Environmental awareness is growing almost as quickly as the human race’s production of damaging emissions. While we are all becoming conscious of emissions, not everyone is aware of what can be done to reduce the amount of damaging carbon in the atmosphere.
In the tourism industry eco-travel has become mainstream and as global warming and the dwindling of fossil fuels have become crucial issues, travellers have turned more and more to environmentally-conscious options when planning their holidays.
A Step towards a climate solution
Research indicates that pristine thicket areas within South Africa hold more carbon compared to transformed or over-grazed land. Further to this, there are specific plant species that have particularly effective levels of absorption under semi-arid conditions (or sequestration, as it is known scientifically). One of the most effective plants is the Spekboom, Portulacaria Afra, which grows predominantly in the Eastern Cape. Samara Private Game Reserve is rich in spekboom habitat and has launched a project to facilitate the re-generation of previously over-grazed land on the reserve through the planting of Spekboom. In order to maintain heterogeneity of the area, additional plant species will also be identified and planted.
Our first batch of spekboom was planted on 4 May 2010 by a class of secondary school learners from Spandau Secondary School, Graaff-Reinet. For the past year, Samara has been running a community/environmental awareness project through which groups of learners from each of the schools in Graaff-Reinet come out to the reserve to learn about the environment and to gain exposure to the hospitality industry. By helping us to regenerate the land, they are ensuring a section of pristine wilderness will still exist for their own children to visit.
The Kyoto Agreement is trying to encourage governments and businesses to not only reduce their emissions but also to combat the problem by investing in climate-friendly projects. In a similar way, we at Samara would like to invite our guests, friends and colleagues to contribute to our project and help reduce their carbon debts. Each visitor flying from London to South Africa contributes over 2 tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere (www.carbonfootprint.com).
Sequestration rates in restored spekboom habitats can reach between 1 to 4 tonnes per hectare per year, depending on rainfall. Samara has an excess of 10 000 ha identified for initial rehabilitation, so we have much planting to do! By making a contribution of R300,00 per cutting, you can assist the development of our project by funding transport costs, as well as the potting soil and other materials required. We hope to see the project expand and develop to the point where we can further assist the local community by creating more jobs as well as a healthier atmosphere for us all.
Samara Private Game Reserve, Petersburg Road, off the R63 to Pearston, near Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, 6280
Photos courtesy of Etienne Ooshuizen, Marolien Marais, Dook, Joy Bromilow as well as Samara Private Game Reserve Guests and Staff. Copyright Applies.