which was established in 1993 to conserve the population of sea turtles in Zanzibar. Hawksbill turtles which are found in this area, are under threat as they have been traditionally caught for their shells. Green turtles also call Matemwe home and face their own threat, as they are hunted for their meat. Both Green and Hawksbill turtles are critically endangered so the protection of these sea creatures is incredibly important.
Community and Education
Education is a powerful key to change perceptions. That’s why we aim to educate young and old about the importance of conservation of our wildlife and wilderness areas.
Human-wildlife conflict occurs when animals pose a direct and recurring threat to the livelihood of the communities through attacking and killing their cattle. This ultimately leads to the persecution of that species. Examples of human-wildlife conflict that communities in East Africa deal with are instances such as elephants clearing farmer’s crops or carnivores, such as leopards, turning to cattle as an alternative food source. Despite the history of conflict; innovation and education have led to collaboration between conservancies and locals and positive changes are being made.
Read more about our human-wildlife conflict progress here.
Twende Porini, which means, “Let’s go to the bush”, is our flagship environmental kids programme. Lessons are combined with games and fun activities while teaching the children about the importance of sustainable tourism and conservation, and the benefits that these have for them and their families living within rural communities close to our properties.
Watch our Twende Porini video here
At Asilia we understand the importance of sustainable tourism. Therefore each of our camps were designed to have the lowest impact on the environment, with no permanent structures. We make use of solar power in all of our camps and reuse and recycle water where possible. All of our practices in camp ensure the least possible impact is being made on our environment and this is carried through in all we do. We have the utmost respect for our natural world and our biggest concern is ensuring we are doing everything we can to sustain and conserve the wild areas we operate in.
Our Migration camps offers you a front row seat to experience the Great Migration but they’re also extremely eco-conscious! They move up to three times a year, this allows for the environment to restore itself back to its original state before any interference. These areas are allowed to replenish themselves and the wildlife of the area are able to benefit from this during the times of the year the camp is not in the area.
Read more about our migration camps and their locations
How Can You Be a Responsible Guest?
Yes, even as a guest enjoying a safari, you can also be involved and do your bit to make a difference. We have listed 5 things, you can do the be an eco-adventurer:
- Avoid using plastic – Skip the bottled water and use your Asilia waterbottle you receive once you arrive in camp.
- Remember we make use of solar power – Turn off the lights when you leave your room and don’t leave appliances charging for longer than need be.
- Conserve water – Small acts can save many litres of water. Take shorter showers, rather than a bath and don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth or washing your face.
- Be careful what you buy a souvenir – Do not buy products made from any endangered species. The trade in ivory has led to one of the biggest threats to wildlife species such as elephants and rhinos so be sure to check before you buy what your souvenir is made from.
- Learn more about the cultures you are exposed to while on safari – Feel free to ask the staff about their cultures and history. You’ll be intrigued and mesmerised with the meaning behind the dances, songs and traditional experiences that are shared with you as a guest.