The Irente viewpoint walk is one of Tanzania's 'Cultural Tourism Programmes', a programme that is run entirely by local people. All proceeds go to the local communities, either through wages or community project fees. The proceeds from the Irente Viewpoint walk are invested in the improvement of the farming and irrigation systems to help raise the local standard of living. The accommodation used are all small-scale hotels and are important employers providing jobs for local people. They all buy their food and supplies locally to help the surrounding communities benefit economically from tourism.
The safari company that is used by us is owned and run, for over 15 years, by a Tanzanian couple only employing Tanzanian guides, drivers & cooks. All food is bought locally. For the non-safari days, we have made a Tanzanian tour guide available. On Zanzibar the day-trips are operated by Eco & Culture – an non-profit NGO which is working to foster sustainable economic development on Zanzibar and to protect the environment.
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. 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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