Travel should not purely be about oneself, but about the impact of your travel
Here at Better Safaris, we don’t believe in travelling for travelling sake, but about how we travel to more positively impact our world, ethically, responsibly and sustainably.
One dimension to our travel is by ensuring that an impact is made within the destination we travel to, no matter where you travel, positive impacts can always be made. One such avenue is through aiding medical and educational systems. It’s something we are seeing highlighted more and more, as tourists begin to awaken to their own responsibility, but also how brands and destinations are too. Long gone are the days when companies can simply sell a product to a customer, without implementing a sustainability policy that actively contributes to some form of impact, whether that be environmental, conservation or people orientated.
Indeed, Better Safaris are incorporating our own impact, aptly named the Better World Contribution, which aims to contribute funds to our key charitable partners: The Mercury Phoenix Trust, Operation Hunger (South Africa) and The Mara Elephant Project.
So here, we take a look at a handful of amazing initiatives that have been implemented by various conservancies and parks around Africa. They are an active part in what we call eco-tourism, benefitting African people, as part of your travel to these beautiful destinations – this is done by;
- park and conservancy fees
- booking a safari at the camps within the reserves/conservancies
- initiatives such as Pack For A Purpose
- and direct traveller contributions
MUGIE CONSERVANCY, KENYA
Situated within Kenya’s Laikipia plateau on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, Mugie is home to several endangered species and forms an essential corridor for connecting West Laikipia with the highlands of Mt. Kenya. The Mugie Conservancy aims to engage with communities, government, NGOs, donor bodies and to develop commercial partners to create and facilitate profitable enterprises and opportunities that contribute to regional agricultural communities in order to secure the greater ecosystem, endangered species, biodiversity and habitat in harmony with sustainable development.
Mugie Conservancy have several sustainable development goals, including:
Good health and well being – Mugie’s medical outreach and community building activities contribute to improved health, wealth and peaceful cohabitation.
Quality education – Mugie supplements governmental funds to support additional teachers in the classroom, far exceeding the national average student-teacher ratios. Mugie also promotes vocational education.
There are just two safari camps within the Mugie Conservancy, namely Governors’ Mugie Camp and Ekorian, both are working with local charity The Moyo Foundation to facilitate mobile healthcare clinics that deliver much needed medical services to remote communities. These mobile clinics are supplied with medicines as well as Mugie’s nurse and two volunteer assistants. Currently, Moyo is fundraising to purchase its own vehicle, allowing it to expand services – going further and doing more. The Moyo Foundation also sponsors several students through their education, two of whom are at the Mugie School.
SERENGETI SCHOOL & CLINIC, TANZANIA
If you’re thinking of a safari in Tanzania’s Serengeti and likewise, wish to ensure your travel supports local people, then you are in luck, with our friends at Nomad Tanzania, who operate a collection of safari camps around Tanzania. Through their dedicated Nomad Trust, guests staying at either Lamai Serengeti or Mkombe’s House directly support Merenga School & Clinic.
Villages on the outskirts of National Parks are often supporting their communities on very little resources and run down facilities, and Merenga is no different – located on the north western border of the Serengeti. The Nomad Trust do their bit towards helping the school and its 1000+ students improve their learning environment, as well as supporting the clinic with urgently needed medical supplies.
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
- $50 Provides school stationary and teaching aids for one class
- $250 Provides a new school uniform and school shoes for five students
- $900 Supplies the clinic with basic medical supplies for malaria and water born diseases
- $3000 Buys a solar panel and fridge for storing essential medicines
Currently the Nomad Trust are building an extra block of toilets in the school, supplying educational resources and helping stock the clinic with medicines. Guest donations of supplies and monetary contributions from each safari goes to these camps, and form a significant part of this support in Merenga.
MUMMY’S ANGELS, BOTSWANA
Botswana is home to some of the most renowned and remote safari destinations such as Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta, and it’s within the Delta where we work with Kwando Safaris for many of our safari clients. Kwando offer a collection of safari camps that are both sustainable and environmentally friendly, most operating on solar power and each helping local people – in some of the best game viewing areas in the country.
Kwando Safaris is the lead sponsor of the grassroots initiative Mummy’s Angels, a Maun-based project to support and empower mothers and their newborns in Maun who do not have financial or family support. Mummy’s Angels was started in April 2018 voluntarily by three ladies who have lived in Maun for some years and are familiar with the plight that some less fortunate women face here. Mummy’s Angels started out donating their children’s pre-loved clothes and baby essentials to these ladies in need. Kwando Safaris invites their camp guests to bring some of the requested items with them when they come on safari. For every item donated, Kwando Safaris will also match with a similar item, doubling the impact of each donation.
Has travel ever been so heartfelt?
Please visit the Mummy’s Angels Facebook Page for regular updates.
GONDWANA GAME RESERVE, SOUTH AFRICA
Located on South Africa’s famed Garden Route is Gondwana Game Reserve, and is the only free roaming Big 5 private wildlife reserve in the Southern Cape. As a subsidiary to the safari operation of Gondwana, the Gondwana Conservation Foundation (GCF) was established as a non-profit organization to contribute to the conservation of South Africa’s threatened and endangered wildlife and vegetation through active management, training and skills development of local people.
Part of the foundation’s work is through the Conservation Kids program which invites local schools for fun and educational outings on the reserve exposing them to career opportunities in conservation. Operating in unison is the foundation’s Tertiary Education Fund, which aims to provide a deserving learner in the field of nature conservation an opportunity to do their 3rd year internship on Gondwana Game Reserve – during which time, intern’s spend time with Gondwana’s conservation team in their research, environmental education, day to day reserve management, land restoration and more.
Achieving such education for young people cannot be possible without your support as a traveller to Gondwana Game Reserve. Whilst it’s important for each of us to learn about our natural world, it’s imperative that we see new aspiring leaders in their field, such as young conservationists, come to the fore.
These are just a small selection of amazing efforts across Africa and worldwide, where tourism is having a direct impact. But let us not confuse you, empowering local people must always be our focus, local people don’t want charity, people simply want a fair system and the right tools in order for them to make their own lives better.
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