We are all here because we have a passion for horses, and a passion for travel. This love for animals and the planet fuels my desire to contribute to wildlife conservation and a thriving natural world. We all know that the amount and diversity of nature and wildlife on the planet is drastically decreasing. If you’re anything like me, you want to prevent further damage to what beauty we have left. It might seem like a big, daunting thing to help with the conservation of the environment and wild animals, but in this blog post I will explain how where you choose to go on holiday can seriously impact the environment and its animals for the better.
This article contains links, some of which are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, I earn a commission which allows me to fund this blog. I only post links of products and services I have used and enjoyed and that have truly benefited me on my travels!
Flying is an important part of your horse riding adventure or trip abroad, you obviously need to get there in the first place. I am absolutely not one to tell you to stop flying, I sure haven’t. That doesn’t mean we can’t be more conscious about the flying we do to get to our dream destinations. Tourism is the driving force behind most conservation projects, and as long as we travel sustainably, it can add real value to wildlife and nature conservation projects.
Even though I obviously haven’t stopped flying, I have started to combine my trips much more. We also need to keep flying so that we can explore the world, the beauty it contains, and the incredible animal species we so desperately want to conserve. Combining trips instead of going back and forth will save you a lot of flying, which is good for the planet but also good for your wallet! If I am going on a horse riding adventure in Kenya, and also need to visit Zimbabwe at some point that year, I will combine these trips instead of going to Kenya, back to Europe, to Zimbabwe, and back to Europe again. Some of us have the freedom of working remotely and obviously I do too. I understand that it can be difficult to time your trips like this if you have a job where you need to be physically present and only get limited days off. Even if you are not able to combine trips, you can still make a positive impact, so do keep reading!
I often talk about the concept of slow travel, which usually doesn’t involve flying. Let’s take the example of the combined trip to Kenya and Zimbabwe. If I have enough time between these trips, I choose to take alternative modes of transportation. This way, I also get to see much more of the world around me. This way of travel is of course much slower, and can be either by rental car, but also by public transport (good for your wallet too!). You get to explore more destinations when you travel slow, save money, and contribute to a healthier planet. My number one rule about travel in Europe is to always travel by car, and I’ve come to really love my road trips down to France, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, and more! In a continent such as Europe it’s so incredibly easy to travel by car, but also by public transport as it’s extremely well connected. One flight to Europe, and you're connected to the rest of the continent by road!
When you book your flight, have a look at the myclimate organisation. On their website, you can calculate and offset your emissions! I always use this website when I fly and it allows you to donate to a range of projects that are organised by myclimate itself. The amount you are advised to donate towards emission offset projects depends on the length of your flight and it doesn’t cost a lot of money to offset your emissions and contribute some more good to the world.
The very most important part of your adventure is of course the destination! It also impacts how long your flights will be and therefore how much it impacts the environment. I highly encourage you to visit your dream destination, no matter how far away it is. However, to give an example, if I just want to enjoy the beach somewhere warm, I do choose to drive to France and not fly to all the way to Mexico. In this case, the goal of your holiday is not only to be achieved in one specific place in the world. If your dream is to go on a horse riding safari (it definitely should be, also if you want to help with conservation), then of course you will have to fly to Africa, as France simply doesn’t have lions roaming around freely.
Now, the bit it’s all about! Because your holiday can make all the difference in the world.
In one of my recent posts, I told you about a horse riding safari in South Africa and how important the tourism industry is to conservation projects in these reserves. The fees you pay to ride horses on a safari conservancy are able to fund the anti-poaching teams and more conservation efforts in the area, and the same goes for driving safaris. The fact that you visit one of these reserves can make an incredible difference in the funding that supports their important projects.
Another horse riding holiday that contributes a lot to conservation of wildlife and nature is Imire, which I have had the pleasure of visiting in the beginning of this year. Working together with an organisation such as Imire is such an honour and their projects are essential to rhino conservation and biodiversity in Zimbabwe. Participating in one of their programs is the ultimate way of giving back to nature. They have lots of projects in the works of which you can be part of, such as their Attenborough reforestation project. Here, they are turning 20 hectares of semi-utilised plains into a flourishing forest of thousands of indigenous trees, aimed to improve biodiversity on the reserve and creating new habitats, food sources and homes for a wide variety of wildlife. On the reserve of Imire, they have countless other incredible projects going on. They naturally breed white and black rhinos and release them into the national parks of Zimbabwe, take on rescued wildlife, and are rewilding cheetahs that were born in captivity. When you participate in one of Imire’s programs, you get to learn about, experience, and participate in these important projects, and also help fund them.
Other horse riding holidays that fund wildlife conservation are horse safaris in Botswana, and horse safaris in Mozambique.
Also read: Horses involved in Rhino conservation and anti-poaching
In one of my upcoming blog posts I will tell you all about the smaller (but equally significant), easy steps you can take towards a sustainable future of tourism.
Please contact me if you have any questions or if you want to know more about contributing to wildlife and nature conservation.
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