Before glamping was a thing, safari camps in remote areas of Africa figured out how to use canvas and lightweight setups that had minimal impact on the land and were inherently more sustainable and connected to the land. And, under geographical constraint and limited resources, their next wave of experimentation and innovation might hold the keys to technology and innovation that will have widespread adoption later on. From constraints comes creativity, and some safari brands are demonstrating it in a few new areas. And, to be sure, the industry will see major step changes when it comes to new ideas as we emerge from the pandemic. One example can be seen with lodge Cheetah Plains, a reserve in Sabi Sand, South Africa, has rolled out a fleet of completely electric Land Rovers. A few safari vets I spoke to said the electric difference over diesel trucks is noticeable, particularly when in the bush. Animals aren’t disrupted and guests can hear the guide as you’re driving and not scare off the game you’re there to see. These have limited availability at present but will be rolling out on a wider scale in Africa soon. At Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, the elimination of plastic in innovative ways is a priority: first, the table stakes: the lodge uses a water filtration system and does not serve any plastic bottled water to guests or staff, but more interestingly, no cling wrap or plastic bags are used in the kitchen, only environmentally-friendly bee wax wraps are used as a natural alternative to keep food fresh. The property also uses a rain water harvesting system, collected from the roofs in the staff village and stored for use by guests and employees.
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