03 July 2014 by Lynnette Johns

Tips to cut your travelling carbon footprint

Do your bit to save the planet by being mindful of your carbon footprint when you travel. Here are some tips on how to reduce your footprint ...

Your carbon offsets are used to fund renewable energy projects. Image courtesy of Wendy Schotsmans

We can all do our bit to help the fight against climate change by using less fossil fuels and making wise choices. When you are travelling, there are a few ways you can minimise your carbon footprint.


South African Airways and Lufthansa are two of a number of airlines that offer carbon offsets. Carbon offsetting is a way to reduce your carbon footprint by supporting a carbon-reduction effort elsewhere. The money is invested in projects like renewable energy wind farms and hydro-farms in developing nations.

Use the International Civic Aviation Organisation’s carbon emissions calculator to determine how large your footprint is.

Remember: direct flights emit less carbon than connecting flights.

When travelling, consider airlines that offer carbon offsets. Image courtesy of <a href= When travelling, consider airlines that offer carbon offsets. Image courtesy of Augusto.photo


Choose a place that has strong environmental practices. Many hotels, B&Bs and lodges are decreasing their carbon footprint by using grey water, solar energy, and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) for cooking.

Hotel Verde, close to the Cape Town International Airport, describes itself one of the greenest hotels in Africa due to innovative design and environmentally friendly operational practices. It has won awards for its efforts.

The Oyster Box in Umhlanga uses heat generated by its air-conditioning system to warm its swimming pools. The hotel also channels filtered grey water into holding tanks, and uses it to flush toilets.

Mashovhela Bush Lodge, in the Soutpansberg in Limpopo, has a strong environmental focus, and through clever use of solar and gas it is not overly dependent on the power grid.


  • Turn off the lights when leaving your room
  • Take short showers
  • There’s nothing wrong with reusing the towels in your bathroom


You’ve travelled thousands of kilometres to visit South Africa for a reason, be it to hike, party, enjoy the wildlife or meet the people. 

Why not visit the Backsberg wine estate in Franschhoek, in the Western Cape? It is one of only three wine estates in the world to offer carbon-neutral wine


  • Do road trips instead of taking short air flights
  • Walk as much as you can
  • Eat at restaurants that follow sustainable practices and/or use LPG


Hire a hybrid car or a small, fuel-efficient hatchback.


  • Catch a bus where possible
  • Walk as much as you can
  • Ask the hotel concierge where you can hire a bicycle


South Africans love recycling would-be trash into funky, functional items.


  • Billboard vinyl is cut and sewn into bags (handbags, backpacks, etc)
  • Bottles and bottle tops can become lamps
  • Cooldrink tins are turned into roaring lions
  • Look for out for animals and trinkets made from alien, invasive wood
Why not try a bicycle tour to help reduce your carbon footprint? Why not try a bicycle tour to help reduce your carbon footprint?

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