Local Craft & Culture:
Throughout the tour, there are opportunities to appreciate Southern African culture and to purchase traditional, handmade crafts. One of the best places to do this might be at the end of the tour when we visit the big craft centre at the entrance to Victoria Falls. Here a variety of shop owners come to sell their painted wooden trinkets, instruments and jewellery etc. We encourage clients to support local businesses like this as a way of boosting the economy of local communities. We are also aware that some items sold are made with illegal or environmentally damaging products and so leaders are careful to give a warning in a briefing about things like ivory and large items made from local hardwood.
We employ local tour guides, drivers and chefs and so all of these employment opportunities provide financial benefit for people in the community. Our local guides are also keen to teach Shona and Ndebele, depending on the region, as a means of making a more genuine connection with people they meet on the trip.
Accommodation & Meals:
Most nights on this trip will be spent in fully service camps, whilst the remainder will be in guesthouses and small hotels. By mainly camping, we reduce our energy consumption and negative effect on the environment. These sites, often being based within or nearby National Parks, are extremely conscious of litter disposal and try to use gas fires instead of limited wood resources. All the guesthouses and small hotels used on this trip employ local staff and purchase local produce.
All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 8 dinners are provided. The tour leader will be the Chef on tour, and will endeavour to buy fresh produce from local stalls and markets and making a range of traditional meals. Guests might have the chance to learn to make a regional specialty such as stew with ‘Sadza’ - a maize flour and water mixture with the consistency of dough; or ‘Braai’, a traditional South African barbeque on an open fire. We can arrange for meals out together or recommend restaurants nearby as a means of encouraging local investment and celebration of African cuisine.
We are lucky enough to visit Kruger National Park, Matobo National Park and Hwange National Park on this trip. Entrance fees in each of these areas are an essential form of support which goes towards the preservation and conservation of the remarkable amount of wildlife here. By promoting a form of tourism that is against harming animals, yet is successful, we spread the message that there is a mutually beneficial way to co-exist with wildlife. This deters poaching activity and capturing of wild animals to be put in inhumane zoos.
We visit the Moholoholo wildlife rehabilitation centre, which cares for numerous injured, orphaned and poisoned animals from across South Africa and beyond. The animals are given any treatment they require and then released back into the wild. In some cases the animals are in too poor a condition to survive in the wild and so they are cared for at the sanctuary and kept to help inform visitors about South African wildlife. The centre also operates a breeding programme and has successfully bred and released endangered crowned eagles and servals. The entrance fees go directly to looking after injured wildlife.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
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