Africa Travel Co supports Responsible Tourism practice throughout our operations in southern & east Africa. Wherever you travel there is sometimes an adverse situation happening and as a responsible safari operator we conduct our trips in accordance with the guidelines of the relevant authorities. Africa is an unpredictable continent and your safety and is our primary concern, so at times we may have to change itineraries to avoid problematic situations.

With three operational bases in Africa, we are the only overland company to offer a comprehensive support system to our safaris.

Our offices are situated in Cape Town (South Africa), Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Nairobi (Kenya) and employ out of the local communities for the office staff.

Environment Guideline

While Africa has the luxury of a largely unspoiled landscape in many areas, there are factors that are damaging the environment at an alarming rate. Pollution, lack of education, poverty and high population density with little or no services, take a heavy toll on the land and water resources available.
Africa Travel Co encourages a responsible attitude toward the environment by doing the following in our offices and on the road:
Reservations
Our reservations system makes use of an internal messaging and storage system, thereby reducing the amount of paper usage and postage. All lights, computers and electronic equipment are turned off at night to conserve electricity, and where possible our office waste is recycled.
Marketing
Our brochure distribution is carefully monitored, and the print run is gauged by the amount of brochures needed based on calculations from previous years. This enables us to cut down on unnecessary printing and paper usage, as well as postage and freight across the globe. We have also introduced a digital brochure to further cut the need for paper brochures down. Where possible all information is transferred in digital format minimising the use of CD's and postage.
Operations
Our workshops maintain our vehicles regularly ensuring the engines of our vehicles are in good running order, thereby minimising excess exhaust fumes and carbon output. We also make use of recycling schemes when available for items such as metal, used oil, cracked windscreens, tyres and batteries.
On the Road
Our vehicles are custom built to be self sufficient throughout our longer safaris. Each vehicle is equipped with a water tank with clean drinking water, so that it is not necessary for our clients to purchase bottled water along the way. This minimises the amount of pollution from the disposal of these plastic water bottles. Where possible, shopping is done from markets, therefore making use of local produce which has virtually no carbon footprint. Food left-over's are usually passed on to campsite workers to minimise wastage.
In all National Parks, Reserves and Conservation areas we travel through, we respect the guidelines as set out by the Park's authorities and wherever possible, leave an area in better condition than when we arrived. Our crew also strongly encourage our passengers to practice a responsible attitude towards our wildlife and environment to aid in conserving it for future generations.

Community Involvement

Africa Travel Co. supports Village Kids, part of the Charity Village Association (043-225-NPO). Their main aim is to provide educational and recreational services to underprivileged persons by providing pre-primary education to the underprivileged children of Garden Village Strand (South Africa), and ensuring they are fed at least one balanced meal daily. They also assist the children that attend primary school by offering an after school care facility.
Achievements
24 children attend the schools program on government school days from 7:30 - 13:00, from Monday to Friday. The children taken into this program range from 3 - 6 years, and are taken care of by a teacher and a teaching assistant. All educational tools, books and office equipment are donated by individuals. The main sponsor is The Lions Club in The Netherlands, who have a golf day yearly in aid of this charity, and individual cash donations are received.
A food program has been put in place, where nutritional food is given to children at least once daily. The food is supplied by local hospitality and retail outlets.
An after school facility has been established to support children from Garden Village attending the primary school, with homework and food. This currently has 14 children attending.
How do they achieve this?
The local municipality has offered a building at a reduced rental to accommodate the project , and through an application process a list of children is compiled in order to choose children who are the most in need. Food is supplied by local businesses that donate leftover food, or food outside the sell by date. Also fresh produce and bread are given on a regular basis by local companies or individuals and any additional food is bought from the cash donations received. Food donated is prepared and distributed according to needs.
Who benefits?
The local Garden Village community benefits from Charity Village by having a preprimary school that prepares the children for primary school, as well as aftercare homework program for the primary school children. The children are able to learn and receive at least one balanced meal per day which in turn assists with their well being. The after school program also supplies a place of safety for the children daily as many parents are away at work during the day.
How can you help?
You too can help the Village Kids project by donating your sleeping bags, sleeping mats, blankets, books, school stationery (pencils, writing pads, etc), second hand clothing and shoes (children's or adult clothing) or by making a cash donation directly to them. For cash donations, please contact Joe at [email protected] All other donations can be passed on to your crew, who will deliver it to our Cape Town office for the Village Kids program. Any items not utilized by the school are distributed to the needy residents of the surrounding communities.

Social Guideline

By respecting the cultural and religious differences of the communities we travel through, we hope to encourage responsible, respectful travel. Where opportunities are offered for cultural interaction, we only promote the opportunities that are respectful of the religious and cultural beliefs of the community.
We endeavour to make use of campsites and accommodation establishments that involve their local community in their practices. These establishments have involved their local communities in planning and decision making where possible, and encourages proactive involvement from them. Many of these also offer the opportunity for visitors to learn more about the cultural heritage of the region by giving the community a platform to reach the visitors with. This is done with music, dance and storytelling by community members.
On safari, our crew are almost entirely African and are employed mainly out of South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Zambia. While we do occasionally employ western crew, they are always placed with local crew so that they may enrich and teach each other.

Economic Guideline

We ensure the communities we travel through are involved in, and benefit from tourism by supporting local community projects in the areas we travel through and by shopping in local produce markets along the way.
This assists the local communities as follows:
Community Projects
These vary dependant on the local environment and the resources available to the community. In some areas we take part in village walks, guided hikes and other excursions for a small fee or donation which provides valuable income to the people of the community. On these excursions, there are also opportunities to purchase items made by the local community or in some cases to make a donation to schools or clinics.
Community Markets
Where possible, we choose to stock up on supplies from local markets, to ensure that much needed revenue is returning to the communities we travel through. This assists the fresh food sellers to maintain their seed stocks and gardens and gives them cash in hand to supplement their income. In many cases, revenue from these sales are used to purchase other more expensive food items from supermarkets, or to supply learning material, clothes and medicines to the sellers and their families.
We also encourage travellers to consider purchasing souvenirs from local markets to aid local communities in bringing in much needed revenue.
Optional Excursions
Optional excursions offered along the way are operated by local ground operators. This ensures that the revenue generated by the excursion goes directly to the service provider. In this way, we are able to support many different operators throughout southern and east Africa and provide them with the revenue to grow their businesses, thereby employing more people in the local communities.
Accommodation
In most cases in outlying rural areas, the existence of an accommodation provider has led to other infrastructure being introduced to the community, which has directly benefited its members. This in turn has led to further investment into some areas and has increased employment and the lifestyles of the local communities.

What you can do?

TAKE ONLY PHOTOS
LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS

Africa is a diverse and unique continent with both a very beautiful and a very ugly side to her. Wherever possible, we try to let you experience Africa first hand so that you may get a better understanding of what makes her so unique. We ask that you leave her as you find her. Respect the local communities.
Ask before taking a photo. You probably wouldn't enjoy suddenly being accosted by a group of tourists taking pictures of you! Some people believe that you take away their spirit when you photograph them, so ensure you show them the same courtesy you would appreciate, and ask for permission.
Bargaining for curios is the norm. It is a great way to interact with the locals, but bear in mind they're trying to make a living, so don't bargain just for the sake of it. Be prepared to pay what you think the item is worth.
You will see some of the absolute poverty that grips much of the continent, but will amazed at how people with seemingly so little are able to triumph over their circumstances to come out on the other side with such a generous spirit. In many of the places you visit, you will experience begging in some form or another. Whether or not to give has caused many a heated debate. The answer is entirely personal, but consider the long term consequence of your decision.
If you'd like to distribute goodies, why not ask for permission to take a photo, a smile or a song from the kids and as payment you could let them have a goodie. Please bear in mind that while the kids in your hometown may find sweets a real treat, their moms and dads haul them off to the dentist regularly to get their cavities filled. Many of the areas you visit will not have access to dentists, so instead of sweets, why not bring along some fruit or pens/balls/old clothes/etc. which will be happily received by the kids but won't leave them toothless.