The Inspirational Journey of Flipflopi

April 6, 2019 - 4 minutes read

The Elewana Collection is proud to announce that on the 7th of February 2019 — after 14 days at sea and 310 miles on the water — the Clean Seas-Flipflopi Expedition arrived at the island of Zanzibar.

The 30-foot, rainbow-colored dhow — made entirely from re-used plastic and flip flops, collected from Kenyan towns and beaches — is an inspiring story of innovation aimed at one of the biggest challenges facing our world today: plastic pollution.

Flipflopi’s team of sailors – led by Captain Ali Skanda – arrived on the island just in time for the Sauti za Busara (“African Sounds of Wisdom” festival), a celebration of East African culture, creativity and values.

“We are delighted to welcome U.N. Environment’s Clean Seas-Flipflopi Expedition to Zanzibar. The voyage itself, and innovative spirit behind it, are symbolic of what we can do to make a difference,” said Ali Iddi, second Vice-President of Zanzibar as he welcomed the ship to the Tanzanian island.

“Zanzibar is committed to the fight against plastic pollution and will continue to work closely with all its citizens to find solutions to our ever-evolving environmental challenges.”

The Flipflopi Expedition left the Kenyan island of Lamu on 23rd January. Along the way, the crew docked at six Kenyan and Tanzanian coastal towns, where they were welcomed by local communities, schools and government officials. The momentum of the voyage has unleashed historical commitments in every port of call, including the official closing of the Kibarani dumpsite in Mombasa and the pledge of 29 establishments (including 22 hotels) to minimize their plastic waste.

Watch the video:

After visiting Zanzibar, Flipflopi began a new voyage — makings its way overland to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi — where heads of state, government ministers, environmental activists, innovators, NGOs and CEO’s of multinational companies gathered for the Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly – the world’s highest-level environmental forum (11-15 March).

In 2021, the boat will depart Lamu on its next big expedition, sailing along the coasts of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and onwards into South Africa, taking between three and four months to reach Cape Town.

The Elewana Collection has made considerable efforts to reduce its carbon footprint in the world around us. Over the last couple of years, the East Africa hotel and safari company has made great strides in reducing single use plastic, starting with its #banthebottle initiative, eliminating our use of plastic water bottles.

At the beginning of 2018, Elewana was the first safari company in East Africa to eliminate the use of plastic straws across all our properties. Instead, the hotels and camps offer biodegradable paper straws and encourage guests to go to #warwiththestraw.

Elewana’s beach properties — AfroChic Diani and Kilindi Zanzibar — continuously work with the local communities to clean the beaches and educate the school children in our “Wildlife Warrior” programs to be conscious of the environment.

5 Facts About Plastic:

  • 12.2 Million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year
  • A single plastic bag can take 500 years or more to degrade
  • Only 14% of all plastic produced is recycled
  • By 2020, the ratio of plastic to fish by weight will be 1:1
  • Plastic can’t bio-degrade; it just breaks up into smaller pieces


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