OUR RESPONSIBLE TOURISM POLICY
We believe in low impact tourism to conserve Uganda’s heritage for future generations to also enjoy. Through our active Responsible Tourism Policy we strive to operate in the most eco friendly manner, to “put something back” with projects supported benefiting the local communities of the areas in which we operate as far as possible and provide local staff empowerment within all levels and areas of our operations and actively train and encourage their development. All our safari guides are local Ugandan staff, some of whom have been with us for many years, as can be seen from their biographies (guides biographies)
Our operations are Ugandan registered, fully legal, tax compliant and conform to our basic ethics and standards. We belong to trade associations of our industry such as AUTO, ATTA, and USAGA and where possible we also sit on the boards of these organisations to help with guidance within the industry so that others may also benefit from our experiences learnt over the last twenty years of tourism in Africa.
Our tours are mainly viewing and photographing wildlife – but with as little impact on the wildlife and environment as possible. We choose, where ever possible, to utilise facilities for our guests that comply with these low impact aims – fuel efficient vehicles and boats, accommodation at small intimate camps and lodges and those with sustainable fuels use.
We ensure that we operate our tours in a socially and environmentally responsible manner and encourage our safari guests to also act in a responsible way with insight and understanding whilst in Uganda. Comply with local customs eg not wearing provocative clothing whilst on safari and relax your expectations to be in line with where you are – Africa – it will make your safari more enjoyable and fulfilling.
How you as our guest can assist us?
Participate in the community tourism products we offer, sample local food and buy local crafts as this helps generate income for those people.
If you who wish to make donations eg schooling items, clothes or monetary gifts we would encourage you to do with organisations and institutions we have identified as well organised and fairly run for the maximum benefit to be derived by those that need them. We can also advise on what would be most useful – please do ask us. An example of one of the easiest and well received gifts that can be shared by many is a football – brought to Africa flat and then pumped up and delivered to a group of children at a school.
Some of our preferred projects and community products are listed below
We support visitors participating in the Batwa Experience which was created by the displaced Batwa pygmies to educate their children and to share their amazing heritage and traditions with the world. This cultural site is a project of the Batwa Development Program, a community organization that supports the Batwa at becoming self-sufficient.
It offers an incredible day hike in the rain forest with Batwa guides, see how the Batwa lived and hunted, learn about medicinal plants, and watch for animals and birds. You will share a traditional meal with the Batwa, hear ancient legends and traditional songs, and join in on a mock hunting party. You can even test your skill with a Batwa bow and arrow and participate in traditional dances.
Ishasha Community Uplift Group has been initiated up by ourselves and the Ishasha community to provide help to the local agricultural communities around the camp who live on the fringes of Queen Elizabeth National Park and fight a continual battle between growing their crops and the game incursions which raid them as an easy source of food. Assistance is provided with their locally made craft products being marketed at Ishasha Wilderness Camp, simple training for rural healthy living, saving schemes and small loan administration as well as providing guidance for larger funding that is available for such communities. From a visitor perspective we also offer locally guided tours for visitors of a few of the homesteads including
Deo’s Trench & Model Homestead Tour
Agartha’s Taste of Uganda Tour
Visiting Deo’s & Agartha’s Homesteads provides a wonderful opportunity for you to see how rural Ugandans live. Moreover, they are just off the Bwindi-Ishasha Road, so these tours can easily be fitted into most itineraries.
Bwindi, which is the epicentre of tourism to Uganda and has grown tremendously over the years. We feel this hospital project which has been running for some time plays a big part in supporting this large and scattered community and hence support it with annual donations, and often take visitors to see the work that is being done first hand.
We also encourage support to this organisation which is involved in many productive projects around Uganda including the Elephant trench in Ishasha which is close to our Ishasha Community and Wilderness Camp.
This is a community organisation formed in 2003 by youths in Entebbe who had a passion to conserve the endangered reptiles within Uganda’s ecosystems. After serious observation they realised that many Ugandans were not aware of the value and importance of reptiles and simply saw them as a danger to all humans. By educating the communities and rescuing and rehabilitating reptiles over the last ten years this small organisation has helped to change this perception to a small degree and we support their continuous efforts to do so. The centre can be visited when in Entebbe and you have a couple of spare hours as it is only a few kilometres from the main town area.
OUR LODGES AND CAMPS
Our policy is to be as environmentally friendly as possible and in keeping with this our camps and lodges are small establishments catering for a maximum of 20 guests and with an ecological footprint as small as possible whilst at the same time ensuring that international standards and visitor expectations are met.
We construct from local materials, for example commercially farmed wood, with designs that do not require huge foundations and thick brick walls or use canvas tents that can be easily removed at the end of the term of occupation.
We support local industry by buying as many products manufactured within Uganda as possible when designing and building the lodge or camp – woven bed spreads, local furniture, matting, baskets and local art for décor.
We employ local Ugandan staff in our lodges and camps including in management positions. We also actively encourage their growth and advancement within the organisation often with internal training to assist in this process. Our first source of staff is always from the local communities around the area where the lodge / camp is based and only if skills required are not available do we search elsewhere.
Supplies of fresh food are done locally when ever possible. Menus are tailored to utilise the best of the fresh fruit and vegetables currently available – this is generally a seasonal thing as within Uganda there is a large range of suitable fresh produce available. Amagara vegetable project in Bwindi is one of the regular local suppliers used.
Dry goods and manufactured goods are also purchased locally with the emphasis on Ugandan products – tea, coffee, honey, flour, and sugar to name a few. We avoid using products of manufacturing companies known to not be eco friendly eg recently there was a sugar company involved in a dispute over use of primary forest land and we no longer purchase their brand of sugar.
Our power sources are predominately solar which is used for lighting and limited power supply for charging of computers and cameras. We do not generally offer facilities for hair dryers and other items needing large amounts of power.
Water heating is done with efficient kerosene burners or wood fired stoves that use shavings and off cuts from the local saw mills. No indigenous trees or supplies from within National Park areas are used.
Water supplies are rainfall and gravity fed when ever possible, but where pumps are used they are small independent ones that are linked to storage facilities where it can be efficiently monitored. Use of water is strictly controlled with “bush showers” being used as opposed to piped in water in our tented camps.
Low flush toilet systems are installed at all the camps /lodges and all the linen, towels and other washing is done by hand and sun dried rather than commercial washing machines and dryers.
Guests are encouraged to not have fresh linen / towels each and every day as an added way to also saving on water usage.
Waste disposal systems are designed and implemented in line with Ugandan environmental laws and international practices.
The above seeks to give an overview of our responsible tourism practices developed within our Uganda operations and should you have any specific questions or require further information or clarification we would be happy to assist you – please contact us.