These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.
Genevieve Isherwood review 19 Aug 2014
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Seeing the gorillas. Visiting the Pygmy village.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Bring long trousers and T-shirts to cover up in Uganda. Pack lightly as there is laundry at the campsite.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, particularly when visiting the Pygmy village and the Kenyan school.
My trip was the first 19 days of a longer 75 day tour. Whilst I did not go on this activity I know that later in the longer tour they go on a lion walk. I would urge you to research the company that runs this as I think that they are unlikely to be working in animal welfare.
Having worked for conservation projects in various parts of Africa it is my experience that organisations that run big cat 'walks'' later sell the animals on for game hunting purposes (after the animals have been humanised by the walks they are easier to hunt on a game park). I find it highly unlikely that any organisation working towards the conservation of big cats would allow tourists to interact closely with them once they are adults as such contact is clearly against the best interests of the animal. I have used responsible travel several times and always been confident that the tours you recommend are highly tuned to the environment and conservation so this seems to be out of your ethos. I hope you will look into it!
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Read the operator's response here:
We are so pleased that you had such a ‘fantastic’ time on our overland trip. Tabitha and Pete are great Tour Leaders and Uganda and Rwanda such interesting places to travel to. Regarding the Lion Walk you mention that is an option later in our trip – this takes place in Zimbabwe and with an organisation we have been visiting since 2008. Both our UK office and our Tour Leaders have done a lot of research and we are totally confident that no Lions ever get sold on for hunting purposes. I was in Zimbabwe again in May this year and visited the family that oversee the conservation programme where we undertake the lion walk and once again they are involved with a lot of very well organised conservation programmes and they are also very successful at gaining funding for these programmes from western donors. Most recently they are involved in a programme to restock and manage a Lion breeding programme in Burundi to try and help that country establish some game reserves and attract much needed foreign tourism. We will certainly continue to monitor both this and other places we visit in order to satisfy ourselves that they operate in a responsible and ethical way. Many thanks for your feedback and once again I am so pleased that you had such a great experience on our trip. Best Regards, Chris Wrede – Director.
Responsible Travel do not promote the above tour or any other tours that promote Antelope Park/ALERT lion conservation and walking with lions in Zimbabwe. We do not consider the ALERT programme as responsible and urge people not to visit. Best wishes Krissy Roe – Head of Campaigns, Responsible Travel