We specialise in upmarket small group and tailor made trips to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. All our trips have been developed in line with our company philosophy, and with the following principles in mind:
1. Local guides (qualified botanists / natural historians) who have a huge enthusiasm for their native country, speak local languages and will provide an excellent guided experience;
2. Very good quality accommodation – primarily using small lodges and guesthouses that are owned and managed locally;
3.Plenty of opportunities for activities: providing a varied holiday experience but also ensuring that local tourism businesses benefit from visits.
4. Sustainable Tourism: I have selected ground handlers who work closely with local communities – and – where possible, we have selected accommodations which likewise invest in their localities. Each of the itineraries includes a ‘What this trip contributes’ statement: eg in Namibia, the trip includes a stay on a Cheetah Conservation reserve, which is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the rehabilitation of big cats into the wild.
Native Escapes also has a Responsible Tourism policy which features on our website, in our marketing, and which all ground handlers have been made aware of.
Member since: 22 Feb 2008
How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...
- We keep group sizes small (average 8 pax), so are able to visit outlying areas which coaches and larger groups would be unable to access - eg a 2 night stay at a small village set on the beach out of reach of non 4WD vehicles because of the road conditions.
- The small group size also enables us to use lodges and permanent tented accommodation with up to 20 beds, many of which are actively involved in local community initiatives - eg Wolwedans who commit 2% of annual turnover to projects.
- Our itineraries encourage customers to take part in local activities such as tracking cheetahs and rhinos in conjunction with the Africat and Save the Rhino Foundations (respectively) in Namibia.
- We aim to help guests make the most of their holiday, with a full menu of optional activities, but would always aim to ensure that recommended activities organisers are operating eco-sensitively. Eg. tracking rhinos operated in conjunction with a ‘Save the Rhino’ Foundation.
- We run a project in conjunction with Raleigh International at Wolwedans in Namibia to protect the endangered Lapped-Faced Vultures and the luxury bush camps run by KZN Wildlife in South Africa, who have been internationally recognised for white rhino and sea turtle conservation and for their community conservation outreach programmes.
- We also provide our guests with information about how they can contribute to local conservation. Fees from entry into the National Parks we visit are reinvested to support local conservation projects and protect the local environment and wildlife. In addition, we use private concessions which are dedicated to conservation projects, such as the Save the Rhino project and Africat Foundation in Namibia.
- We encourage guests to interact with local people, and believe that greater understanding between cultures promotes better social harmony. Getting to lesser-visited areas provides much-needed economic benefits to communities not on the main tourist maps.
- Our use of local guides – who will speak local languages and be understanding of local cultures, will often break down barriers as they can make introductions and stimulate conversation during visits.
- We have deliberately searched out accommodation providers that support local projects – examples of community projects supported include Islands of Siankaba in Zambia, which has established a committee run by local people where by guests can make donations to the local village school (which is also available to visit from the lodge). In South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, our accommodation providers have established a fund which has helped set up a local outpatient clinic as well as helped fund teacher salaries.
These Africa experts pride themselves on their botanist/naturalist guides (who speak local languages), quality lodging, and commitment to responsible tourism. They keep things small and personal - and their tours combine cultural interaction and wildlife encounters.