What is a sustainable safari?
Is a safari sustainable? Years ago while at university I heard the phrase in one of my lectures “think locally, act globally “. More recently I’ve heard it switched around, “think globally, act locally”. Or was it the other way round? I clearly wasn’t a great student. In any case, this term has been adopted by many organisations as a framework to formulate strategies and base decisions on. We at Londolozi have taken this to heart, not only with our approach to hospitality but similarly, with our continuous pursuit of becoming a more sustainable safari destination.
In November 2021, the city of Glasgow hosted the Conference of the Parties, COP26. This event, which takes place every year, sees world leaders come together to discuss their national development commitments. These outline international agreements for reducing negative impacts on the earth’s climate systems. There is no doubt that for the benefit of our entire species, as well as our own wellbeing, we are going to need to drastically improve our relationship with the planet that supports us.
Sustainability Starts with One Step
For governments, industries, organisations and individuals, tracking a sustainable path forward is vital. Although the what and the how of the matter is incredibly complex. We will certainly need our governments to coordinate a worldwide effort to mitigate against climate change. However, it will be up to organisations and us as individuals to ensure that we keep the sustainable wheel turning in the right direction. With all of the world’s climate concerns facing us, this can seem a daunting task. However, as the ancient philosopher, Laoz, once said: “ the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”, and here in the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Londolozi’s staff have been taking step after step to ensure that “sustainability” is more than just a marketing buzzword.
If you have read a few of our blogs or spent time with Londolozi staff at the lodge, you may have come across the term “pioneering new systems for living”. This is a multidimensional ethos that on one level revolves around utilizing technology and working with nature. This is how we can maintain a harmonious balance within our community and the wilderness we live in. While on another level it recognises that we are more than just a game lodge, but advocates for the restoration movement that is beginning to gain momentum around the world. Here at Londolozi, there are many aspects to these new systems which form the building blocks of our sustainable safari model. Each of which would probably require their own blog post…
Futuristic African Village
Beyond the luxurious rooms and quiet decks overlooking the Sand River, lies the staff village and the hustle and bustle of lodge life. Here, people of all ages and different cultures go about their daily routines living and working in nature. Side note here, anyone who has ever worked in the bush will know these routines are far from boring! But getting back to the original question. What makes for a sustainable safari? For us, it is not just about what a guest’s eyes see. It’s more about what a guest usually wouldn’t see. It’s about what happens behind the scenes at a lodge.
The Londolozi Village is the place where the hardware of the lodge fuses with the heartware of its people. This is where we believe we generate the Londolozi ‘feeling’. For the guests interested in understanding the inner workings of the lodge, we welcome them on a walk behind the scenes and show them where and how we live. Guests gain an understanding of how we grow our food, manage our water, harness renewable energy, and reduce our waste.
Ecotourism & Developing Sustainable Safari
I recently put together a blog that summarised the Londolozi Ecotourism Story as a pioneering organisation in South Africa’s tourism industry. Over nearly a century Londolozi evolved from a bankrupt cattle farm to a for-profit conservation development model and is now a social enterprise within the economy of wildlife. This progression developed within a growing safari industry. An industry that, despite current circumstances in the world, still has the potential to harness Africa’s natural spaces for the benefit of both people and wildlife. However, it is critically important that this is done in an ethical and sustainable manner. Rejuvenative, restorative, or sustainable. It doesn’t matter which descriptive word is used, what counts is the process and the action on the ground. It’s about building momentum through small continuous steps in the right direction. At Londolozi, we refer to this as flywheels of sustainability.
“A great flywheel builds compounding momentum over a very long time. Decision upon decision, action upon action, turn by turn- each loop adding to the cumulative effect. A flywheel isn’t merely a next action step on a list, It’s an inevitable consequence of the step that came before.” Jim Collins
A Continuous Sustainability Journey
So what makes for a sustainable safari? There may not be a simple answer to this question. However, with a determination to look after the ecosystem that looks after us, there are several processes that can be put in place to continually monitor progress on a sustainable journey and track a sustainable path forward. At Londolozi, we have been inspired by global thought leaders, such as Johan Rockström and Kate Raworth, who are reimagining ways in which we can live more sustainably. We are adapting and implementing these global ways of thinking within our own community. As the Kiswahili word “safari” translates to “journey”, a sustainable safari is exactly that. A sustainable journey on the path to preserving natural spaces for future generations of both people and wildlife.
If you are involved in or know of any incredible sustainability initiatives please let us know. We’d love to hear about them! If you would like to explore our sustainable safari initiatives you can click through to our Impact site below…
Londolozi’s Flywheels of Sustainability