One of the core values and main objectives of Selous Safari Company is to ensure the lodges are run with minimal impact on the environment. Ever since the company was created by Charles Dobie in 1988 it has been a front-runner in eco-friendly tourism in Tanzania.
Long before it was mainstream practice, we stopped using plastic bags, started using solar power, set out to recycle all our taka taka (Swahili word for garbage) and ceased using plastic bottles. We also stopped using plastic straws… and this got us thinking, what can we use as an alternative to drink all these delicious cocktails on the beach? After some research we found the perfect solution: Bamboo straws!
Bamboo straws are eco-friendly, reusable, attractive and they adhere perfectly with the company’s environmental vision. We showed a picture of the straw we had in mind to our carpenter Michael who – always up for a challenge - was very enthusiastic to give it a go!
After researching, examining and deliberating how to make the optimum ‘earth-friendly’ straw, we got to work. Our beach lodge, Ras Kutani, on the Swahili Coast has plenty of Bamboo, so this is where we got started. We had a plentiful source of raw material, and, sure enough, after several tries we managed to make our own Bamboo straws. (And, yes, the drinks taste great through them!)
We will share our Method so you can also do the same at home and we can reduce our footprint together!
The first step is to find Bamboo sticks which are thick enough, it can be from a living plant or from a plant which is already dead.
Once you have identified a branch that has the right thickness it is time to cut the Bamboo. Here at Ras Kutani we have different kinds of cocktail glasses so we cut the Bamboo in several sizes. At home you can measure the length of your glasses and cut the Bamboo in relation to that.
After cutting the Bamboo we have to make the hole at the centre of the branch bigger. Usually there is already a small hole so this makes it easy to either make it bigger with a round file or with the drill.
When the hole has been made we sand the straw on both ends to make sure there are no splinters that can hurt you when drinking. If you want, you can also sand the whole straw to give it a nicer, elegant look!
After that straw is almost ready to use, you just have to put the straw in boiling water for 10 minutes to disinfect it and then let it dry.
Now the only thing you’re missing is a nice fresh cocktail to test your homemade eco-friendly Bamboo straw... Cheers!