Sustainable and Ethical Souvenir Ideas to Remember Your Safari Adventures November 30, 2019

Kylee Ryers, guest writer, offers some helpful insights on how to choose souvenirs that have a positive impact on the environment and communities around Isibindi Africa Lodges. Feature image above by Teagan Cunniffe and published in Getaway Magazine.

Famed literary author, Ernest Hemingway, once said that he had never known a morning in Africa where he did not wake up happy. Anyone wishing to experience the wonder and raw majesty of unbridled nature can definitely do so by planning a safari trip. If you intend to go on one, it wouldn’t be surprising if you want to bring home a souvenir or two that you can always remember your trip by. However, you don’t want to choose something that is actually damaging to the environment in some way, especially if you are making ecotourism a priority on your trip. Instead, what sort of sustainable and ethical souvenirs can you choose to best remember your safari adventure? 

No Animal Products

Over 281 species of animals from South Africa are endangered, according to The International Union for Conservation of Nature. Many of them are put on endangered lists because of unethical human practices like poaching and hunting. So your safari souvenir must not support the animal products that are a direct consequence of hunting or poaching. It is best to avoid animal products like bird feathers, pelts, horns, and other such effects. 

Locally-Sourced Goods

South Africa is a good spot to get local crafts and jewelry. They are particularly well-known for upcycling materials like plastic, metals, and fabric that get turned into pieces of craftsmanship. Income from these crafts is used by tribes and communities to support themselves. If you prefer to bring home something shiny—like a diamond—it is critical that you ensure they are conflict-free. One way to make sure of this is to ask for a certificate and to inquire strongly about the source of the diamonds. You will know if your diamonds are ethical if there is adequate paperwork available at the shop from which you’re purchasing the stones, as well as a shopkeeper who can provide clear answers to your questions.

Supporting Conservation Efforts

Safaris are made special by the combination of the land and the animals that inhabit it. A great way to give you something to remember and simultaneously give back is to support wildlife conservation efforts. Organisations like the Isibindi Africa Foundation, Rhino Walking Safaris, The International Rhino Fund, The International Crane Foundation, and many others help keep endangered animals alive. Even a small donation on your end will give you a certificate that you can bring home with you. You can look back fondly on your trip knowing that you’ve helped in whatever way you can to ensure future generations get to enjoy the sights you’ve experienced.

Going on a safari is often touted as a once-in-a-lifetime experience so it is perfectly understandable to want something as a remembrance. It must be remembered, however, that safaris are only made possible through the persistence of nature’s bounty. So you must play your part in ensuring that the souvenirs that you choose do not harm or spoil the very things that make a safari special.

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