While this is an easy decision for some, for others it’s a pondering point as you evaluate your own core values and moral obligation versus raw desire; choosing a Tour Operator.
After all, we would all love to be whisked away in our very own private jet seating only your loved ones and ourselves, but this comes at a cost. A cost, not only to your back pocket but also those unseen, that of the environment.
We all know that flying adds a significantly to atmospheric gas emissions and air pollution, but did you know that one round-trip flight between New York and California, generates roughly twenty percent of the greenhouse gases that the average car emits over an entire year.
Obviously the above is a broad and very topical statement, but wouldn’t you prefer to offset as much of this as possible, and expect your tour operator to at least put some weight to this in their thought process before selecting and presenting a fabulous itinerary?
Having spent nearly fifteen years running high-end safari camps, I have witnessed it all from safari operators pumping sewerage directly into waterways, withholding profit share from their entrusted staff, and even threatening to shoot critically endangered birds when they mischievously attacked an unmanned afternoon tea setting.
Fortunately, wannabe safari-goers aren’t subjected to these behind the scenes operational disasters, but wouldn’t you want to know that your friendly travel consultant has gained enough experience and knowledge to sift through the labyrinth of parasitising safari operators to only suggest the real gems. The gems who passionately and routinely practice only sustainable operations, and who contribute handsomely toward the conservation of wildlife and community who make a living within or adjacent wildlife zones.
Choosing a Tour Operator
There are some very well known safari operators who do hold Africa’s conservation largely in their hands, but just as important are the small, lesser-known ones whom each make a difference, whether it be to a single community, family or even species in a geographical area. Operators and individuals who invest a large amount of their time in training and creating a support network for cultures trailing our ever-progressive global development. Cultures which would otherwise fail to exist in this tough climatic condition.
Next time you wish to travel, be sure to ask your consultant what they have done for the greater good of the product they are offering. Moreover, ask them if they can personally vouch for each and every property they offer; after all, it’s your money they’re spending, and therefore you should be rewarded by knowing your contribution is being used to effectively and adequately support the destination you have chosen, for many years to come.
Once you have all of this sorted, you can get on with Planning the Perfect Safari!