South Africa is currently experiencing one of the worst water shortages in over two decades. This has been ongoing since 2015 and the much needed relief of rain is not being forecast. Eight of our nine provinces have officially been declared to be in states of disaster.
The drought is causing extensive devastation which is being felt by all. Across the nation on a massive scale we are experiencing damage to our crops and livestock, causing a knock on effect to the economy and of course, our cherished wildlife.
Everybody knows that Africa is hot, hot, hot! So it is easy to understand that staying hydrated in the bush is a very real necessity. In order to help save the planet as well as every precious drop of water, here are some easy tips to follow while enjoying your safari:
1. Use refillable water bottles, preferably made of glass or aluminium. The plastic water bottles (in which most commercially produced mineral waters are sold) take centuries to decompose. At Outlook Safaris, we provide you with your own complimentary refillable water bottles. We have also made sure that you always have access to clean drinking water by providing a refilling station in all of our camps, so that guests can refill their water bottle at any time.
2. When your water has become hot after a day of travelling and game drives, we all know that it is unpleasant to drink. Rather than throwing the warm but still precious water away or down a drain, we suggest you top up the bottle, and cool the water in the camp or inside the lodge’s refrigerator. When you feel that you absolutely have to throw out the water, then try to water a plant or top up a vessel where native birds can come to quench their thirst, instead of wasting the water down the drain.
3. After a long day in the bush nothing can make you feel better than being clean of all the dust and dirt that you’ve accumulated. Instead of taking that long bath in a full tub (which takes an average of 265 litres to fill up) why not rather enjoy a refreshing shower, which uses about 65 litres? That is a saving of 200 litres of water! Try and keep the time that you spend in the shower short. If you are travelling with your partner, spice up the romance by sharing the shower. As the saying goes, “Save Water. Shower with a friend!” To save even more, remember to make sure that while lathering with soap, shampoo or conditioner, to close off the water until you need to turn them on again to rinse. The same applies when at the bathroom sink when brushing your teeth or shaving.
4. Make sure that you close any taps you may use properly, check before you leave that there is no dripping. A dripping tap can waste as much as one litre of water per hour! If you see dripping taps in camps or lodges where you stay while on safari, please inform management as soon as possible – every drop counts.
5. When doing your own laundry while on safari, take note that lightweight, quick-dry, dark-coloured clothing can be washed in your bathroom basin rather than using a water-hungry washing machine. Try to re-wear certain items of clothing (like pants and shirts) which will also help lessen the overall bulk and weight of your luggage.
Following these easy tips will not only help South Africa during this devastating drought, but will make you a wonderful example to others as well as a leader about the way of how to be a conscientious and responsible tourist.