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Socially responsible safari tours

Natalie Thomas, reporter
May 30, 2012 — Ever wanted to go on a safari in Africa? One company in southern Ontario allows you to do so in an eco-friendly way.

Horseback safaris mean less pollution
Horseback safaris mean less pollution

Imagine going to Africa on a safari, and not only reducing your impact on the environment there, 
but even making a positive impact on it. 

Eco-tourism is becoming very popular all across the globe. 

"People realize they want to travel but as the world population continues to grow and people continue to want to travel more there’s a huge impact," says Ryan Snider of Socially Responsible Safaris. "And so this idea of mass tourism, just going on a massive cruise ship or massive hotel resorts in the Caribbean. I think the younger generation are trying to get away from that. Trying to get off the beaten path, and trying to travel with a purpose that actually has a positive benefit to the local hosts."

Five years ago, Dr. Ryan Snider started Socially Responsible Safaris, based out of Kitchener, Ontario.  One thing they do on these safaris is plant trees while in Africa. Ryan says it's their way of reducing their carbon footprint from the flight over. 

Temperatures fluctuate throughout the day in Africa
Temperatures fluctuate throughout the day in Africa

"So we’ll purchase seedlings locally, from local tree nurseries.
We’ll purchase sometimes three or four hundred at a time," he explains. "We’ll go to a local school. Each child will be given one tree seedling and the children with the safari clients will go out together into the bush and then plant these trees."

Ryan even offers horseback safaris so you can get close to giraffes and wildebeest without emitting any pollutants. 

Still, if you are planning a trip to Africa, Ryan warns that there's a huge temperature change from the morning to afternoon. 

"So even though you're right on the equator it can get pretty cool. And so early in the mornings you can often see your breath, it's that cool. And so it's important to dress really warm," Snider advises. "But then by about 12 o'clock once the sun comes up, and again, you're on the equator, you have that equator sun, then it's extremely hot."

So dressing in layers is a must. 

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