Abstract:

Africa’s Finest – The most responsible, sustainable safari destinations in Africa

Karen L Zunckel ,  Kevan Zunckel

Zunckel Ecological and Environmental Services, Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal

The concept of sustainability is beginning to take root in increasing measure in many sectors of society, and within the tourism industry it is becoming a prerequisite when informed and responsible travellers select their destinations of choice. Many operators within the industry have responded to this with a genuine effort to become sustainable, with some being almost completely self-reliant. However, others have labelled themselves “eco-tourism” destinations, purely on the basis of their locality either within or adjacent to a protected area. The Green Safari Africa (GSA) project is the brainchild of David Bristow (well-known travel writer) and Colin Bell (founder of Wilderness Safaris) and was conceived as a means to identify those tourism operations in Africa that are truly sustainable and to provide a platform from which these can be documented in a lavish coffee-table book titled “Africa’s Finest – The Most Responsible, Sustainable Safari Destinations in Africa”. Through this it is hoped that others would be inspired to follow suit, while those who have met the criteria receive the necessary accolades and encouragement to continue with their good work. This is an entirelyindependent and privately-funded project. Independence is a pivotal part of the project, in establishing a benchmark for the entire industry. We formed part of the technical team for the project, compiling specific GSA criteria, largely based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (2009) and the IUCN Best Practice Guidelines on Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (2002). Approximately 170 potential candidate destinations were identified and assessed on site, following the compilation of a self-assessment, resulting in 55 main entrants in 14 countries and 27 “other green places to visit” finalists, with a few yet to be finalised. Our main findings are shared (the good, the bad & the ugly), highlighting particular relevance to EKZNW.

Presentation Topic

Africa’s Finest – The most responsible, sustainable safari destinations in Africa

 

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Zunckel Ecological and Environmental Services, Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal

 

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