From carbon offsetting and collaborations with the Charles Darwin Foundation, here are a wide range of activities perfect for travelers who want to go give back while rediscovering destinations.
Quasar Expeditions - Collaboration with the Charles Darwin Foundation
Quasar Expeditions offers seven-night Galapagos cruises on their yachts the M/V Evolution and M/Y Grace (a wedding gift from Aristotle Onassis to Prince Rainer and Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco). By operating in an ecosystem as sensitive as the Galapagos Islands, Quasar Expeditions is committed to conserving and giving back to the community. Each Quasar trip includes a visit to the Charles Darwin Foundation for guests to learn about their initiatives and how they can make a difference - they are currently teaching about their breeding program to boost the natural population of Galapagos tortoises and iguanas.
Separately, Quasar works directly with Godfrey Merlen, a biologist living on the islands for the past 43 years, whose work on the Galapagos Whale Sanctuary, the Galapagos Marine Reserve and the Biosecurity Agency has been key towards the protection and survival of the Galapagos biodiversity. And, Quasar founded and supports the Galapagos Scouts, a group dedicated to the children of the Galapagos, providing the leaders of tomorrow with the resources needed for conservation education.
Tschuggen Hotel Group - myclimate "Cause We Care" initiative
For the past year, Switzerland-based Tschuggen Hotel Group has partnered with myclimate, a non-profit Swiss organization advising companies on climate protection and sustainable development. The two organizations have worked together to make the hotel group’s five properties CO2 neutral and get their guests involved in conservation through their "Cause We Care" initiative. Through this program, hotel guests can choose compensate for their travels to and from the hotels upon checking in at each property. There are four categories with corresponding amounts to choose from, ranging between $5 and $150 per person, depending on their method of travel and distance from the hotel.
The Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa
The Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa is an exclusive 5-star, all-suite hotel located in Johannesburg’s affluent suburb of Sandhurst that emulates the essence of the city with a property that is a unique blend of rich, cultural history with contemporary touches throughout. More than just an upscale hotel, the Saxon takes pride in supporting the local community and cultural heritage, and training and developing their team. The Saxon has developed a people culture, where staff are encouraged to continually grow, learn and develop. The Saxon accepts a bi-annual intake of trainees in the kitchen, and across other skills and competencies throughout the hotel. The Saxon Wine program has helped offer employment to college graduates looking for a stepping stone into the professional beverage industry. Over the years, many of the country’s certified sommeliers have been beneficiaries of this training program and some have moved on to pursue international opportunities with the skills and knowledge acquired through this program. The Saxon also emphasizes the importance of supporting local businesses and celebrating the heritage of the community. The kitchen makes use of the hotel’s onsite organic garden and sources sustainable items for inclusion in the menus across the hotel. Additionally, produce, food and goods are sourced from local suppliers, with quality ingredients supplied by farmers, herders, fishers, butchers, bakers and artisans, who preserve traditional knowledge and techniques; while also working with the same respect for the environment and animal welfare as the Saxon.
From its family owned origins, Singita’s exquisite portfolio of lodges and camps across Africa have grown into a collection of environmentally sensitive properties, driven by a desire to preserve and protect the most vulnerable ecosystems for generations to come. As Singita strives to honor its 100-year purpose – the guiding light for every key decision and every area of operation, their role is to contextualize the numerous conservation and community projects for guests, while bringing together the funds and trusts to support this far-sighted conservation vision.
This complementary relationship between Singita, individual philanthropists, and the funds and trusts highlight the importance of sustainable tourism in conservation and give meaning to their commitment to safeguard the continent’s most vulnerable species and their natural habitats well into the next century. These funds support a variety of community and conservation initiatives, ranging from K9 support rangers in the Sabi Sands to Early Childhood Development initiatives in South Africa.
Read more about Singita’s Conservation Efforts in the Sabi Sands here.
Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Fregate Island is a luxury hideaway as well as a conservation sanctuary. Guests of Fregate Island are encouraged to participate in the hands-on conservation experiences such as assisting in turtle hatchlings, cultivating sea coral, and visiting the island’s bird sanctuary. Below find some recent updates from the island’s conservation efforts
- Recycling: Fregate Island’s quarterly barge arrived this month and their conservation team really had to get their hands dirty. Organizing the trash and recyclables which has accumulated over the past three months is no easy task, and in total 25 sling bags (2 months of waste) worth of recyclables and mixed waste were sorted.
- Less food wasted, more joy for tortoises: Over the past couple of months, Fregate Island has implemented a new initiative to reduce the food waste on the island. This project consists of collection of all vegetable and fruit waste from the kitchen preparations, which is then fed to the tortoises housed in Fregate’s sanctuary. Over the first four weeks, the tortoises have been fed an astonishing 428lbs of food. Not only does it reduce the food waste on the island, but it also makes the resident tortoises very, very happy.
- Hawksbill Turtle Hatchlings: In the 2019/20 season, over 940 Hawksbill turtles visited the shores of Fregate Island forming 529 nests that were carefully tended by the amazing staff at of the Tortoise Sanctuary. Over the course of the mating season, over 8,000 eggs hatched and 3,300 babies were released back into the Indian Ocean.
As well as being an incredible community of flora and fauna, Tswalu Kalahari is also an extended human family of people from the Kalahari and beyond. Through the Tswalu Foundation, Tswalu is commited to supporting the community through a variety of outlets, including the Tswalu School, which provides education for Tswalu staff members’ children and offers structured learning sessions that are intergrated with creative play and opportunities for kids to explore their surroundings. In addition to youth education, Tswalu’s Adult Basic Education and Training programs assist team members with literacy as well as gaining formal recognition for their skills and knowledge.
Additionally, Tswalu grows their own fresh produce in their vegetable garden and continues to investigate sustainable approaches to small-scale horticulture. By combining traditional techniques with modern, minimal water irrigation techniques, Tswalu has been able to reduce food supply radius while providing their kitchens with new inspiration.
Tswalu also boasts the Tswalu Healthcare Center, which provides vital medical services and healthy education to the local community. The project assists 5000 people per year in the surrounding areas, as well as the Tswalu team members and their families.
Cape Town’s iconic hotel Ellerman House believes that charity begins at home and that part of being South African means that making a contribution, in their own way, to improve the lives of those less fortunate. The Click Foundation was set up in 2012 by the Harris family, the owners of Cape Town’s Ellerman House, to assist with the education crisis in South Africa. The Click Foundation focuses on addressing the South African literacy crisis through the implementation of a multi-year online English literacy program in under-privileged primary schools. The education system in place does not achieve the results that South African youth deserve, so innovation and a different mind-set is required to break this stalemate. The foundation believes that, through effective implementation, technology can shift the paradigm and make a significant impact in an efficient, cost effective and scalable manner. It uses technology in education to pursue outcomes-based interventions. The primary project is the implementation of a foundation phase online English literacy program. It provides individualized, self-paced learning that is interactive and fun and has delivered significant improvements in results. They currently reach over 90,000 learners in 173 schools, have created over 340 jobs for youth facilitators and aim to reach 1 million learners by 2024. The Click Foundation has also grown to adapted their model to include food relief, with chefs Peter Tempelhoff, Rudy Blaauw and their teams arranging special permits to preparing meals for communities in need within the then-closed Ellerman House and Fyn Restaurant kitchens during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Ellerman House guests have the opportunity to join and visit one of the centers during their stay.