How to travel Eco-responsibly in Tanzania
If you live in Europe, the only quick option is to come by plane. But even so, you can be mindful of your ecological footprint while travelling.If possible, prefer non-stop flights; takeoff and landing is very fuel intensive and produces a lot of greenhouse gas emissions.Try to choose airlines that take steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. While in Tanzania, use public or shared transport whenever possible.
In Zanzibar, the most famous public transport is the “daladala”. Daladalas are open-sided small trucks that connect even the remotest parts of the archipelago. It’s quite an experience to go somewhere by daladala; they are always full to bursting with friendly locals, and the fare is cheap.
Please choose accommodation that is committed to sustainable tourism, values the local people, and respects nature and ecological standards.
Eco-responsible accommodation should meet certain environmental criteria such as:
- Ecological water and resources management
- Mindful energy consumption, like low-energy lighting
- Purchasing local and/or organic products
- Integrate the accommodation without destroying the environment around.
- Use of organic cleaning and hygiene products
- Waste management
At the social level, the criteria are:
- Respect local cultures and traditions
- Participate in local development projects
- Create jobs
- Have respectful working conditions for the employees
- Work in collaboration with the local community
A good example of sustainable accommodation in Zanzibar:
Hodi Hodi Beach House Zanzibar - Blue Oyster - Mama Root
A good example of sustainable accommodations in mainland Tanzania:
Hodi Hodi Bush Camp - Untengule lodge - Africa Amini Life
To distinguish sustainable accommodation, labels have been created, for example, Green Key (photo), European Ecolabel, Ecigite and Gite Panda, Green globe, Travelife, Responsible Tourism in Tanzania, etc. You will find such accommodation on eco- platforms like Vaovert, Ethik Hotel, Green Go, etc.
Take advantage of soft mobility activities such as walking and biking. You’ll get a much better feeling for the land and its people than just from a quick look out of a car window. Choose activities that are environmentally friendly and provide income for local people.
Think twice about dolphin tours during the high season; chances are you’ll find yourself out there with 10 or more boats, which is disturbing those beautiful animals in their natural environment. Discourage your captain from chasing after the dolphins with a roaring engine. They are very sensitive towards noise, but usually don’t mind if you approach them slowly and as quietly as possible.
Nungwi village bicycle tour by AMO Zanzibar Tours & Safari.
Eating & Drinking:
Try to focus on local and organic foods. Prefer local restaurants to tourist haunts. This will also allow you to discover more of Tanzania’s and Zanzibar’s authentic culture; and more often than not, you will eat better for less money.
Buy drinks in glass bottles rather than in plastic bottles or cans. There is a very well-functioning bottle deposit system in Tanzania.
Environment and Natural Resources:
Tanzania does not have the infrastructure to deal adequately with problematic waste such as batteries, medicines, etc., so please don’t throw them away. It is recommended you take your empty batteries back home to dispose of them appropriately.
Please also note that plastic bags are banned in Tanzania (and for good reasons). Tap water in Tanzania is not safe to drink. Consider bringing a refillable water bottle, this will allow you to buy large water containers and thus reduce plastic waste. Water is a scarce and valuable resource; please use it sparingly! Use air conditioning only when you really need it, and turn it off when you leave your room.
Please bring environmentally friendly toiletries. Remember that micro-plastic is damaging to the groundwater, soil and ocean. When you are on a nature walk, stay on the marked trails: first for your safety and second to avoid damaging the biodiversity around you. Do not pick wildflowers and don’t collect fossils, shells, coral etc.
As for souvenirs, give preference to local artisans and avoid souvenirs made from poaching, such as ivory.