What's the Added-Value Travellers Receive from Embarking on a Responsible Vacation?

Posted under Eco-Tourism Blog by Grootbos on 8th August 2011

Introduction to guest post

We are happy to introduce our first guest blog and feel that it signals an exciting development of valuable content for our readers. Hills of Africa are one of our tour operator partners based in the United States specializing in customized African safari vacations. CEO Sandy Salle recently conducted an interview with our very own Michael Lutzeyer which she will be publishing as two separate blog posts on the 15 and 17 August. We will keep you updated on facebook and twitter. Due to Sandy's experience and commitment to responsible travel we have asked her to share her insight on the subject. With that said, we hope you enjoy the post.

What's the Added-Value Travelers Receive from Embarking on a Responsible Vacation?

Not only can taking a sustainable vacation to Africa help you to become a happier and healthier person, but it can also have a measurable impact on impoverished African communities and the fragile eco-systems of this great continent.

One of the best ways to experience Africa is by staying in a luxury eco-tourism accommodation that offers a variety of exciting responsible activities. As a traveler, you benefit tremendously from the cultural immersion and authentic experience in the African bush.

Most luxury sustainable lodges and camps employ locals on their staff as certified safari guides. These professional guides are extremely knowledgeable of the land and are able to provide you with the best and most authentic experience possible. What better way to learn about a culture than having locals as your hosts?

When you partake in these activities, a large portion of your fees go to these local, certified guides and, in turn, is generated back into the local economy. Not only do these staff members and certified safari guides receive financial support from your stay, but they are also delighted to meet travelers from around the world and learn about various cultures. They are also thrilled to share their unique culture and the fragile wildlife of Africa with others. Therefore, your stay is contributing to supporting the locals while you receive remarkable services and cultural expansion.

Many of these same lodges and camps also have their own wildlife conservation projects and trusts that use some of the fees from your stay, placing them in environmental and community upliftment and education projects. Depending on the accommodation you choose, some employ locals to maintain and plant tree seedlings, help communities establish effective economic and environmentally sustainable practices, enforce anti-poaching laws, reduce human / wildlife conflict, and much more.

When you stay in a low-impact lodge or camp, you can enjoy a completely unforgettable vacation in, arguably, the last natural frontier on earth. And your stay helps to ensure that the environment remains healthy and bustling with biodiversity so that future travelers can enjoy the same type of authentic experience as you.

There are also a variety of tour providers, separate from your accommodations, which offer low-impact tours. Some of these tour providers are even owned and run by community members and experienced safari industry professionals. These tours range anywhere from visiting a local orphanage to spending a day in a local school room, lending a hand in wildlife research initiatives to planting a tree, and taking a cultural bicycle tour to assisting the elderly.

Participating in a sustainable tour or spending a day volunteering is one of the most rewarding and inspirational experiences one could have. When you take part in a sustainable tour or volunteer, you have the ability to explore a world and culture that is both enriching and powerful in its spiritual impact. Your participation in these activities has a tremendous impact on the local communities' an impact that is unimaginable. Many travelers to Africa return home with the burning desire to do more in helping the local communities of Africa thrive.

About Sandy Salle & Hills of Africa Travel:

Hills of Africa Travel is a tour provider based in Huntersville, North Carolina, specializing in customized African safari vacations for families, honeymooners, and anyone seeking a trip of a lifetime. CEO Sandy Salle and expert guide Mark Homann are passionate about sharing the magic of Africa with their clients, and they frequently escort clients and lead group tours throughout southern Africa.

To learn more about planning an African safari tour and to view possible itineraries, including sustainable tourism information, please visit http://www.hillsofafrica.com. And, to keep up with Sandy and Hills of Africa Travel, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

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