Combining Adventure and LOTS of Unique Experiences on a GS Giving Circle Trip

GS Giving Circle Coordinator, Paige Hasson, recently traveled to So’n Africa with her friends, Yvonne and Vicki, on a  Global Sojourns Giving Circle trip. The trip combined working side by side with our partner projects, a safari at The Hide in Zimbabwe, and time to unwind in Cape Town.

“What I experienced in Africa was not life as a tourist but life as a fully engaged participant.” Paige Hasson

“Africa was a total unknown to me prior to my recent journey. I found it beautiful and awe inspiring (over 3000 photos taken), of course, but what impressed me most was the spirit of the people. In the three countries I visited (Zambia,Zimbabwe and South Africa) the people were upbeat, positive and most of all hopeful and looking to the future. If you enjoy travel, do not let the long journey to Southern Africa keep you from going. It is indeed the journey of a lifetime, 
one that will leave you much richer in spirit for the experience”.  Vicki Coles

Some of the special things they experienced:

  • seeing Victoria Falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • visiting the studio of a local renowned artist and activist
  • attending a “Girl Power!” workshop in Victoria Falls funded by the GSGC
  • experiencing a braai (b-que) in the home of a GSGC partner in Victoria Falls
  • visiting a local primary school
  • teaching games and reading to children at a pre-school
  • listening to Hugh Masekela at an outdoor concert at the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens
  • a wine and cheese picnic at a winery while watching the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean
  • seeing lions feast on their prey in Hwange National Park
  • attending a special sports day for disadvantaged youth
  • cooking “shima” with the chef at the B&B in Livingstone
  • shopping at the Biscuit Mill in Cape Town

Experiences such as these offer our clients an insight, perspective and respect for local people and culture that other visitors may not be lucky enough to have.

For more on their adventures, check out the GS Giving Circle Blog and FaceBook.


A Magical Place for the Soul- Makgadikgadi Pans

What makes this one of our all time favorite places?

  • the endless vistas and unspoilt wilderness
  • the interesting and varied outings with expert guides who make nature and history come alive
  • the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets
  • the privilege of being with the Bushman in a truly authentic manner
  • Uncharted Africa’s camps that keep to the tradition of being un-electrified while having all the comforts (and great style!)
  • it’s a perfect place to “unplug” and take in the energy and wonders of nature

 

You’ll find this special place located in the

heart of the Kalahari Desert

in Botswana

 

Who Really “Pays” for a Good Deal?

Sometimes in the travel industry, a deal really is a deal – you can get low airfare and 7 nights at a hotel in Vegas, for example, and no one is the worse for it. This isn’t always the case in Africa or in many other parts of the world, where the divide between the classes is deep. A cheap price tag for the tourist often means lower or no wages for a porter or guide, and often times, mistreatment. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the industry controlling tourism to Mt. Kilimanjaro.

For many climbers and adventure seekers, ascending Kili is an achievement long sought after. But the price tag can be daunting (upwards of $6k per person) and so, many would-be climbers will comb the Internet searching for cheap deals. Problem is, these cheap deals are very often to the detriment, and even abuse, of the welfare of the workers whose families and livelihood depends on Kili. Unethical, local operators overbook their climbs, overload and underpay their porters and guides, and don’t adhere to high safety standards.

In fact recently, we’ve learned of instances on one of the more popular routes, where guides and porters were forced to sleep outside in the freezing cold, as their “sleeping tents” are used to accommodate the clients of operators who have overbooked their tours. Many operators in the West/US aren’t even aware of these common practices. Such disregard for human welfare happens too often. Even though additional legislation has been put into effect to guard against these outrages, they still occur on a daily basis and workers are often so poor (and illiterate, making them unable to read their “contracts”) that they will accept these unfair working conditions because of a lack of employment elsewhere.

Therefore, be mindful when price shopping and do your research to make sure you are booking with an ethical and responsible outfitter. Work with tour operators who are truly committed to responsible travel and look into monitoring organizations such as the Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project. Everyone wants a deal, but not at the expense of another human being.

Remember that the more “off the beaten path” routes and regions tend to carry with them a higher price tag – which has little to do with the level of luxury and much to do with safety and fair practices. It takes a small team to help one person climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, and every member of that team must be compensated fairly and treated justly. If a price seems to good to be true, it usually is.

At Global Sojourns, we are committed to working with responsible, ethical suppliers with good safety practices and we always have an eye on good value for money for our clients.

A New Day for Zimbabwe?

This month (3/12), Conde Nast features one of our all time favorite safari destinations. We are thrilled they are featuring Zimbabwe’s re-emergence in the tourism market.

Conde Nast’s team travelled to Zimbabwe to see for themselves if the ‘re-born hype’ surrounding Zimbabwe as a tourist destination is well founded. In an interesting yet honest reflection of Zimbabwe, Joshua Hammer titles his article ‘A New Day for Zimbabwe?’ and writes, “For many years travelers have avoided Zimbabwe, aware that the country was ruled by a brutal regime. But Robert Mugabe’s time is growing short, safari lodges are filling up, and the spectacular wildlife is flourishing again.”

Having visited the country several times during both its hay-day and the turbulent political and economic situation, Hammer states , “This time, everywhere I go on my ten-day tour, I’m struck by the beauty, the abundance of wildlife, and the optimism that’s taking hold.”

Check out this informative article (and don’t miss the slideshow on page 2): zimbabwe-safari-lodges-hotels-resorts-restaurants-wildlife-national-parks

 

Photo: Beks Ndlovu, Founder of African Bush Camps, floating in “the hide” at Somalisa Camp in Hwange.