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It’s a troubling paradox many countries live with: often, the most impoverished countries attract the most adventurous and wealthy tourists. This is true throughout most of the African continent, a popular safari destination that often forces organizations to prioritize visitors over the environment. When the majority of a country’s economy relies on safari tourists and conservancy visits, these tourist attractions typically take priority over the livelihoods of the local families and farmers, forcing them off their land and deeper into poverty.
In 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Cape Town Declaration was created, defining responsible tourism as tourism that simultaneously improves places for people to live in and for people to visit by considering the impact of tourist opportunities on the surrounding community. Read on to see how some of our favorite organizations promote the harmonious existence of local people and wildlife.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Its beautiful setting combined with its commitment to hospitality and education make Lewa a global leader in responsible tourism. All funds raised by Lewa are directly reinvested back into its programs, which include educational initiatives, small business loans for women, spring conservation, and water distribution for the local community. Read more about Lewa’s Community and Conservation efforts here.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
For over 40 years, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has been dedicated to its conservation and community efforts. Its partnership with the Kenyan Wildlife Service helps empower local families and farmers through its promotion of educational programs for local students. DSWT promotes the harmonious co-existence of local farmers and wildlife by involving them in the patrolling and protection of the conservancy. Learn more in this powerful video we featured in celebration of their 40th anniversary.
Last year, we featured this boutique hotel and highlighted its commitment to educating visitors and protecting giraffes. Set in the heart of an endangered Rothschild Giraffe habitat, the beautiful creatures roam the property at their own will while visitors enjoy sharing meals with them and learning about conservation efforts in the education center. Giraffe Manor is a sanctuary to these creatures and a champion for the species, helping the population increase by more than 1,600 in the last six years. One of our favorite animal lovers recently visited the manor. Check out Ellen's highlights here.
These organizations are just a few of many around the world that seek to expose tourists to authentic experiences that support the local community beyond the economic stimulation they generate. You can support these groups economically by planning a visit to Kenya or making a purchase from our Lewa or DSWT collections. In addition to financial support, you can also get involved through service to organizations like New Hope Initiative, a non-profit group that provides “nutritional, educational, economic, and spiritual assistance” to “change a community forever.” We encourage you to seek out the beauty of the world while supporting organizations committed to serving visitors and community members alike.