This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Ethiopia holiday, tailor made
On this trip we spend time exploring the stunning Simien Mountains, one of Africa’s most breathtaking landscapes and home to a wide array of rare and unusual wildlife. The entrance fees that we include as part of the price of this tour play an important part in helping the Ethiopian government maintain these protected areas for the benefit of future wildlife, including some of the most endangered species on the planet.
When walking in the mountains our travellers are given full briefings by our local guides as to how best to minimise their impact upon the environment, including staying on the marked tracks, disposing of litter properly and not damaging plants. Guides are all properly trained in techniques to ensure that they do not disturb wildlife unnecessarily as they conduct the tours.
In a number of the destinations that we offer, tourism is not particularly well established, let alone the idea of responsible tourism, and in these we find it particularly important to work with our local teams and suppliers in order to raise the issue of sustainable travel and ensure that it is placed on the agenda and becomes a better known concept. This is particularly relevant to Ethiopia, which has experienced a significant increase in tourism over the past few years. To ensure that our groups have minimal impact upon the environment we work with our local team to ensure that all guides and drivers receive extensive training on sustainability policies, from not dropping litter (which unfortunately is commonplace in Ethiopia) to ensuring that natural habitats are respected when trekking or exploring the countryside.
In our UK office we recycle extensively, from paper and envelopes to ink cartridges, plastic bottles and food packaging, with dedicated recycling bins. We minimise our use of electricity by turning off appliances and using energy efficient lightbulbs, and our toilets use reduced water cisterns to minimise our use of water
We only ever use local tour leaders and guides on our trips; not only does this mean that travellers get local insights that they might not get from a westerner, but it means that the communities we travel through benefit directly from the presence of tourism. This doesn't mean an Ethiopian guide from start to finish, but guides from the various places visited on the itinerary, ensuring that it really does filter down to that micro-level.
In all of our pre-departure notes we include extensive information about how to travel sensitively and travellers are given guidelines on local culture and customs.
Ethiopia is a very religious country and we visit a number of religious sites on this itinerary, which hold great significance for local people. Travellers are fully briefed on appropriate dress and behaviour so as not to offend the cultures through which they are travelling.
Many of the sites that we visit are fragile – often the churches and monasteries are decorated with intricate, and rather old, frescoes which are easily damaged. We ensure that our travellers do not contribute to their deterioration, which also includes appropriate guidelines on flash photography. Ethiopia’s historic monuments do not always receive a great deal of government funding for maintenance, and the entrance fees that tourists pay play a vital role in ensuring that these magnificent sites are there not just for tourists but also for local people, for whom they are more than just an interesting sight but hold great significance.
We make an effort to stop at small villages along the way to gain further insights into local culture. These are carefully selected to ensure that our presence is welcome, rather than obtrusive, and we discuss with local elders how best to show our appreciation in terms of appropriate donations.