27 January 2012 by Julienne du Toit

Help groundroots tourism through luxury

As Open Africa puts it: ‘Communities and travellers connect – travellers sustain rural communities’ livelihoods and communities enrich the lives of the travellers.’

Ever noticed how Africa is shaped like a footprint? Just add five toes at the top and it just pops out at you.

That’s Open Africa‘s logo. For 15 years, under the patronage of Nelson Mandela, they have been designing and promoting off-the-beaten-track self-drive routes through rural areas of South Africa and beyond.

Here are the rather cheering statistics. They have developed 62 routes in 6 countries and in so doing, have supported 2 600 small tourism businesses which collectively sustain around 30 000 jobs. Around two thirds of the South African jobs have gone to previously disadvantaged people.

All this gives rise to a virtuous circle. As Open Africa puts it: 'Communities and travellers connect – travellers sustain rural communities’ livelihoods and communities enrich the lives of the travellers.' And nature is often conserved in the process.

But if you thank prefer 5-star accommodation with your conservation, Open Africa has just launched a new initiative.

They have developed 62 routes in 6 countries and in so doing, have supported 2 600 small tourism businesses which collectively sustain around 30 000 jobs.

Book through www.openafrica.org/safaris and the tourism destination you book with will make a contribution from your payment to Open Africa’s laudable work with communities.

The lodges you can pick from are some of the best conservation destinations in Africa. In South Africa you can choose from Londolozi, MalaMala, Lion Sands, Shamwari and Kariega Game Reserve.

In Kenya, select from Tortilis, Elsa’s Kopje, Joy’s Camp, Saruni Mara, Saruni Samburu, Kitich Camp, Elephant Pepper, Lewa Safari Camp, Liosaba, Ol Pejeta Bush Camp and Cottar’s 1920s Camp.

All are committed to responsible tourism and conserving the environments of their particular corners of Africa.

So you can support conservation and community development while going on a luxury safari holiday, which is a good deal, whichever way you look at it.

Category: Responsible Tourism

comments powered by Disqus