This company has operated on responsible tourism values since its inception. From an environmental perspective, our initiatives extend from our company offices to our tours. A local green energy provider powers our head office and stores; we encourage cleaner transportation methods for staff; and purchase all supplies from a local green business supplier. Our office is as paperless as possible and our brochures use 100% PEFC certified sustainable paper.
Supporting communities is and always has been at the heart of our tours. We provide business opportunities to local people by employing local guides and tour operators. The majority of accommodation used on our tours are small-scale, locally-owned hotels. Our tours mainly use public transportation wherever possible and are small in size to keep our impact on fragile sites and communities as minimal as possible. We monitor the sustainability of our tours through traveller evaluations and through feedback from our tour leaders in order to allow for continuous improvement. We support the local economy and business initiatives by visiting local shops, restaurants, and markets on our tours.
Many tours incorporate community projects as a way of supplementing community income and supporting community development projects. In 2003 we founded a non-profit organisation as a way for our travellers and our company to give back to the people and places we visit. We develop community projects around the world in the areas of health, education, small business development and environmental conservation. Funds are raised through traveller donations and fundraising. The company pays all administration fees which means that 100% of each individual donation goes directly to the community projects. Each year, we continue to support and develop new partnerships with more community projects and community-based tourism initiatives worldwide, in Latin America, Asia and Africa. On many tours, you have the option to visit a project as part of your trip.
Tour leaders provide travellers with information about local environmental issues in their respective regions, and provide suggestions of how we can best protect the local environment and culture. To reduce the amount of waste created on tours, tour leaders also encourage travellers to use refillable water bottles instead of disposable plastic, cotton tote bags, reusable batteries, etc. We also include destination-specific information in our guidebooks, which are provided to each traveller including information particular to the local culture and environment and tips on how to be a responsible traveller.
On this trip
Low impact accommodation
The accommodation used on a trip can make the difference between local people receiving many benefits or none at all. It can also mean huge impacts or minimal impacts on the environment. On this some of our nights are spent sleeping in more unique and economical accommodations. First is the sleeper train. Accommodation on the sleeper train is in comfortable twin-share bunk-bed compartments. The beds convert into seats when not in use and luggage is stored under the bottom bunk. The sleeper train doubles as both an overnight accommodation and a method of transportation as well instead of traveling by plane, which not only saves money, but leaves minimal environmental impact, and we always try to use transport that creates fewer emissions.
The second unique accommodation on this trip is the Felucca. Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and make for an extremely relaxing and enjoyable way to travel down the river. You sleep on the deck of the boat that has mattresses and blankets that are provided. This style of accommodation provides business to locals who operate Feluccas while providing us with a truly one of a kind experience.
The third is camping! Camping is a very low-impact style of accommodation because the structures are temporary! Camping means little to no electricity consumption, low water consumption and definitely no energy sucking air conditioning! Camping in Egypt is truly an adventure. We sleep in a large communal tent and enjoy a local dinner cooked over the fire by our local hosts. You will be able to get off the beaten track to get a first-hand experience of the beautiful desert. Just remember we will be taking everything with us that we brought to the area, and using reusable items so as to create little to no waste. Your tour leader will explain a little about how to be environmentally responsible when living outdoors in the desert!
Low impact transportation
Egypt has lots of options for getting around making less of an impact. We always try to use transport that creates fewer emissions. We will ride the sleeper train, camels also known as “Egyptian Mercedes”, a felucca, donkeys, and walking, only taking private transport when needed. Getting around as the locals do not only allows you to experience the culture on a deeper level, but the same way it is at home, using alternative methods of transportation is the most sustainable way to go!
Supporting local businesses, culture and world heritage
There are a multitude of opportunities to support local businesses on this trip. From the colorful markets to the bustling food stalls and cafes amid craft bazaars, the choices for eating and handicrafts are endless and the money is staying in the local economy - a vital way for tourism to make a positive impact. Activities that take you to markets, locally owned restaurants, and towns are vital to the local peoples’ ability to truly benefit from tourism. Our style of trip, travelling and eating with the locals, puts you right at the heart of Egyptian culture. People in rural communities, especially in developing countries, often lack access to the economy due to their location, lack of funds, or ability to market their products. Visitors offer them the chance to supplement their income whether it’s simply by buying handicrafts, or eating a meal at a family-owned restaurant, this trip makes contributing to the local economy part of the adventure. Here are some activities that can be incorporated into this trip for some real cultural immersion and learning experiences:
Pyramids of Giza. While once located in remote desert, they now touch the suburbs of modern Cairo. No matter how many photos or documentaries you have seen, your first glimpse of these marvels of the ancient world will take your breath away. As a qualified Egyptologist, your tour leader is able to expertly explain the facts and myths behind these three mammoth works of art. You will also visit the mysterious Sphinx with its lion’s body and man’s face. Time permitting there might be the chance to see inside one of the two smaller pyramids, take a ride around the pyramids on camel back or visit the fascinating Solar Boat Museum with displays on one of the pharaoh’s funerary barges - it may just be the oldest boat in existence!
Luxor and the unique cultures of Dakhla. Luxor has often been called the world’s greatest open-air museum, and for good reason: the number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere in the world. Walk through history today, past statues with the heads of gods and animals, beneath pillars carved with lotus buds and papyrus, and still vibrant hieroglyphic relics. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage, sail in a felucca or take a sunset cruise. The city of Luxor has the most concentrated temple, tomb and monument region in Egypt. Included among these is the tomb of King Tutankhamen, located in the Valley of the Kings. Dakhla is one of the five oases situated in the Western Desert and is considered to be one of the most beautiful. It has a population of approximately 70,000 people spread out over 14 different villages, each with individual local identities and traditions for you to learn about.
Cruise the Nile on a traditional Felucca. We cruise on a Felucca to explore this area of the Nile from the water. Our felucca journey concludes at the town of Kom Ombo where there is the chance to visit the famous Kom Ombo Temple. In a scenic location, right on the banks of the Nile, Kom Ombo was dedicated to the Crocodile God and you can still view the remains of an ancient mummified crocodile, which was worshipped here thousands of years ago.
Dinner in a local home. In Aswan we visit a Nubian village, where we'll take a walk around the community with our local guide before enjoying a traditional dinner at a local home. It is a chance to learn about this culture up close, and provide an opportunity for a family to earn income from tourism through sharing their culture.
When Bruce went travelling after University in 1989 he realised he had limited options: he could either go backpacking or stay on a resort. Returning to Canada, he set up a company that bridged the gap and offered young professionals an affordable way to immerse themselves in the culture of different countries. Bruce gave some of the profits back to the communities he passed through. Today he has offices in 38 countries and runs a travel foundation that builds projects all over the world; he is adamant that all staff adhere to his original business model of sustainability and happiness.
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