How to Plastic-free your Safari. 6 simple & practical insights

How can you plastic-free your safari? Safaris are loved for the purity of nature and doing it with no plastic is one of the best ways to ensure you leave footprints and nothing more in natural areas.

Climate change is one of the biggest global challenges that face us as humans and the quickly diminishing ecosystems of birds, animals, plants, sea life and more. Among the major ways of tackling this challenge is reducing the amount of plastic waste we put into the environment.

Plastic free your safari

Africa and the world, in general, have taken a big leap in the ‘GO GREEN’ initiative to save the world by being more plastic-free. This minimizes the creation of waste and air pollution from burning used plastic bags. This initiative has been embraced by African countries.

The best example is Rwanda which banned plastic in 2008. Kigali has since been praised as one of the cleanest cities in the world.

With reduced plastic waste, the environment easily recovers and ecosystems get restored. The only way to plastic-free your safari is through simple everyday measures. There are many ways you can reduce plastic waste in your home or workplace, but our focus is on how you can reduce or even eliminate plastic waste while you are on a safari with us in Uganda or Rwanda.

Here is how you can have a plastic-free safari.

How To Plastic-free Your Safari

1. Re-usable water bottles

A personal reusable bottle will come in handy when going on a long trip. You can always get boiled water from the hotel or lodging area you are staying at.

The problem with packages water is the waste created after the water is used – and the plastic water bottles now have to become waste. On a safari, when such plastic ends up in the park, it spoils the environment and all the animals and plants that live in it. Plastic bottle caps can even choke some animals that think of them as edible.

In a situation where you are unable to get clean boiled water from the lodge, buying a bigger bottle of packaged water will still be a more conscious decision. You can refill several times from the bigger bottle – and it is easier to keep track of it for proper disposal.

2. Mindful Packing

When going on a trip, there are smaller packages that you want to carry separately like toiletries and underclothing. I would advise you to use small toiletry bags or non-plastic bags to pack such material rather than wrapping them in plastic bags.

For some new items which are still wrapped in plastic, the plastic can be removed and properly disposed of in a safe way. The goal is to carry as little plastic as possible – that way, you don’t end up moving it from country to country.

3. Packed lunches

For some activities which are likely to take long hours, you might be provided with packed lunch or snacks to eat while on the game drive, hike or climb. While this isn’t the norm, it could happen on your own safari.

As with any packed lunches, the lids usually get misplaced and lost at times. With a packed lunch, you have to be careful not to leave anything behind as that would contaminate a natural ecosystem.

professional chef at chobe lodge

Except on some few situations, our safaris are always timed such that your meal times are in a restaurant along the way or at your lodge.

Activities like gorilla tracking and hiking are pretty tiresome and carrying a simple snack is always a good idea. In such cases, you have to exercise the same caution to not leave anything behind. Not the actual snack and definitely not the plastic it was carried in.

4. Fabric bags

Across the African continent, there are countless places where you can get fabric bags (kitenge) at a very cheap price. These can be used to carry any gifts, personal material and souvenirs.

In the event that fabric bags are not available to you, endeavor to use paper bags which you can use several more times and are not bad for the environment.

5. Biodegradable materials

There is a whole range of biodegradable materials for everyday use. Some are extremely relevant for your Uganda Safari.

Items such as toothbrushes, cotton buds, and razors among others. These items are used for shorter periods of time and discarded – and end up in the natural environment.

For example, it is estimated that more than 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are used each year. And 80% of those are poorly disposed of and end up in water bodies.

Being mindful of such daily items does reduce the amount of plastic.

Another great way of ensuring to plastic-free your safari, is buying local souvenirs that are made from local biodegradable material that have no carbon footprint, and can be reused for long. Baskets and bags are a great example of these – and they make perfect gifts for others too.

local souvenirs

6. Proper plastic disposal

Finally, there is the proper disposal of plastics. In modern life, it is very hard to live without plastic and this is why it is very important that we dispose of plastic in the best possible ways.

When plastic is properly discarded, it can easily be properly destroyed or recycled for further use. If you happen to be at the lodge, ask the staff to show you or help you dispose of plastic waste in the proper way. While on the road with our Safari guide, keep the waste in the car and inform him/her such that it is taken care of at the next stop.


Deciding to plastic-free your safari means doing something extra – which is hard, but very rewarding. These six points might seem pretty easy for the avid conservation enthusiast, but very important all the same.

Our hope is that your sustainability doesn’t just stop after visiting Uganda for safari. We hope it continues and plays an important role in your everyday life because we believe that it is up to us as humans to take the small everyday steps towards saving the world.

In regard to offsetting your carbon footprint on safari, that is usually taken care of at a baseline level. Your money goes directly towards conservation projects of research, monitoring and preservation. Following some of these steps, you will be taking a very important extra step for nature.

As a company, Exclusive African Safaris is committed to supporting all efforts to protect the environment, and we partner with many active conservation organizations, and keep realigning our safari packages to best suit natures needs.

Take a look at our partners to learn about our active efforts. We are certified Gorilla Friendly and Climate Friendly Travel partners, along with working closely with Wildlife and conservation groups.

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