We understand that our activities have a positive, but can also have a negative, impact on the surroundings; positive by creating (local) employment and social development, but we also realize that our tourists might have another impact on the environment. We attach great importance to reducing the pressure that tourism exerts on the natural and social living environment of our travel destinations, and we see it as our corporate responsibility, and are committed to, constantly improve in the field of responsible, and maintaining sustainable travel.
On this page we provide more information about which local projects are supported (also financially) by our customers and us and what we do to compensate for the CO2 emissions of our travelers. In addition, we provide tips on what you can do to make the journey ‘greener’. We have also created and adhere to our internal environmental policy with practical measures and, as far as possible, setup clear agreements with our local agents and suppliers.
To achieve this, we work closely with the trade organization of the Dutch travel industry: the ANVR (Algemene Nederlandse Vereniging van Reisondernemingen). Together with its members, this association is committed to sustainable tourism business (DTO – duurzaam toeristisch ondernemen) under the name ‘Better Holidays’. For example, all ANVR tour operators have agreed to comply with the ANVR-DTO obligation. In concrete terms, this means that Explore Malawi has appointed a DTO coordinator who has successfully completed sustainable tourism training. In addition, a policy statement and action plan have been drawn up and reports are being made on the activities that are being undertaken with regards to sustainability.
Explore Malawi also works closely with Travelife. Travelife encourages sustainable entrepreneurship within the travel sector. The Travelife Sustainability System (TSS) is a worldwide, independent system for assessing companies within the sector on the basis of equal objective standards. The online system has been set up for the evaluation of suppliers and destinations on sustainability aspects, which are based on predefined Travelife environmental and social standards. We also encourage our partners and suppliers to make active use of this system.
Traveling is enriching, but the transport needed to discover new destinations leaves its mark in the form of emissions, including CO2.
With public transport to the airport
We regularly provide an enclosed train ticket when booking a flight, so we encourage the use of public transport to and from the airports in Europe.
Local transfers during our trips are carried out by our local partners. To prevent them from driving around with large half-empty buses, suitable small local buses are chosen that are suitable for the group size.
By compensating the CO2 emissions of the journey, the same amount of CO2 can be prevented elsewhere in the world. With CO2 compensation we do something in return for the climate and for the local population. We advise travelers to compensate CO2 emissions when booking the flight. If you let Explore Malawi organize your flight, you can indicate this in advance.
During a trip through Malawi, diesel-driven 4x4s are usually part of the package. These strong and robust off-road vehicles are necessary for the majority of unpaved African roads but are unfortunately not the cleanest in terms of CO2 emissions.
On the road to CO2-neutral tourism, the Explore Africa Group works closely with the Tourism Supporting Conservation Trust (TOSCO), which has set up its own CO2 compensation program in Namibia: Permaculture organization Eloolo.
This initiative offers tourists the opportunity to travel through Namibia with a ´clear conscience´ by co-investing in planting trees in the country as a means to offset the direct CO2 emissions from vehicles. It is estimated that every litre of diesel emits 2.64 kg of CO2, while a tree can absorb around 100 kg of carbon during its lifetime.
For example, to fully compensate a two-week trip of approximately 3.000 kilometers with an SUV or 4×4 (with an average consumption of 14 liters/100 km), one would have to support the planting of 3 trees. The larger the vehicle, the more trees are needed for a CO2 neutral journey.
Many of the accommodations that we book are small-scale, locally owned and run by families that will also stimulate the growth of the local economy. We also make use so-called eco lodges and tented camps.
Waste prevention focuses on preventing and limiting waste and on reducing the environmental damage caused by waste. We therefore separate the waste in paper & cardboard, toners, batteries, glass and residual waste for recycling at all our offices.
We are working hard to reduce paper usage. Marketing material and travel information is greatly distributed digitally and the number of brochures to be printed is fully adapted to the demand for brochures and all office paper is recycled where possible.
We support the initiative to have disposable plastic items completely removed from the chain. The first focus is on items that are used on a large scale and that both our employees and guests can miss, such as plastic bag, straws, cups and stirrers. We encourage and make available the use of reusable cups and bottles and cloth bags instead of plastic. But you can also help further. The small bottles of shampoo, lotion and shower gel in the hotel rooms result in piles of plastic waste. No matter how refreshing they look, resist the urge to use them and continue to stimulate their production. Fill reusable bottles with your own care products at home.
We actively support the ANVR and ECPAT-NL in combating child prostitution in holiday countries. We invite you to be alert to the abuse of children with us. If you see an incident or suspect something, you can make an online (anonymous) report at: www.dontlookaway.nl
Sustainable tourism is not just for travel companies. As a traveler you are an essential link in this. Therefore, it is very important that our travelers are well informed. We want to play an active role in providing this information. Because you too can contribute to sustainable tourism by enjoying nature responsibly and respecting local customs during your holiday.
Be careful with our nature.
The motto for every traveler should be ´take only memories, leave only footprints …´. Watch what you throw away. Consider the danger of fire in hot and dry areas/countries. Recycle where possible.
Observe and respect the norms and values of the local population with regards to clothing and culture. Of course, it is your holiday, but you are also a guest.
Make sure that you are appropriately dressed in churches and temples.
Try to be respectful to certain rituals, such as funerals, weddings, etc.
Always ask if you may take a photo of the person you want to photograph.
Bargain with humor: bargaining is fun but remember that what may be a small amount for you may be essential for the seller. Our advice: ´Meet in the middle´.
Do not give money, presents and especially not candy to begging children: it may give you a good feeling, but without realizing this may be contributing to a much larger problem behind the scenes. Rather think about supporting a local charity or school. They often need this support.
Buy local products and use locally offered services: eat in local bars or restaurants, for example.
Reduce the use of natural resources.
Take a quick shower instead of a bath; reuse towels; turn off the lights and the air conditioning when you leave. Do not use more water than necessary. Water is scarce in Southern Africa
Travel with a refillable water bottle
Take your own water bottle with you and buy no or as few plastic disposable bottles as possible. Use local filling stations at the hotels and restaurants.
Use rechargeable batteries.
These can be used for a long time and this is eventually cheaper but certainly much better for the environment than the use of disposable batteries.
Souvenirs from nature.
Please do not take pure souvenirs from nature. Wildflowers or plants, stones or shells must stay where they belong. This category also includes hardwood, coral, shells, starfish, ivory, fur, feathers, skins, bone, teeth, eggs, reptiles and turtles. When in doubt: do not take it.
Wild animals are not there to entertain us.
Do not go to shows with animals, do not ride an elephant or do not go for a monkey photo. It seems harmless, but unfortunately many of these activities precede animal suffering.
We do believe it is important to contribute to the development of Africa. Even though the countries in Southern Africa are relatively stable compared to other African countries in terms of economy and politics, it is still a developing country that must deal with high unemployment rates and a large number of children unable to attend school.
With our own Explore Namibia Education Trust Fund we invest in a better future for the younger generations of Africa.