Namibia self drive vacation

Responsible Travel, Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Namibia self drive vacation

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.

On this trip we use a variety of accommodation, from camps to homesteads. Desert Homestead, as an example, uses solar energy as their power supply. This powers the hot water production and operation of the air conditioning as well as all main electrical requirements and is backed by a generator only for emergency use. You will also find that the Swakopmund Guesthouse is run with an eco-friendly approach too, making use of solar energy.

At Etendeka Mountain Camp the emphasis on nature, and this eco-friendly camp bears testimony to her many riches. The camp has been designed to fit into the landscape both aesthetically and environmentally. A stunning eco-friendly open-air “bucket” shower with hot and cold water adds to the bush experience. The camp runs off solar energy and the tents and bathroom have solar lighting. The camp maintains a small footprint and works with a dedicated team from the community.

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

Namibia was the first country in Africa to include the protection of the environment into its constitution. Almost half of the country is under conservation management. This can only work if there is a real benefit and a buy-in from communities living on communal land.

Etendeka and the conservancies support AfriCat North, an initiative to protect Namibia's wild lion populations by educating communities who are being impacted and encouraging adapted livestock management.

The traditional Himba still prefer living the way their forebears hundreds of years before the colonial era or the appearance of westerners. Himba villages close to Opuwa town are accustomed to visitors wanting to learn and experience more about their culture and lifestyle. As part of their responsible tourism community programme, the Opuwo Country Lodge have a standing arrangement with certain Himba villages to include them in their activity programmes. The Himba guides escort guests and translate while guest photograph and interact with the villagers, this means that there is educational value on both sides, and the tribe gains from the experience financially and through the support of the property.

Since Grootberg Lodge was built to benefit and uplift the local community, various initiatives have been launched since completion. Currently 60 people are directly employed at by the lodge while another ten are employed by the conservancy. The lodge is also strongly committed to support the Khoadi/Hoas community by directly assisting the access to education of the most disadvantaged children from the area. An education fund has been set up to assist with the renovation of one of only two primary schools in the Grootberg area. The trust will also lend support to children whose parents cannot afford tuition fees and other requirements pertaining to the children’s education.

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 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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