While travel is on hold, natural ecosystems and wildlife populations have flourished, finds Katie McGonagle.
1. Offset your travel with trees
Carbon offsetting, where you balance out the environmental effects of your journey, has come in for criticism, but new firm Trees4Travel is hoping to turn that around and help agents and operators integrate it into their businesses. Co founder Elkie Nicholas says: “We started building our tech at the beginning of the pandemic and have been able to show travel businesses the benefits of reforestation and how our technology can make this an easy add-on.” The husband-and-wife-run company is replanting an area of British Columbia destroyed by wildfires in 2017 with Douglas firs, lodgepole and ponderosa pines and spruces.
2. Go wild in the Aussie outback
Arkaba Conservancy is a former sheep station in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges now transformed into a five-room homestead in the midst of 94 square miles of Aussie outback. It has been settled since the 1850s, but the current owners have set about reversing the damage of decades of farming by reintroducing goannas, birds and western quolls, along with plant species such as Sturt’s desert rose. Guests can join Arkaba’s field guides to learn more or take a two-hour walk around the property led by local Adnyamathanha (Aboriginal) guide Pauline McKenzie. Rooms start at £600 per person per night.
“The current owners have set about reversing the damage of decades of farming by reintroducing goannas, birds and western quolls.”
3. Replant in Peru
Planting one tree might not make much of a difference, but planting more than a million certainly does, and that’s what Peruvian DMC Amazonas Explorer has done, in partnership with a local NGO. Having seen the effects of deforestation in the Lares Valley, the company has been replanting native polylepis forests – with a further 385,000 trees planted last year – to provide safe water and employment. It costs 75p per tree, and 1% of Amazonas Explorer’s turnover is given to sustainable projects.
“Having seen the effects of deforestation in the Lares Valley, the company has been replanting native polylepis forests.”
4. Fish on the shores of Langkawi
The Datai Langkawi, a luxury island resort off Malaysia’s west coast, is surrounded by rainforest graced by lemurs, monkeys and birds. But in its waters, years of coastal pollution and poor fishing practices had led to a sharp decline in fish stock. Enter resident naturalist Irshad Mobarak, who has led Fish for the Future, an effort to rehabilitate coral reefs in Datai Bay, create artificial reefs and work with the community on sustainable fishing practices. Since 2019, 300 coral ‘nubbins’ have been transplanted onto the reef, while schools of snappers, groupers and barracuda have been seen swimming around its five artificial reefs
“300 coral ‘nubbins’ have been transplanted onto the reef, while schools of snappers, groupers and barracuda have been seen swimming around.”
5. Embrace eco in the Eastern Cape
“Our mission is to regenerate the Great Karoo region of South Africa through rewilding and responsible tourism,” says Isabelle Tompkins, business development manager at Samara Private Game Reserve. “Our rewilding efforts focus on rehabilitating the landscape and reintroducing wildlife that once thrived here. Species we have reintroduced include lion in 2019, elephant in 2017, black rhino in 2013 and cheetah in 2003.” The team has spent lockdown researching the area’s leopard population to learn what conditions are needed for them to return to the conservancy of their own accord. Nightly rates start at £303, including meals and activities.
“The team has spent lockdown researching the area’s leopard population to learn what conditions are needed for them to return to the conservancy.”
Find out more about sustainability at The Datai Langkawi on a Travel
Weekly webinar, in association with Malaysia Airlines, at travelweekly.co.uk/restart-recovery/malaysia-airlines