All our guides are Ethiopian. This applies to the guide that looks after the group as well as local guides who we employ to accompany groups visiting local communities. Particularly when visiting local communities in the south of Ethiopia. We find that local guides bring a real sense that the community is genuinely hosting the visit.
When making visits to places like Lalibela and Gondar we employ local guides to ensure that our clients receive a level of information that matches their interests. Through research and working with academic authorities we have developed a knowledge base to a highly professional standard.
We have a policy of not providing printed brochures. All our publicity and promotion is internet based. We recycle printer cartridges.
We maintain our vehicles to a high level to achieve minimum fuel consumption. We do not automatically dispose of serviceable vehicles on a fixed rolling programme and so encourage clients to book trips by offering a price reduction for older vehicles. In our experience 4 X 4’s that rely less on state of the art electronics often out perform their newer versions in the rugged Ethiopian countryside.
Through acting as the destination manager in Ethiopia for one of the UK’s largest and most respected tour organizers for school children, we have developed an enviable range of local projects which have environmental benefits. We are now offering similar opportunities to our clients. E.g. Construction of a new girl’s toilet block in a school of 1816 students ages 6 – 14. Work involves digging and carrying stones alongside local people. Possible buying of books for the school library – involves discussion, selection and ordering from local businesses. Improving water supply to school – involves clearing the ground and laying of pipes – working with locals.
The way that we work is transmitted by our staff to our local suppliers and as a consequence contribute to an increase in their skills level. Our goods and services including hotel accommodation are all purchased from Ethiopian companies. E.g. we will encourage our clients whilst on tour to come with us to the local markets to purchase food and drink for their meals or they will eat in local Ethiopian restaurants.
Begging is pervasive in Ethiopia – with many people having no regular source of income. Children participate in begging on behalf of their families and the advice that we have received is to discourage children from begging as one of its consequences is that parents will prevent the child from attending school thinking that they have greater economic value on the street. However, we do encourage interaction between our clients and the poorest members of the community. This can take various forms, such as the donation of clothing/exercise books/ stationery etc.