Responsible travel is all about leaving a positive impact on both the environment and the people we will meet in the places we visit. The result being a more ethical and responsible trip when it comes to travelers’ impacts, and also a more genuine and culturally immersive experience.
Avoid extended driving
We suggest to drive no more than 4 to 5 hours per day and enjoy the rest of the time exploring the areas and relaxing. Driving offroad is tiring, and tiredness undermines the safety of your adventure. On the tar, an estimate of 35 to 40 mph (55-65 km/h) is realistic. As soon as the sealed road will finish, then the estimate goes down to 15 mph, excluding stops. When preparing the itineraries for our clients, we do take these estimates into consideration.
This will help you spot animals, and it will keep you safe. Most of the accidents happen because of the speed, especially on gravel roads, where it seems there are no obstacles.
Stay close to your comfort zone
Driving offroad is surely more tiring than driving on tar roads, be very honest with yourself and if you do not have the skills, our suggestion is to avoid looking for challenging obstacles and the likes. On top of this, you will probably be driving in remote areas, totally unknown to you. While for some Guests this is exactly what they look for, please make sure to ask yourself if this is what you are looking for in your next adventure. We will be happy to organize for you a guided self-drive. The company founders are very active in guided itineraries, and they normally organize at least one trip they guide themselves.
Rent a solid and reliable vehicle
The last thing you want to have in Africa is a vehicle breakdown. The reliability of your vehicle is extremely important. The road conditions need high clearance, very good tires, and above all, a carefully serviced vehicle. After each vehicle return, our partners do a complete check of the car and replace each and every component that is not right. There is also a very tight preventive maintenance program to anticipate any possible problems. You will surely find cheaper options on the market. However, please be aware of all the possible risks.
Avoid driving at night
In Africa, vehicles move around often without lights. Furthermore, opposite to what we do in the Western world, people do walk on streets to move around the villages, they often move their cows and donkeys in the dark to avoid the heat, and you can’t see them while driving. This is the reason why we plan the itineraries to avoid the night driving.
Be cognizant of where you are. Engage with a reliable operator for the planning
GPS technologies are fantastic, and mobile coverage is improving fast. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will work everywhere in Africa. We strongly recommend to familiarize with the area, use the traditional paper maps, and keep close control of where you are, and where you want to go. Doing basic training on the use of a paper map and a compass is a wise idea.
Choose carefully what you buy. Avoid buying hardwood, products made from endangered species and so on. Look for local products, and always check the legality of what you are buying.
Respect people and cultures
When visiting villages, always check if it is appropriate to take pictures. If the answer is yes, please make sure to show people the pictures you take. They love it! Also, as a gesture, after you return from your trip, you may consider sending to the village a printed copy of their pictures. Furthermore, please dress appropriately, and avoid making unnecessary noise.
Clean, safe drinking water is scarce in Africa. Please do your best to use it very carefully, and avoid any waste. The best gift you can give to a group of kids on the road is a bottle of clean water.
Consider the animal danger
Camping in the wild does imply very often a close interaction with the wildlife. An incredible experience, that needs to be treated carefully.
Whatever happens, never (ever) start running away. You immediately become prey. Slowly moves back up, and try to get into the car as gently as possible.
Stay always close to the car
Keep the distance, especially from hippos and elephants. Make sure they have a safe escape line to walk away from you. If they don’t, they may charge. Never drive closer than 65 ft (20 m) to larger mammals, elephants, and buffalo in particular.
Before going out of the car, check the area, and see if there is any move, sound, or smell that indicates the presence of wild animals. If this is the case, please stay in the car, and make sure you are not along the line and close to a footpath, especially from elephants and hippos.
When allowed, you will pick up the firewood for your bush fire. Kick the logs before touching with your hands to make sure snakes, scorpions, spiders and the likes will walk away.
If you are traveling with children, make sure they stay very close to the group and keep constant control over them.
Avoid camping near the water. The chances of interfering with footpaths are too high, and crocodiles are also a relevant danger.
Last but not least, respect the wildlife
We are visitors who happened to visit their “home”, and not vice-versa. If you respect the wildlife, they will respect you.
Learn about wildlife through quiet observation.
Do not disturb wildlife or plants just for a better shot. Stay on track.
Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee. Large groups often cause more damage to the environment and can disturb wildlife so keep your group small.
If you are in a larger group, divide into smaller groups if possible to minimize your impact.
When you are back home
Please share with us and with your social network any of the actions you have taken during your adventure to promote the safe and responsible travel. This will help the entire community to gain insight into such an important topic.