Madagascar cycling tour
Description of Madagascar cycling tour
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“The thing about cycling in Madagascar is that the people really respect the fact that you’re making an effort, that you’re not just a tourist sitting...
Having parted ways with mainland Africa over 160 million years ago, most of Madagascar's flora and fauna is found nowhere else on earth, including se...
Our partners behind this holiday promote inclusivity on all their trips and across their business and we are all committed to ensuring travellers face no discrimination on any part of the trip they control.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetThe number of people getting out into the outdoors and enjoying recreational activities is growing rapidly. With this rise in ‘environmental traffic’ comes an increasing impact on the natural environment, damaged plants, unsightly rubbish, erosion, polluted water and deteriorating facilities. The environment is our home, the home of billions of animal and plants species and the home of future generations – is a delicate and highly threatened foundation. Today it is essential that we change our habits at home and in the way that we live and travel and adopt a more caring attitude to the environment. Here are some of the things we do at home and on our trips to help conserve the natural environment:
- We always remove ALL rubbish from the places we ride and camp and deal with it in the most appropriate way: Reuse what can be reused, recycle what can be recycled, compost all compostables (or feed them to domestics goats, pigs or chickens) and aim to minimise items put into landfill. Tip: Did you know that putting food scraps in landfills produces methane; a poisonous gas that seeps into the earth?
In Madagascar: We have been educating and helping some local tour operators on how to keep thier camping spots clean and sustainable for the long term benifit of thier business and the environment.
- When shopping avoid ‘single use packaging’. As much as possible only buy products packaged in reusable, recyclable or better still NO packaging.
Say NO to plastic supermarket bags. Use cardboard boxes or reusable carry bags to transport shopping.
- When there is a toilet available – use it; but when there’s not we bury waste at least 50 metres from populated areas and water sources, at least 150mm deep. Burn toilet paper in a ‘burn can’.
In Madagascar we have developed a simple sustainable camping toilet system and encouraged local tour operators to use the same system.
- CO2 emissions caused by flying are one of the world’s fastest increasing and most damaging pollutants. We suggest you find out what the environmental policies are of the airlines you fly with – which airlines are making positive steps to reducing CO2 emissions? Make this part of the decision of who you’ll fly with.
Conserving Natural Resources:
- We never use charcoal (which is responsible for mass-deforestation in many parts of the world, and is illegal in some places). We forgo campfires to help prevent deforestation. (There are some places where wood is purpose grown and replanted for fire wood – for the occasional campfire – but it is important to carefully check the source of firewood).
- Buy locally made produce which reduces the environmental cost of importation.
- We aim to educate our bikers – about the effects of buying products that come from endangered species, or products that are destructive to wildlife or the environment.
- Protect plants and wildlife. Flora and fauna is unique to various parts of the world and are national treasures. Damaging or removing plants not only destroys part of the environment but is also illegal in some parts of the world. Many areas are fragile and may take years to recover from damage. So stay on the tracks or find a way around without damaging plants.
- By visiting National Parks and wildlife protection projects we can help to contribute to (and become more informed about) the conservation of threatened wildlife.
- Use campsites where provided, use equipment that doesn’t damage the environment. Cutting areas for tent poles and sleeping areas is not necessary. We keep camping sites compact and leave areas as we find them (or better!).
When washing ourselves or cooking utensils, take the water and wash well away from the water source, drain used water into the soil so that it is filtered before re-entering the source. We use biodegradable soaps and detergents when possible.
- We have an Environmentally Conscious Office – To avoid paper waste we aim to use as much computer technology as possible in our office… and reuse paper.
- We use cooking fuels sparingly, and keep boiled water hot in air-thermos to conserve energy.
- Only use a vehicle when necessary. When possible use public transport, walk or ride a bike!
In Madagascar we have begun working with a small riverside village that is on the edge of a large de-forested area. We are supplying and planting indigenous trees to help slow the effects of de-forestation, preserve local Lemur habitat and preserve the forest for the village tourism initiative.
PeopleWe recognize that the cultures and communities we visit can be fragile and require an ongoing commitment from us to ensure that we have a lasting positive effect. Tourism, when carried out in a responsible manner, can be a real help to local communities providing income, positive cultural exchanges and the financial incentive to protect their natural environment.
Small Group Size – Our groups REALLY are small! With a maximum of 12 in any one group we minimize our impact on the small communities that we visit.
- By travelling as a small group it is much easier to engage in individual social interactions with the people we meet and visit.
- By travelling by bike, up close and personal we develop relationships with local communities and families on our trips where our bikers from all over the world can meet and engage one to one with local folk enabling us to learn about and respect local culture and ways.
- Many places have special spiritual, sacred or historical significance. Treat these areas with respect. Learning about places you visit will help you understand and respect the value they hold for others.
- Learn some of the local language. Learning a few phrases and greetings in the country you visit shows respect to the people and helps to break down cultural/social barriers.
- When meeting and interacting with people who have or appear to have much less (material possessions or opportunities) than we do – it can be tempting to want to ‘give’ and share what we have with them. We think it is very important to think about – ‘What are the short and long term effects of aid/charity or even the simple act of giving – on local communities?’, ‘Who actually benefits or feels good?’ Usually the answers to these questions are complex. Please think or talk about them before you go ‘giving’ things away.
- It’s quite easy in a small, simple community to appear an arrogant rich foreigner, so be aware of the feelings of other people, and try to avoid giving offense.
- Always ask permission before taking pictures of people, ritual events or special places like shrines. If people seem reluctant or look away then DO NOT take a picture. Be careful not to cause offense through your thoughtlessness.
Local standards of living are usually very different from our own. Our economic power is great and it is great to use it to benefit local people:
- We like to support the economies of the places we visit – by buying locally made products, using local accommodations and restaurants where possible, and supporting markets and support small businesses. (Buying locally made products also decreases the environmental cost of importing).
- All of the accommodation, restaurants and village coffee stops we use are locally owned and operated.
- Support vehicles and drivers are hired locally.
- All our accommodation is booked through a local travel operator rather than directly so that we can support another local business.
- We employ local drivers and interpreters in the countries we visit.
- Choose locally made crafts and support local skills, not simply buying on price but on value to you: bargaining for a lower price for both souvenirs and services is often the accepted and expected custom, but don’t drive a hard bargain just for the sake of it.
- We always give the opportunity to try local food and specialties. Many rural areas around the world are under threat from a reduction in their agricultural base and by eating locally produced goods we help the local farmers as well as the local economy.
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