From an environmental standpoint this itinerary has been designed to highlight and promote the use of forests in Malawi. As a densely populated country with firewood and agricultural needs the traditional forest land of the country has been removed to excess leading to problems of land degradation. We hope to promote the forest as a resource for tourism which can be sustainably managed by local land owners. Ntchisi Forest Lodge feeds tourism revenue back into the local community through education projects stressing the importance of the forest and directly training local farmers as forest guides. They also house academic researchers from around the world who work from the lodge to better understand the unique rainforest ecosystem. You may be able to meet them during your stay and discuss their ongoing work.
For all of our tours we provide customers with an itinerary specific responsible travel guide aprox 4 weeks before they depart. This includes a generic travellers code of conduct which emphasises basic responsible travel advice – e.g. reduction of waste and consumption of natural resources, purchase local produce where possible etc.
The tour is specifically designed to promote locally owned lodges rather than chain hotels and all of your hosts, guides and driver will be local Malawians who will benefit directly from your stay in Malawi. Accommodation is all run by small companies, who train & employ local people into the tourist industry not only as cleaners, cooks & waiters, but also as lodge managers and wildlife & mountain guides. All hotels buy all their fresh produce from local suppliers or operate organic kitchen gardens. A strong effort is being made to be as environmentally sensitive as possible by recycling of many waste products, the use of solar energy and sometimes even wind.
An important aspect of a visit to Malawi is getting to know the local culture and people. This itinerary encourages interaction between guests and locals through organised trips and optional activities. These are not artificial experiences but actual Malawi villagers who give their time to perform the traditional ceremonial dances of the region. You will be offered the opportunity to participate in traditional dances and to learn the art of Malawian drumming. All performers are genuine local villagers who are fairly paid for their time. By participating you are helping to keep ancient traditions alive and supporting villages economically.
Our holidays are specifically designed to bring guests into direct contact with locals from a range of different tribes and cultures across Africa. We also therefore provide destination specific guidance including advice on local customs and some key phrases in certain languages (e.g. Swahili). We also offer guidance on how to barter responsibly for local curios and what curios should be avoided (e.g. certain wildlife artefacts such as coral, turtle shells etc.). As all of our guides and groundhandlers are local we also give guidance on what a fair and reasonable level of tipping would be at the end of the holiday.
We support the work of Tourism Concern both in distributing their advice to customers and as an active participant in the Ethical Tour Operators Group. Our managing director sits on this group and is a regular attendee of meetings contributing to work towards developing industry wide fair trade standards. We also distribute materials to customers and make periodic donations for the following charities: Tree Aid; International Fund for Wildlife and Survival International Trust. In Southern Africa we support the Southern Africa Sustainable Seafood Initiative and forward their guidance to all customers on which seafood is sustainable when offered a choice at restaurants.
Whilst volunteering on a coral reef in Tanzania, the founder of this company fell in love with Africa. Using her academic background in environmental science, she decided to do something practical and help the continent develop a sustainable tourism portfolio. She developed holidays which combine the obvious itinerary highlights with more unusual experiences such as home stays and township visits. She believes that there are great benefits to travel: it is a chance to widen your horizons, learn about other people and see a bit more of the world than just that little place you call home.
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