When she was 23, Edinburgh-born Liz bought a £10 boat ticket to Africa; she wanted to see the world and has subsequently lived over half of her life overseas. When she returned from Arabia with her family in the 80s she set up a tailor made tour operators that was the first to sell trips to Oman. She has a strong sense of social responsibility and has seen first-hand how tourism can increase local people’s quality of life. The company is now a closely-knit three-woman team who share their expert knowledge and experiences to ensure your holidays have a real personal touch.
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This tour concentrates on the less visited regions of Bali and stays entirely in properties run using responsible principles. The first lodge is the Jiwa Damai Eco Lodge which is an organic garden and retreat centre located on the edge of Ubud. Here, the lodge is run along environmentally sound principles, which guests can get involved with, all working towards the end of creating a self-sustaining centre. The Lodge practices the integration of biological perma-culture with water preservation, waste recycling and the use of solar energy panels. The Lodge operates a sewage and composting facility to help produce a natural fertilizer which is used in the on-site organic gardens. This organic garden is also being used to encourage the growing of rare plant varieties. The Lodge has also introduced bee hives high in the trees of their organic garden as they are trying to produce organic Balinese honey as a source of income. These are traditional Balinese bee hives made from coconut shells wrapped with palm tree fibre.
The Lodge also works in conjunction with local farmers to produce the organic Bali Extra Virgin Coconut Oil from their on-site coconut trees. The staff and farmers aim to produce a high quality product where all by-products can be recycled effectively. This project is an important source of income for the local farmers and plant workers needed to process the oil. Some of the profits are used to sponsor the children of the poorest local families to receive an education and to support other local community projects. The Lodge is also involved in an 8 year project in 4 youth detention centres in Java and Bali training youths and staff.
From here you transfer for 3 nights in the Sarinbuana Eco Lodge located on the slopes of Mount Batukaru. As well as offering a good standard of accommodation, the Lodge is managed along an extensive list of responsible principles. Environmentally, the Lodge employs a sustainable water management system, including water saving measures, avoids the use of chemicals in the food production system and plants native trees annually. All cleaning products are made from natural products and all guests are asked to only bring natural cosmetic products with them to avoid upsetting the natural balance of their water source. Building materials and staff are locally sourced and buildings are built in keeping with the natural surroundings.
Socially, the Lodge only employs local staff who are paid a fair wage and tries to educate them in sustainable practices. They also financially support local communities such as the local children’s football team, the ‘Sarinbuana Bali Tigers’, by providing boots and uniforms and the staff encourage the guests to take part in the team’s training games so they can interact with the children. They also help support numerous community social projects, including the “Half a Cow” program. This program was set up by Friends of the National Parks (FNPF) and each time a newly born calf is sold the FNPF receives a portion of the funds. The Lodge management have also been authorised, in conjunction with the Begawan Foundation, to set up a Bali Starling breeding program on-site to try and encourage the breeding of these massively endangered endemic birds.
From here, you will drive further north towards the town of Singaraja and the Puri Lumbung Cottages. The Cottages are actually converted 80 year old Balinese ‘lumbungs’, or rice granaries, adapted into simple accommodation so maintaining the original buildings and avoiding the use of new building materials. The Cottages employ the local villagers from Munduk village who have attended the self-help development programme. This programme allows the local Munduk villagers access to discounted or free courses at the well known Nusa Dua Hotel and Tourism Training Institute on the condition that they first commit to working for the Puri Lumbung Cottages for a fixed period of time afterwards. This is an attempt to halt the mass exodus of villagers from the rural community and with it, the loss of traditional skills. The Puri Lumbung Cottages is attempting to support tourism but only as far as it benefits the village and its inhabitants.
Finally, you will head to the beach and the Bali Barat National Park and the Menjangan Resort. This Resort is committed to ensuring the sustainability of the region. Buildings are constructed with environmentally friendly materials and they commit to not physically developing more than 10% of the area. They plant only native trees and provide watering holes and salt licks for the animals in the park. Water is recycled and waste broken down within the Resort and the manure from the Resort horses is given to the local farmers for their gardens. There is also a dedicated beach cleaning team to collect the rubbish carried from the major surrounding cities – guests are welcome to join in!
Our ground agents only employ local guides and drivers to accompany our clients, which we feel is an important way of keeping money in the country but also in offering our clients a ‘real’ experience of Bali. All food in the lodges and hotels is sourced locally, helping the local rural communities wherever possible.