For every week that our passengers spend in Africa, we plant a tree in Kenya through the Woodlands 2000 Trust, a local NGO. The Woodlands 2000 Trust is a wonderful project that provides seeds and seedlings with planting materials as well as land-planning, tree survival and woodlot management services. It aims to increase reforestation and bio-diversify in semi-arid regions, and also to create sustainable and profitable tree products micro-industries that contribute to alleviating poverty.
We believe strongly in low impact tourism and so during this trip we use existing locally owned facilities and camp ground. By using locally owned and run facilities we are helping the local communities that we visit. We also spend time in many villages as well as national parks so there is a chance to meet lots of people. Our leaders will encourage you not to give money to them but instead talk to them about different topics which give them hope.
We pay gorilla tracking fees for each client on the tour and this goes to the National parks to pay for the protection of the gorillas and into government coffers to help pay for schools and hospitals. We have been involved in helping out a school for orphans which is just outside the National Park, we take them books, stationary and building materials. We plan to increase our involvement / donations. We take some our groups to this school while other members of the group go off to see the gorillas. Here you will have the opportunity to purchase locally made crafts, and food and coke from the streetside stands. We have supplied raincoats and wellington boots for the guides and trackers to improve their lives a little.
A lot of local people benifit in other ways from our visits as a 'gorilla industry' has sprung up arround the visits, where local people run camp grounds, supply food, souveniers. We also carry in gas for cooking rather than use the local fuelwood which seems to be cut from forests. We take out garbage, and we employ locals to help out with side trips and for guided walks into the villages. We provide opportunities to ensure you are able to spend money with members of the community.