To look up, not down. To look forward, not back. To look out, not in and to lend a hand.
Edward Everett Hale
We are committed to the concept that tourism can and should benefit conservation and host communities. Our holidays and itineraries ensure responsible travel to natural areas of Africa that conserve the environment and improve the well being of local people.
Our principles are:
- Work with camps, lodges and companies in Africa that actively strive to reduce and neutralise their carbon footprint and impact
- Work directly with as many African owned and operated camps and lodges
- Support local African partners many of whom are long time friends.
- Provide positive experiences for our clients that directly benefit local people
- Raise money through various schemes that benefit and empower the local people and contribute to the conservation efforts in Africa
- Contribute to enhancing opportunities for the future of Africa
- Help create better places for the people in Africa to live in, thus better places to visit
- Be ambassadors for Africa
We work with a number of different charities and organisations that place sustainability at the heart of their business, community, culture, customs and conservation.
A non profit organisation set up to assist wonderful and innovative community based projects in Cape Town and South Africa that genuinely make a sustainable difference. We run two initiatives with uThando, tours and financial contribution. Tours: Spend half a day with James, the founder of uThando or one of his team visiting up to three projects. This is an absolutely authentic, meaningful and cultural exchange that also benefits the local poorer communities financially. There are projects around gardening, business, sustainable development, arts, crafts, music and more so we can tailor your half day visit to suit your interests. The tours cover extensive discussion on the history of South Africa, the legacy of apartheid, political, social, economic and cultural issues. Financial contribution We donate a monetary amount to Ubuntu for every guest travelling to South Africa with us.
Encompass Africa has a responsible travel and sustainability policy that will constantly change to adapt to the evolving world we live in. Its purpose is to serve, structure and minimise the tourist impact upon diverse cultures, communities, the environment and the wildlife that we interact with.
This policy outlines the codes of conduct that Encompass Africa is committed to operate by, ensuring that we offer sustainable tourism that benefits host communities economically and is sensitive to indigenous cultures and the delicate environments. These guidelines are positioned at the heart of everything we do and stand for as a company and as individuals. We are committed to creating holiday itineraries that give our clients authentic experiences and a fuller appreciation of all the aspects of their chosen African destinations.
Tourism can absolutely make a difference in helping local communities and wildlife conservation and we are committed to working with you to make a difference. Encompass Africa is involved in measurable community projects.
Encompass Africa is an avid supporter of and campaigner for responsible tourism, practising and promoting this philosophy since inception.Travel can bring many benefits to both the traveller and the countries explored, such as discovering different cultures and contributing to the local community and economy.However, in some cases, travellers can have a negative impact on local communities: local people may be exploited and their environment damaged.
We always encourage our guests to purchase artworks and crafts from local designers and initiatives that support communities. One great example is the Original Tea Bag Company in South Africa.
At Encompass Africa we:
- Inspire our clients to learn about and respect the customs, traditions and cultures of the people and countries we are visiting in order to avoid causing offence to local people through lack of cultural awareness
- Inform clients on how local people can benefit economically from tourism (employing them as guides or drivers, eating out in local restaurants, using family-run or community owned camps and lodges)
- Connect our clients with conservation agencies and NGOs active in Africa and offer opportunities to contribute (time or money) and genuinely make a difference
- Influence clients positively so they become advocates for responsible tourism and travel to Africa.
Encompass Africa is committed to operating responsibly in Australia and Africa. We do this by ensuring our partners in Africa:
- treat staff well and pay fair wages
- respect wildlife and wilderness and take steps to minimise their impact on the environment
- have positive relations with local people
- offer training to staff and community members
- educate staff on clean and safe working environments
Camps and lodges
Encompass Africa prioritises accommodation throughout the continent that is locally owned and operated. Each year we increase the number of camps and lodges we recommend. This is because new owner-run and community run properties come into the market and existing properties recognise the importance of sustainability and set up projects.
Interaction with locals
Encompass Africa is committed to sustainable communities and as such, encourage clients to experience positive interaction with local people. This helps to foster mutual respect and understanding and create economic benefit for the local people.
- builds itineraries that allow for interaction with locals in a way that maximises the opportunity to meet local people and learn about the local culture
- provides employment for local people by using local guides and locally owned and operated services
- encourages clients to respect local customs and traditions to foster respect and understanding and avoid causing offence
- recommends clients learn a few words of the local languages
- advises all clients to ask permission before taking photos. We don’t condone giving money for photos as it can encourage a begging culture. In come cases, being photographed is the individual’s income and in such cases it is up to the individual client to agree to this before taking the photo
- discourages giving to beggars. Whilst in many countries some people depend on begging for their livelihood, we regard giving money as a short term solution to a more fundamental and long term issue. We can recommend numerous charities that accept donations with the money going towards the health and safety of local people
- finds ways where our clients can offer more long term support to the communities visited such as supporting local charities and initiatives
- recommends clients give to local people only in appropriate situations such as to a teacher in a school. We oppose giving directly to children because this can encourage begging. It also undermines parents who can not afford to give their children such items.
- highlights local restaurants and markets where locally produced goods can be purchased providing direct economic benefit to the communities
- recommends clients do not haggle too aggressively as their saving may be somebody else’s shortcoming
Our environmental impact
Encompass Africa is aware that wherever we go or send our guests we are having an impact on the environment. We endeavour to minimise this impact by
- engaging in projects and activities that not only make the environment sustainable but contribute to strengthening it
- recommending clients carbon offset long haul flights
- always taking litter with us and disposing of it in the appropriate way
- asking our suppliers to ensure vehicles are well maintained so they do not cause more pollution
- using alternative vehicles and means of transport where possible
- using camps that commit to eco-tourism and lodges that feature solar power
- encouraging clients to turn air conditioning, lights, TVs and fans off when not in their room at the source of power rather than leaving on standby
- recycling any goods and encouraging clients to adopt the same attitude
- using water sparingly – taking a shower rather than a bath, turning the tap off when brushing teeth, using plugs when shaving rather than leaving taps running
Encompass Africa prides itself on offering clients outstanding interactions with animals in reserves and National Parks. We work with camps, lodges and guides that understand the fragile nature they operate in.
Encompass Africa encourages others to
- respect park laws regarding speed limits, times of driving and off roading
- listen to guidelines and rules, tips given by specialist guides on animal contact
- never feed animals. Giving them food other than or in addition to what they usually eat is likely to make them ill. If feeding is part of a sanctuary, orphanage or breeding facility or human reared animal attraction, be aware that this can be dangerous, transmit disease and be stressful for the animal unless conducted by qualified staff
- not touch wild animals. You may unwittingly pass on disease, distress the animal or put yourself at risk
- avoid shining lights at night directly at animals for long periods of time as this can cause injury to their eyes
- avoid making noises to attract or bring animals and birds into view, keep quiet, let them approach when they feel comfortable, or inquisitive.
- avoid flash photography with wildlife(especially when visiting primates such as gorillas as you will endanger yourself and others around you)
- enjoy snorkeling activities but avoid standing or touching coral
- not anchor boats on coral reefs
- concentrate on using existing trails
- walk single file in the middle of walking trails, even when wet or muddy
- carry a plastic bag for rubbish
- refrain from smoking. Those who cannot survive without a cigarette should carry a resealable bag or tin box for cigarette butts
Encompass Africa should be notified if any local suppliers are neglecting wildlife so we may contact them and discuss the issue in order to find a solution for the protection of the animal/s.
Litter is a huge problem in many countries where there is limited or no infrastructure for waste disposal, let alone recycling facilities. The first step is to ensure that we minimise our use of resources in the first place, in order to generate less waste. We then try to ensure that waste is disposed of in the most effective way possible.
- limits generation of waste
- recycles waste where possible
Encompass Africa encourages clients to
- avoid accepting plastic bags for purchases
- reuse water bottles where possible to reduce plastic bottle waste
- dispose of all litter responsibly. If it is not clear that rubbish bins are emptied regularly, rubbish should be carried out to where it will be disposed of
- take a bag on walks for any rubbish of their own or litter they see on the ground. Leave the environment cleaner than you found it!
Encompass Africa recommends clients
- do not buy items derived from endangered species eg. Ivory, fur and bone
- be aware which goods are from sustainable sources
- be aware of goods that may be manufactured through child labour
- buy direct from local craftspeople and local markets