Botswana Delta and desert safari

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Responsible tourism

Botswana Delta and desert safari

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

At the company location in the UK there are fifteen staff members. Of these, four work from home (no commuting), one who cycles twenty miles a day to & from work, and another cycles ten miles a day (in summer). The new office that was recently built is very energy efficient. It is well-insulated, the roof is shaded by trees which helps with the building not overheating during the summer months and therefore air-conditioning is not a daily requirement, and it has lots of natural light to reduce electric light usage whenever possible.

The company is located on a former farm and the directors grow fruit and vegetables which are shared with the team (apples, pears, blackcurrants, broad beans, lettuce, mint, courgettes, squashes etc!), so we keep our own footprint low. In addition, there are other members of staff that have home grown products that are available to their team members. As a company, we look to buy energy-efficient computers, and believe in recycling, so the latest computers bought have been both energy efficient and re-conditioned.

As part of our commitment to the environment we have a programme to plant trees in Tanzania, Malawi, Peru etc. through the companyís foundation. This was set up to help alleviate poverty, conserve endangered wildlife, and protect earthís environmental diversity for the benefit of us all. All the projects have a link with tourism in some way, and many benefit the wider world as well as local people, through conserving areas of natural beauty. We donít just look overseas when considering the environment, even at the office the team planted tress in the fields surrounding the buildings to celebrate the companyís 21st birthday in 2019.

As a company we think about our partners overseas carefully. Whereas it is not always possible for them, due to their locations in remote areas, the company ethos is to use properties around the globe that have a similar ethical stance to ourselves. If they can use local suppliers for their provisions, be it food or furnishings then they do, and all offer a variety of menus including vegetarian and vegan/plant-based options. Our partners support the use of solar/renewable energies, and many are looking at ways of switching their current supplies to more eco-friendly options in order to be more efficient. The use of solar, water and air are options in use or being explored, as well as grey water run offs. Energy efficient appliances and practices, card operated in room lighting, low energy bulbs, and a change in laundry practices, are all in operation, and show just a few of the initiatives used. Our partners also use local staff within their properties. Many live on-site in seasonal properties for example reducing the travel emissions of the company, many come from the local villages and communities surrounding the properties. This includes everyone from house keeping to management and the guides that are from the locale.

Due to the nature of the vacations provided by the company, it is impossible to eliminate all flights but where possible we use the minimum flight hours an itinerary can operate with. The packages we have on offer include rail portions in some areas, which keep emissions low, many walking options and shared transportation.

Environment

The company that organises this vacation is a multi-award-winning responsible travel company. They try to ensure that nothing they do at home (in UK) or abroad compromises the environment or wildlife or exploits people. They believe in ensuring that travelers are well-informed, as an informed traveler tend to be a more respectful and sensitive traveler. They also believe in giving back to the country, people wildlife and environments which are affected by tourism.

The company operating our services in Botswana, use qualified guides in order to ensure that the wildlife viewed is done so in such as way as to minimise the impact on the local environment and the animalsí habitat. Low wattage lighting is used, to conserve power, and the sun is used to harness energy wherever possible.

At Chobe Elephant Camp, they have used a sandbag method to build the walls of the camp. They need something to withstand the harsh variances in the temperatures but using bricks and cement did not fit into the ethos of building an eco-friendly camp. The sandbag method uses Kalahari earth, therefore less emissions from vehicle and less pollutants entering the atmosphere. Not only the optimal procuring of building material but also the precise planning of the logistics in camp has had a significant impact on the reduction of the carbon footprint of this area. Their Operations base in Maun is planning, on a daily basis, every movement of any their vehicles to and from their camps, making sure that fuel is used efficiently and not wasted thoughtlessly. All the construction timber and furniture in the Chalets and in the main area comes from local resources and was manufactured on site. The resources are renewable and reclaimed wood. They havenít used any tropical hardwoods, in order to make a positive contribution to the reduction of the massive deforestation as a result of global demand for teak.

Our partner company has located their camps in environmentally sensitive areas and to ensure that the camps cause minimal impact on their surroundings. The company has invested in highly efficient solar generating equipment to operate the camps. All electrical appliances used in the camps are energy saving products - from light bulbs to fans and ice machines. Protecting the environment need not mean going without those all-important comforts while on safari! All wastewater in Kwando Safaris camps is treated using above ground state-of-the-art sewerage treatment plants. This ensures that there is no cross contamination of the soils or ground water through discharge of grey or black water. The fully treated end product is eventually returned to the ground. The use of insulated walling (where applicable) and thatch within the design of the camps avoids the need for cooling systems which use a large amount of power. Insulated cladding for hot water geysers and piping greatly increases the efficiency of the hot water systems by reducing heat loss from the system overnight, especially during the colder months of the year.

For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food Ė all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.

The UK head office has a good policy of recycling, reducing and re-using (electricity, paper, plastic etc). They also buy only fair-trade goods such as tea, coffee, and use biodegradable detergents etc. They also make a point of buying only top eco-rated equipment (e.g. monitors).

Community

In 2009 Waterberry founded Tukongote Community Projects to improve the educational opportunities in nearby villages. They began with one preschool class, and now support over 400 children in 3 preschools and 1 primary school. Their Community Preschool has 3 colourful classrooms, outside classroom, kitchen and feeding shelter and 75 children receive free schooling. Their first Primary School grade opened this year, along with the Tukongote Adult Skills Centre, initially helping adults with reading, writing and maths. They employ 25 local teachers and support staff, 14 of whom they are assisting to gain recognised teaching qualifications. Many of their staff live in these villages. You can experience everyday rural Zambian life as well as seeing the Tukongote projects in action if you join a village walk whilst staying at Waterberry. It is a fascinating insight.

Our partner companies have always backed the local communities with things such as solar lamps, a school bus so the kids don't have to walk to school through wildlife areas, and teen mother projects. They have donated wheelchairs to local medical facilities, school necessities and have outreach programmes and screening the community for transmittable diseases in place. They have a programme in place to help the youngsters of the region gain a reference and certificate of service to allow them to gain full time employment or further education. The 3-month Industrial Attachment Programme allows the trainees to be allocated to all departments of the lodges for a period of between 1 and 3 weeks. During this time the trainees are attached to full time employees and work side by side in a "on the job - practical" manner. This allows the trainees time to not only experience the work at hand but also the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the guests. The youngsters also form part of the Mongoose Research Team an initiative by the Chobe Biodiversity Centre (Caracal) and Chobe Safari Lodge in which the youth observe and capture data on the movements of the mongoose and other wildlife on the Lodge grounds. The trainees also receive a certificate form Caracal for being a Research Assistant for the 3-month period.

In terms of information, all travelers are given guidelines on Traveling with Respect, which includes advice on cultural aspects of your travels as well as protecting the environment. For any community-owned or run project, they also have a Community Tourism Information sheet for travelers to help explain how to get the best from the experience, and what to expect (good and bad). For trekkers, the company have a Porter Policy in place, a copy of which is given to clients. They are also have a Responsible Wildlife Viewing guide too. For anything more specific, e.g. rules about visiting gorillas, this information is also given to clients. In addition, they offer more information about the native people and cultures in a destination country, which all adds to a traveler being more aware.

The company works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally-owned services (hotels etc). They have eco-rated about 300 properties worldwide which they work with closely, so they are very clear which accommodations have good environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information is used to ensure that any traveler wanting to ensure they are really making a difference, can choose between one property and another on eco-issues.

They also promote community-owned projects and services where applicable and possible. Indeed, they were instrumental in setting up two community-owned ventures in Tanzania and Peru.

The company backs a charity with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more. It is a charity we encourage our travelers to donate to if they would like to give something back.

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