Our Responsible Travel Policy
Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, accounting for nearly 12% of the world’s GDP. While this creates many benefits that contribute to national and local development, it can also produce negative impacts on the environment and local cultures. These include the depletion of natural resources, pollution from solid and liquid waste, and emissions or land degradation.
However these potential problems can be minimised by travelling in a responsible manner and by influencing others to do the same. Barefoot Safaris aim to limit the negative impact from travel and recommends that travellers follow a simple code of conduct, which we hope will help preserve the beauty of Africa for the generations to come.
What we are doing
There are three strands to our responsible travel policy. The first relates to the way our ulendo’s operate; secondly we provide information to inform our clients on the potential negative effects of travel and help them to act responsibly; thirdly we directly support specific conservation efforts and local projects. Indeed 10% of all profits made by Barefoot Safaris is used to support Conservation and Community Based Projects
Our style of safari
A small group Ulendo will go a long way to reducing the impact of travel.
Staying in local style accommodation or even as guests of locals is also very important. We avoid internationally owned hotels where we can because we want the money generated by our stay to benefit local people directly. Doing this also removes the need for scarce resources to be diverted to provide special tourist facilities.
Contact with local people is a key feature of our safaris and is one of the best ways of creating understanding and tolerance between different cultures (our safari guides will advise clients about do’s and don’ts).
Employing local people wherever we can not only gives our clients a further chance to mix with residents of Africa, but again puts money directly into local hands.
Using local transport is important too – it’s fun and adds variety to a safari but it also provides opportunities to mix with local travellers and channels money into the right hands.
Our qualified safari guide will point out opportunities to purchase local products and will alert you to issues of trade in endangered species. They are trained and briefed according to our Responsible Travel Policy and will help you to minimise any negative social impact, protect the enviroment and to reduce waste. Issues such as energy and water conservation, environmental degradation, reduced use of plastic bottles, carrying out litter, etc. Special measures are also taken to protect the natural environment when trekking or visiting sensitive or fragile eco systems.
In order to limit the social impacts of travel, we provide plenty of information about local religions, customs and sensibilities, as well as background information about food, politics, history etc.
What can you do?
Simply reading this and taking a few moments to think about the impact you personally could make is a start. Being aware of and adhering to our Responsible Traveller’s Code will have an immediate effect – setting an example to other travellers and influencing local people will increase your positive contribution.
Barefoot Safaris donates 10% of all profits for use in support of Conservation and Community Based Projects
Support for Community Projects
We support a number of conservation and social projects and urge you to do the same. If you know of groups or causes that you think might be suitable but that we’re not aware of, let us know. We may be able to support them or bring them to the attention of our clients.
On some Malawi departures we visit an SOS Children’s village and contribute to the project. There are other examples of where our presence has brought direct benefits to local people and the environment, i.e. Chanyoli School
Since January 2003, Barefoot Safaris has donated £10 for every person we take to Malawi and or Zambia to assist with the funding and development of Chanyoli School. Parents and school staff have fired 140,000 bricks and completed the foundation works, now work will begin to erect the building. You may like to bring some books or school equipment to assist this very deserving project and see for yourself how well received it is. We also support the SOS Children's Village, which you can visit in Lilongwe. They would be most grateful for any children's clothes or toys that you might donate.
The Responsible Travellers Code
· Find out about your destination; buy relevant guidebooks and learn about the culture politics, geography, religion and customs of the area before you travel.
· Go equipped with some basic words and phrases. A few words (even just hello, please and thank you) will go a long way towards developing communication and understanding with local people.
· Find out what constitutes appropriate behavior and learn about and respect the customs and beliefs.
· Dress respectfully. It is very easy to embarrass, shame or offend local people by not covering up or dressing appropriately.
· Purchase locally made goods and use locally provided services. Try to put money into the local economy by encouraging trade and the local manufacture of goods and crafts.
· Pay a fair price for the goods and services you buy. Haggling is often a part of local life, but don’t go too far and keep a realistic perspective. What is a trifling sum to you could be a significant amount to a local family (perhaps worth something important to them, such as a meal).
· Ask permission to photograph or video. How would you like it if a stranger came along and took photos of you going about your everyday life; hanging out the washing, going to the gym or walking the dog?
· Avoid conspicuous displays of wealth, especially in very poor communities where you are a guest. Remove watches, rings and expensive jewelry.
· Don’t make promises you can’t keep about sending pictures, gifts, etc…
· Support local community or environmental projects. Rather than giving money to beggars. We can provide ideas before, during and after travel.
· If you want to give something, give stationery to a local school, or something practical, like a pair of warm socks, a needle and thread, or a warm hat. Try to give them to a person in authority and ask them to make a judgment on giving them to those who most need it rather than to a beggar. Don’t hand out money, sweets or medicines. We have a school project, which suits this need.
· When you return home think how you can support programs to help the country you’ve been privileged enough to visit.
· Save the environment, carry out litter, take bio-degradable soap, burn toilet paper, don’t throw away plastic bags,.
· Choose a hotel or tour operator that has a Responsible Travel Policy.
Barefoot Safaris is a Member of the Malawi Tourism Association
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