Above Safaris

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Above Safaris curates unique and impactful adventures in Tanzania. We do this by relying on a deep understanding of the places our clients travel to, sharing our strong relationships with local partners and local people and ensuring every client’s adventure has a positive impact on the community.
Member since: 17 Sep 2019

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

We believe that the creation of good jobs is a path out of poverty. This is reflected both in our hiring practices, vendor choices, and community initiatives. We focus on ensuring fair employment and stable wages, countering the reality that 83% of Tanzanian workers are vulnerably employed. We hire talent locally and provide wages that are +20% above Tanzania’s industry averages. We also create opportunities for employees to grow within the company, for example by supporting the training and education of a driver whose dream is to become a safari guide. Further, we support local vendors, enabling them to grow their businesses through our partnership. These vendors include small-scale excursion operators, farmers, and other suppliers.

Additionally, we occasionally facilitate fundraising for community projects. For example, clients who participated in our 2019 Yoga Retreat are fundraising at their local yoga studios for school uniforms and supplies for the Maasai village they visited on their trip.

We are also in the process of building the first co-working entrepreneurship hub in Arusha to enable entrepreneurs to grow sustainable, impactful businesses. This co-working space will serve as a hub to support entrepreneurship in Arusha, bringing in mentors, workshops, and eventually funding to help companies grow.

Environmental responsibility

We ensure environmental responsibility through various conservation practices. With regards to energy conservation, we choose to use vendors that are committed to leveraging renewable energy, whenever possible. For example, Tanganyika Wilderness Camps is one of our accommodation partners. They focus on hiring locally in their community, sustainable building practices, and both water and energy conservation, including the use of solar energy at their camps and lodges. In addition, we are working to build out a new office and coworking space in Arusha and intend to utilize solar power once completed.

Further, with regards to water conservation, we choose to use vendors that are committed to water conservation. We work with accommodation providers that practice conservation in every aspect of their services. For hotels, water makes up 10% of the average utility bill. Through sustainable water conservation practices, our accommodation partners’ practices can reduce water consumption by 50% per guest. We ensure our hospitality partners have demonstrated environmental conservation efforts including the use of recycling and a respect for land and wildlife.

We also support the protection of wildlife through our safari excursions by enabling clients to experience wildlife in its natural habitat. This means we only bring our clients to protected wildlife areas - National Parks and Conservation Areas that are overseen and managed by park rangers and conservationists. By traveling with Above Safaris, our clients are supporting the conservation of these natural habitats, ensuring that animals can live the way they are meant to. We never curate animal experiences like you might experience with "animal sanctuaries" or setup "safari and wildlife parks" in other places around the world. A safari in Tanzania gives you an opportunity to be a passive observer experiencing the real wild where animals have lived for thousands of years. Travelers are also given a briefing by the local guides on why we exclusively partner with sanctioned parks, and what they should do with their trash, for example.

Current Investigations:
We are currently investigating ways to reduce the use of plastic bottles on our safari excursions. Our accommodation partners use filtration systems, and we are looking for ways to implement these systems for clients on the safaris and in the national parks. Further, on our Mt Kilimanjaro treks, we already provide reusable water bottles and use filtered water.

Another environmental issue we are investigating is mitigating our carbon use in our safari vehicles with carbon credits, but we have not implemented this yet.

Social responsibility

Tourism always affects local people. That's why we create new opportunities, learn from one another, and facilitate meaningful connections through travel. Tanzania’s culture is a unique mix of village traditions and a growing urban economy. Made up of 120 tribes, Tanzania is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world meaning loads of opportunities to learn. We provide the opportunity for travelers to engage in authentic experiences with local communities. For example, known for their vibrant clothing and rich tradition, the Maasai are renowned for their expertise with cattle—with a day or overnight trip, clients can experience Maasai culture and life, led by a Maasai guide from that community. Additionally, we support local artisans and craftsmen across Tanzania, supporting community innovation and providing the opportunity for these locals to share their work with international travelers.

After booking, clients are provided with information on the areas they are traveling to in Tanzania. This pre-travel information includes cultural norms in Tanzania, as well as information regarding travel expectations and essential information to be aware of in communities throughout Tanzania. We urge travelers to respect the local culture, practices, and viewpoints. For example, in Tanzania, religion and culture are major guiding forces which means there are areas where viewpoints and traditions tend to be more conservative than in western countries. We ask that clients respect people’s views even if they are different than theirs and what they are used to in their home countries, and provide advice on important norms like how to dress.

Local guides always accompany client visits to local communities and sites—from an excursion to Maasai villages to protected National Parks. This ensures the protection of local environments, as well as minimizes the impact of outsiders and visitors on local communities and areas. For example, we partner with Migomba Cultural Tourism Programme, a small cultural tourism operator employing local people in Mto wa Mbu as tour guides. We use them to operate bike and town tours where the highlight sustainable farming practices in the area.

With regards to future goals, we are currently working towards B Corp Certification. We are hoping to become one of the first companies in Tanzania to earn B Corp certification.

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