Smart African Travel is a responsible tour operator in Tanzania and run all our safaris in keeping with the following guidelines…
TIES (The International Eco-tourism Society) defines eco-tourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.
All tourism activities potentially have an Environmental, Social and Economic impact on the destination involved. We accept, therefore, that we as Tour Operators in Tanzania should aim to be responsible in all our dealings on each of these three levels. To help us to do so we have proposed a set of guidelines intended to help companies, customers and local suppliers recognise their common responsibilities to:
- Minimize impact
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people
- Raise sensitivity to host areas’ political, environmental, and social climate
- Support international human rights and labour agreements
Where possible we use locally owned and run services and businesses:
Wherever possible staying in locally owned and run accommodation local business’s and their income by using locally owned shops and Supporting restaurants – our safari guides are all Tanzanian and know the areas they guide in as well as the areas and cultures in which you’ll travel.
We encourage our clients through our guides, literature and actions to act in a responsible way towards local people, customs and environment
Where possible, we support accommodation providers who follow specific eco- tourism principles. For new destinations we take into consideration environmental, cultural and economic issues.
By keeping our group sizes small we ensure that our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. Small groups require smaller and less obtrusive support vehicles. By biking and walking, we travel in a low impact manner on the environment.
We take responsibility for our actions in maintaining and improving the environment by.
- Minimizing water and atmospheric pollution and misuse.
- Minimizing litter and disposing of litter in the best way possible.
- Employing environmental considerations into all trip and business planning.
- Upgrading and servicing our vehicles on a regular basis so that we minimize the pollution on the environment.
- Encouraging our guides to use gas to cook with instead of burning firewood from the areas where they stay
overnight. The clients all assist in keeping their traveling environment tidy and clean.
We support local communities by visiting villages and schools on tour where the clients can make donations or where they can purchase handmade products. Some groups arrange to stay for a period of time in the villages and get involved in community work projects. We can arrange township tours and dinners for travelers, therefore supporting the local community and economy.
On your wildlife safari in Tanzania,the activities we arrange help to impart knowledge about wildlife, and educate and enable people to experience and get close to nature.
Most of our tours include visits to Tanzania National Parks which charge a conservation fee and in some cases; a large portion of the entrance fee is given to the local community, In consistently supporting these National Parks throughout Tanzania, we help to further the conservation projects in the respective areas.
Smart African Travel provides regular and ongoing training in the principles and practices of responsible tourism to our Team.
Advice to our Tanzania Eco- Travellers
Smart African Travel is committed to the enjoyment of our beautiful but fragile planet, whilst keeping the environmental and cultural demands upon it as low as possible. Here are some simple but effective tips designed to help you support our objectives.
Language: Hello, thank you & goodbye: Know some lingo! Learning a few words of the local language is a great way to break barriers: greet shopkeepers, waiters, drivers, clerks, etc. It is equally important to say your thank-yous and goodbyes,after all, manners make the person!
Gifts & Presents:
You may make special friendships and experience generous hospitality when abroad. Gifts that are evocative of your home country such as postcards, photographs make ideal presents – Pencils, pens, erasers and T–shirts are also appreciated.
Avoid buying souvenirs that exploit wildlife or threaten endangered species. Buying local souvenirs helps the local economy; whilst it is often customary and even fun to haggle, stop once you have got a reasonable price: the low price you achieve may only be due to the desperation and poverty of others.
Use existing latrines or set up latrines when appropriate. When latrines are not available teach clients the appropriate method of human waste disposal for the environment you are traveling in. Burn or park out toilet paper.
Ensure the bath room area is very private to avoid embarrassing situations for clients
Decrease Anger and Increase Humor.Never demean, degrade, insult or patronize your hosts. Realize that we all have different ways of thinking and different concepts of time and the best way to endure a frustrating situation is to try and see the funny side of it.
Do Your Homework.
A little research on the social, political, and environmental issues faced by the people you are visiting, can only be in your favour. Read the background , political and historic sections of your guidebook e.g. 0, Lonely Planet, Moon Publications and Rough Guides.
Giving To Beggers:
We strongly discourage our guests from giving to beggers as this will foster an attitude of dependency . Instead we suggest giving to a local school, an orphanage, or religious organization.
Be Water Wise:
Be aware of the amount of water used. Where possible, shower instead of taking the bath, Minimize on the leaving of taps running when shaving, brushing teeth or washing your hands.
Do Not Litter:
If no refuse bins are provided, keep your refuse with you until a bin becomes available. At all time, show respect for the environment.
Leave No Trace Ethic:
Follow the Leave No Trace ethic, minimize your impact by leaving no visible sign of your visit.
Be a considerate neighbour. Do not crowd other camps or sleeping areas. When sharing campsites , please do not to produce excessive noise.
Limit the use of fire. They should not be used for warmth ( Except in emergencies ) Put another layer of clothing to keep you warmth. When fires are built , construct a bare minimum fire –ring and only use downed wood.
(Leave pre-conceptions at home) Just as Smart African Travel is committed to minimizing our impact on the natural environment , we are also dedicated to promoting global understanding through positive cultural interactions. We believe that by providing our guests with the opportunity to learn about the local cultures, their travel experience is enhanced and made richer .
To that end , we would ask that you :
Never speak about ‘’Cultural differences ‘’ in a derogatory manner or demeaning fashion. This is a great opportunity for you to deepen your understanding and broaden your acceptance of other cultures.
Please observe local customs in a appropriate manner . Share the local mores , the “ do’s and don’ts, for such things as:
Appropriate dress standard s for various occasions (i.e visiting a temple, rural villages)
Visiting a local home ( i.e gift giving, proper greetings,manners )
Body language (i.e displays of affection are frowned upon aggressive postures are insulting )
Drinking and eating customs (i.e meals are never rushed, always eat with your right hand only,)
The local concept of time is also likely to be less hurried than your own.
You are the visitor, and by showing respect you will be respected and appreciated. Go with the flow and revel in your sense of adventure !
Plants & Shells:
One of the joys of travelling is the spectacular variety of wild plants and shells you will see. These should remain in their natural environment, so avoid picking any. It is also illegal to import some plant species.
Set up the washing areas well a way from streams. Bring wash pans and biodegradable soaps. Insure that soap does not get rinsed off directly in a water source. Keep a well stocked supply of sanitizer and /or hand wipes, please use these, regularly
Try to set up camps in established areas. If this is not possible, set up in an area where foot traffic will do the least damage to fragile vegetation. Camp at least 100’ from water sources. Always provide allocation for daily trash allocation.
Pack out all non – biodegradable garbage. Dispose of all other garbage a manner appropriate to that environment .If no refuse bins are provided, keep your refuse with you until a bin becomes available. At all time, show respect for the environment.
Not A Tourist:
While on Holiday in Tanzania immerse yourself in culture and communities and try to make a difference; don’t just leave with a suntan and photographs.
Global Warming –Our Carbon Balancing Act & Reduce my Footprint.
Smart African Travel is aware that the biggest environmental impact of travelling is in fact the flight: ? Aeroplanes travel in the sensitive upper atmosphere and release a cocktail of greenhouse gas emissions which are a major contributor to global warming.
Our company support ‘carbon balancing’ initiatives. A number of organisations calculate the amount of CO2 generated on a flight and give the traveller the opportunity to offset their CO2 emissions by investing in projects which lower carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
Examples include reforestation programmes where CO2 from the atmosphere gets absorbed by the canopy, providing low energy light bulbs to poorer households, developing community-based hydro-electricity and new cooking fuels. As a company all our staff participate in Tanzania national tree planting day held annually on the 1st of April.
We always strive to plant as many tree seedlings as possible to offset our clients co2 emissions generated by them when they fly to/from Tanzania for their safari holidays. A percentage of your trip fare goes towards purchasing the tree seedlings that we plant.
We also promote some programs run by local communities where our staff and our guests participate in tree planting a long rivers and valleys. By doing this our clients fly ‘’climate neutral’’
Once Back Home….
Continuing Support: You may have come across charitable projects or organisations or been affected by humanitarian or conservation concerns on your holiday. Many tour operators support a wide variety of charitable initiatives or will be able to advise where you can direct your support to ‘put something back’ into the destinations visited.
Feedback: If you have particular comments – positive or negative – about responsible tourism issues on your tour, let us know! We are continually striving to improve our performance and your comments are vital in helping us ensure we act on the issues and operate in a responsible fashion.
P.S. Tourism in Tanzania can be of real and lasting benefit in helping local communities receive much needed income as well as leaving positive cultural exchanges and financial incentives to protect the natural environment for the locals and for future travellers.