We’ve all said it at some point: “I need a vacation.” For some people, that phrase might conjure visions of an all-inclusive resort or a luxury cruise. But more and more people are looking for alternatives to the traditional vacation.
Sustainable travel is about more than just admiring the local wildlife. Truly eco-friendly travel options prioritize both environmental protection and the needs of local human populations. Working with local farms and residents, the best green destinations have a commitment to the land and people. But going green on vacation doesn’t mean you have to skimp on comfort or miss out on activities. While some people might think an eco-friendly vacation means sleeping rough and skipping showers, the following picks for some of the best environmentally conscious vacations around the world show that you can relax in comfort while getting close to nature.
This 3 part blog series highlights 3 green destinations!
First Stop: Mwaleshi Camp , Zambia
An African safari is on many people’s list of dream vacations, and it’s easy to see why. The chance to see iconic animals in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Sadly, many tours in sub-Saharan Africa aren’t as environmentally friendly as you might hope. Huge resorts and the constant use of vehicles adds to pollution and disrupts local wildlife.
Mwaleshi Camp in Zambia is not a typical safari experience. Operated by the family-owned Remote Africa Safaris, Mwaleshi Camp provides a truly unique opportunity to get close to nature. A true bush camp, the site is tucked away on a river bend far from any resorts or towns within North Luangwa National Park.
Remote Africa Safaris is dedicated to conservation efforts in the region and nowhere is that more apparent than at Mwaleshi Camp. A truly seasonal camp, Mwaleshi is built every year from local materials using traditional techniques. You won’t find any concrete or screws in the camp’s four open-air chalets. The camp is meant to truly work with nature, using sustainable and biodegradable materials that leave no trace.
You won’t find a fleet of Jeeps at Mwaleshi Camp, either. After a brief ride away from camp, all safaris are on foot. Knowledgable local guides help you safely follow existing game trails to see animals truly in their element. Lions, elephants, hippos, kudu, and buffalo are all found nearby, and black rhinos have recently been reintroduced to the park. Walking safaris also help you appreciate the smaller animals you wouldn’t spot from a vehicle, from tiny shrews to the region’s 400 bird species. Experienced trackers will show you how to spot animal prints, the plants they eat and, without the rumbling of an engine, the sounds they make.
A stay at Mwaleshi is all about relaxing in a truly natural habitat. While hot water and limited charging stations are available, the camp has no WiFi or cell phone signal. Food, much of which comes from gardens at a sister camp, is cooked over an open fire. The truly adventurous can even choose to leave camp for a night and sleep under the stars. But one of the most popular activities at Mwaleshi is simply relaxing in one of the camp’s hammocks, enjoying the sounds of nature.
A trip to Mwaleshi is about much more than your individual experience, however. Remote Africa Safaris provides financial and material support to local conservation efforts, including anti-poaching initiatives. In addition, the company’s own Tafika Fund provides educational and healthcare support to local communities. Through camp revenue and private donations, the fund supports local schools and provides scholarships, and supports a health clinic that includes maternity care. It also runs a unique Football for Wildlife program, encouraging local villages to come together with both men’s and ladies’ leagues.
“Mwaleshi Camp, located in the vast wilderness of North Luangwa National Park, is a 40 minute flight from Mfuwe Airport. Hidden within a scenic bend of the Mwaleshi River 10km upstream of the confluence with the Luangwa River, the camp is a truly special and remarkable place.” (https://www.remoteafrica.com/camp/mwaleshi-camp/)
If you are looking for a little more luxury, check back next week to learn about a lush and sustainable “off-the-grid paradise”!