Responsible tourism: Family volunteering and safari holiday, South Africa
Our volunteer placements are designed to contribute towards sustainability of the environment. We always educate our families of the environmental impact the create and how to best avoid or reduce this. 1. Animals : In South Africa families visit the Kruger Park. We ensure that they go in with rangers and also are helping to conserve the natural habitat of the animals by adding with the rules of the reserve. We always book with safari tour operator that focus on safe tours for both families and animals. 2. Water: We make sure that our families always refill bottles at home rather than buying mineral water 3. Energy: We always ensure that our families conserve electricity by turning off lights and fans when leaving for projects or not using these. 4. Transport: We always recommend walking and using bicycles where possible instead of walking. In South Africa most of our projects are in walking distance of the house and we also try to take all our volunteers in one van to avoid multiple journeys and more fuel usage that pollutes the environment. 5. Waste: We encourage all our families to dispose of waste carefully and separate our plastic, glass and food waste.
The importance of the project: Our Partner organisation was established by four individuals in 2004 and registered as a Non Profit Organization in Aug 2006. Situated in South Africa, Limpopo Province, Mopani District, Bolebedu South, Fobeni Village – the organization initially focused on vulnerable children but as time progressed it was determined that a more holistic approach in service delivery was needed. South Africa has a high-cost, low-performance education system that does not compare favourably with education systems in similar developing economies. There is a multitude of well-publicised problems, including a shortage of teachers, under qualified teachers and poor teacher performance. In the classroom this results in poor learner standards, a lack of classroom discipline and is exacerbated by insufficient resources and inadequate infrastructure. On a government level, difficulties have been caused by a failure of appropriate inspection and monitoring, and confusion caused by changing curricula without proper communication and training. The need for volunteers and this project is necessary to help alleviate some of the problems faced in the community.
Meeting local needs: As well as helping to serve the local community an important role in protecting the local economy. The Kruger area relies on its wildlife and landscape to attract tourists, as there are no big cities nearby. The centre brings visitors to the area and has created jobs for local people. It also promotes local art and helps villagers to market their wares to tourists. By helping with education and English teaching, the local community can get jobs in the hotels and lodges around, earn a living and get out of the poverty trap that they may be living in.
Cultural sensitivity: We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural South Africa. Our policy is to send people to the developing world in small groups or individually. This minimises the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination and helps them to integrate into the local community.
We also want to ensure that Teaching projects are following the guidelines of responsible travel. This includes :
Having Qualified teaching applicants taking classes only. Non qualified applicants can assist teachers only. Accepting long term applicants of 4 weeks minimum Making DBS checks compulsory Minimum of a days training on arrival Having a child protection code
Reviews of Family volunteering and safari holiday, South Africa
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 21 Sep 2016 by Sue Blair
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The people were so friendly. Especially Jacky, Ellanie and Francois and of course all the teachers and pupils at the school. The experience we had (both my son and I) was unforgettable. Seeing the good the school does for the community was heart warming. The Kruger National Park trip was amazing. We saw 63 species of animals and birds in two days thanks to the wonderful Francois's eagle eye!
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Hire a car between the volunteering and the hotel. You are on your own and public transport is very poor. For a white woman and a child we were very definitely told not to use public transport which meant we spent a fortune on taxis or remained pretty isolated
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
We were at the volunteer house for only one week which is not enough time to feel you made a personal difference- except for the fact that we decided to sponsor two children for ongoing basic needs deliveries. If you really want to feel you personally input I would recommend at least 3 weeks at the house/school as a minimum
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
The volunteer part was five star in terms of experience and friendliness - the Kruger visit was amazing again, five stars but the hotel part was less enjoyable due to feeling isolated. Only 4 stars for that reason but the hotel itself(casterbridge) was lovely and again the people very friendly.