Reforestation for clean travel and climate resilient livelihoods

Travelling involves a variety of activities that contribute to the world’s carbon emissions and climate change, including plane flights, touring and lodging. To offset these emissions and promote clean travel, we plant trees in communal gardens. Here, the trees do not only store carbon but also contribute to healthy soil for crops, helping to address food security and less dependency on livestock. This way, rural communities are better adapted to further climate change and droughts, in an already arid environment.

Our Clean Travel Initiative

Promoting responsible tourism includes that of clean travel, by motivating Namibian tourism businesses to mitigate their impact on climate change. With mitigation we refer to the actual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to prevent further climate change. In partnership with the Eloolo Permaculture Initiative, trees are planted in communal areas, where they are combined with crop cultivation into agroforestry systems.

This way, not only emitted carbon dioxide from tourism is counterbalanced, but we also help reduce the reliance of rural communities on livestock which is susceptible to drought conditions, and contribute to more climate resilient livelihoods, which you will read more about below. Only indigenous trees are planted, to ensure the maintenance and restoration of biological diversity and reverse environmental degradation. They are part of a permaculture system to ensure their survival.

How it works

The number of trees to be planted is determined by the amount of carbon our participating members need to offset.

These emissions are determined with a carbon calculator which can be calibrated to reflect the vehicle type and number of kilometres travelled. 

Costs are calculated as follows:

The cost of 1 tree, including its transport and planting is N$ 300. 
One tree can offset approximately 100 kg of carbon.
1 litre of diesel equals 2640 g CO2 (of which 720 g carbon and 1920 g oxygen).

An example calculation for a large/long 4×4 for a 3000 km trip: 

18 litre Diesel per 100 km / 3000 km trip = 540 litre diesel x 720g carbon = 388.8 kg of carbon. 
That means there are (3.88 =) 4 trees needed to offset the emissions of this tour.


For an average 3 000 km trip through Namibia it means that:

An SUV (14 L / 100 km) equals 3 trees à N$ 900
A regular 4x4 (18 L diesel / 100 km) equals 4 trees à N$ 1200
A Quantum minibus (18 L / 100km) equals 4 trees à N$ 1200
A 40 seaters bus (30 L / 100km) equals 7 trees à N$ 2100

Agroforestry as a solution to climate resilience

Planting trees from our clean travel initiative, the roots of the trees reach deep into the ground where they store carbon and cycle nutrients for other organisms, that in turn further nourish the soil. Besides, healthy soils are able to store far more carbon than degraded soils, and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, because they already contain all the nutrients naturally. Above the ground, the trees help protect crops against the elements. Only indigenous trees are planted, amongst which are also fruit bearing trees that create additional benefits for communities in return for taking care of the trees, because of the fruits and medicinal properties the trees supply. During planting activities, tree care tips and techniques are shared with the community to ensure tree growth and survival. 

However, destruction of communal gardens by elephants has become a common issue in the northwest of Namibia. We help communities to cultivate chilies in order to use as natural, but also cheap and effective repellent, as well as use it as a cash crop. Read more about this project here

Offset your carbon emissions now

You can join our Clean Travel initiative in addition to being a TOSCO member or as a non-member or traveller. When you are a tour operator and organise tours through Namibia multiple times a year, contact us to arrange your annual Clean Travel payments.

I want to offset the emissions of my Namibia trip (for travellers)