This company has operated on responsible tourism values since its inception. From an environmental perspective, our initiatives extend from our company offices to our tours. A local green energy provider powers our head office and stores; we encourage cleaner transportation methods for staff; and purchase all supplies from a local green business supplier. Our office is as paperless as possible and our brochures use 100% PEFC certified sustainable paper.
Supporting communties is and always has been at the heart of our tours. We provide business opportunities to local people by employing local guides and tour operators. The majority of accommodation used on our tours are small-scale, locally-owned hotels. Our tours mainly use public transportation wherever possible and are small in size to keep our impact on fragile sites and communities as minimal as possible. We monitor the sustainability of our tours through traveler evaluations in order to allow for continuous improvement. We support the local economy and business initiatives by visiting locally-owned shops, restaurants, and markets on our tours.
Many tours incorporate community projects as a way of supplementing community income and supporting community development projects. In 2003 we founded a non-profit organization as a way for our travelers and our company to give back to the people and places we visit. We develop community projects around the world in the areas of health, education, small business development and environmental conservation. Funds are raised through traveler donations and fundraising. The company pays all administration fees which means that 100% of each individual donation goes directly to the community projects. Each year, we continue to support and develop new partnerships with more community projects and community-based tourism initiatives worldwide, in Latin America, Asia and Africa. On most tours, you have the option to visit a project as part of your trip.
Tour leaders provide travelers with information about local environmental issues in their respective regions, and provide suggestions of how we can best protect the local environment and culture. To reduce the amount of waste created on tours, tour leaders also encourage travelers to use refillable water bottles instead of disposable plastic, cotton tote bags, reusable batteries, etc. We also include destination-specific information in our guidebooks, which are provided to each traveler including information particular to the local culture and environment and tips on how to be a responsible traveler.
On this trip:
Low Impact Accommodation: The accommodation used on a trip can make the difference between local people receiving many benefits or none at all. It can also mean huge impacts or minimal impacts on the environment. On this trip 2 of our nights are spent sleeping in more unique and economical accommodations. First is the sleeper train. Accommodation on the sleeper train is in comfortable twin-share bunk-bed compartments with lockable doors. The beds convert into seats when not in use and luggage is stored under the bottom bunk. The sleeper train doubles as both an overnight accommodation and a method of transportation as well instead of traveling by plane, which not only saves money, but leaves minimal environmental impact, and we always try to use transport that creates fewer emissions. The second unique accommodation available to our travelers is the Felucca. Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and make for an extremely relaxing and enjoyable way to travel down the river. You sleep on the deck of the boat that has mattresses and blankets that are provided. This style of accommodation provides business to locals who operate Feluccas while providing us with a truly one of a kind experience.
Low Impact Transportation: Egypt has lots of options for getting around making less of an impact. We always try to use transport that creates fewer emissions. We will ride the sleeper train, camels also known as “Egyptian Mercedes”, a felucca, donkeys, and walking, only taking planes and charter buses when needed. Getting around as the locals do not only allows you to experience the culture on a deeper level, but the same way it is at home, using alternative methods of transportation is the most sustainable way to go!
Supporting local businesses, culture and world heritage: There are a multitude of opportunities to support local businesses on this trip. From the colorful markets to the bustling food stalls and cafes amid craft bazaars, the choices for eating and handicrafts are endless and the money is staying in the local economy - a vital way for tourism to make a positive impact. Activities that take you to markets, locally owned restaurants, and towns are vital to the local peoples’ ability to truly benefit from tourism. Our style of trip, traveling and eating with the locals, puts you right at the heart of Egyptian culture. People in rural communities, especially in developing countries, often lack access to the economy due to their location, lack of funds, or ability to market their products. Visitors offer them the chance to supplement their income whether it’s simply by buying handicrafts, or eating a meal at a family-owned restaurant, this trip makes contributing to the local economy part of the adventure. Here are some optional activities that can be incorporated into this trip for some real cultural immersion and learning experiences:
• Pyramids of Giza – While once located in remote desert, they now touch the suburbs of modern Cairo. No matter how many photos or documentaries you have seen, your first glimpse of these marvels of the ancient world will take your breath away. As a qualified Egyptologist, your tour leader is able to expertly explain the facts and myths behind these three mammoth works of art. You will also visit the mysterious Sphinx with its lion’s body and man’s face. Time permitting there might be the chance to see inside one of the two smaller pyramids, take a ride around the pyramids on camel back or visit the fascinating Solar Boat Museum with displays on one of the pharaoh’s funerary barges - it may just be the oldest boat in existence!
• Cruise the Nile – In the afternoon we board a local boat known as a felucca, to explore this area of the Nile from the water. Crossing to the West Bank, it's time to board our camels for a short hour-long ride to view the ruined sixth century monastery of St. Simeon. Once again boarding our felucca, we sail past the Agha Khan Mausoleum and make a stop at the botanical gardens on Kitchener Island. Later, we visit a Nubian village, where we'll take a walk around the community before enjoying a traditional dinner at a local home.
• The City of Edfu – In the middle of a bustling village, Edfu Temple is the most completely preserved temple in all of Egypt and thus fascinating to wander through. On arrival in Luxor this afternoon, we check-in to our hotel and the remainder of the afternoon is yours to explore. Why not hire a horse and carriage (calèche) and take yourself off for an orientation tour. Perhaps take a wander through the bazaar or just relax at a cafe with a small, strong local coffee.