Our impact on local communities

“Sustainable travel: it may sound like a contradictory concept. One flight is as bad for our beautiful planet as two packs of cigarettes are for a person. Mass tourism does not always have the best impact on a place’s culture, natural environment or on local communities. That’s why we think it is incredibly important to not only make travel climate neutral but also to make a positive impact. Here you can read how you actively contribute to local economies and communities by travelling to Africa with us!”

– Charlie

Our impact on local communities

“Sustainable travel: it may sound like a contradictory concept. One flight is as bad for our beautiful planet as two packs of cigarettes are for a person. Mass tourism does not always have the best impact on a place’s culture, natural environment, or local communities. That’s why we think it is incredibly important to not only make travel climate neutral but also to make a positive impact. Here you can read how you actively contribute to local economies and communities by travelling to Africa with us!”

– Charlie

Present on the ground

Picturing a dusty office in the Netherlands with dreamy photos of idyllic beaches on the wall, where we make bookings behind our computer screens while the rain taps on the window? Not for us, we don’t do it that way! We are on the ground on the African continent, and not just because we love the continent so much. We have offices in Nairobi, Kampala, and Cape Town, and our Angels working from Ethiopia and Tanzania. From here we go on expeditions and explorations to find new routes and uncover places not yet rolled flat by tourists. By living, working, and travelling here, it’s easy to make the right friends and connections to create the best trip for you.

The Charlie's Travels Villa in Nairobi and Kenya

The middleman? There isn’t one! We have direct and personal contact with all our partners. This means we can always drop by to see how things are going, how everyone is doing, and have a cup of Chai (East African tea!). With no middle man, the results of these partnerships are much more beneficial for both parties. We can also be sure that the economic impact of our partnerships with our local partners has the effect we want it to!

Off the beaten track: local partners

We are killing three birds with one stone by looking for new partners in local businesses and communities. WIN-WIN-WIN, right?

AS YOU MAY HAVE READ SOMEWHERE, WE DEVELOP OFF THE BEATEN TRACK JOURNEYS.

We want our globetrotters to have a chance to get to know the real Africa, beyond the confines of the popular safari parks and beaches. And who can give you a better taste than the people who were born and raised on African soil? People, who speak the language, know the history of the area, and are close friends with all other residents in the neighbourhood?

BUT WE CAN ALSO MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE LOCAL ECONOMY.

When we work with local entrepreneurs who organise amazing tours or hikes or welcome travellers to their homestay, this creates jobs in places where people otherwise might have had less easy access to opportunities or markets. Income is created which gives people the ability to take matters into their own hands, to be independent, and to be able to set up a business – this is sustainable!

FINALLY, CULTURAL EXCHANGE IS STIMULATED IN WHICH OUR TRAVELERS GET A GLIMPSE INTO THE LIFE OF THE LOCAL POPULATION:

What do traditional tribes really look like in the modern world? Or living as ambitious young people in urban areas? We don’t offer the embellished performances often put on solely for tourists, we bring you the real deal. Where two worlds really meet and you have the time to get to know each other.

But first … Equal business is the future!

We are talking about development on this page, a term that does require a small comment. The term in this context stems from the Western world, where the definition is determined by what we see from our perspective as developed and underdeveloped (or: the positive aspects to strive for, and the negative things to get rid of). It is good to ask the question: what is the meaning of development for the local communities, based on their own norms and values? Western countries often seem to want to take African countries by the hand when it comes to how they should spend their money. Communities themselves have a much better idea, and ability to determine, what ‘progress’ actually means.

Since the 1960s many charities have invested hundreds of billions in projects on the  African continent to encourage development. And the result sixty years later? Not exactly something to write home about. We believe that business is the future. When partnerships on equal terms are created, communities have the opportunity to earn their own money together, to take matters into their own hands and to stimulate their own development. Want to read more about how we discourage charity by stimulating equal partnerships? Check our page on ethical travel and positive cultural impact!

impact on local communities responsible for travel

OUR ECONOMIC IMPACT: SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES

How does that work? Product development

How do we find our partners? We start by adventuring to off the beaten track locations that have a lot to offer: stunning nature, nice villages or cities, interesting hiking trails, or special wildlife. Of course, we find these places because we travel a lot, we get to know people on the way and ask around for the best tips. But we also use another technique that you might not have expected: Google Satellite! Charlie is often scanning the map like a geologist. Which areas look promising from a bird’s eye view? Which ones still look promising when we zoom in? When a place seems packed with potential, it’s time to hit the road. The backpack is packed, the engine is started, and step on that accelerator! When Charlie arrives at the location and indeed sees promise, it’s time for product development. Where can travellers spend the night when they visit this location? What kind of cool experiences can they do? And the obvious question: who is going to host or guide travellers? This is when special collaborations are started, friendships are made and business opportunities are created for the local communities.

DO YOU WANT TO MEET SOME OF OUR PARTNERS? YOU CAN!

See how Mama Rose receives travellers in her cosy home in the green Taita Hills.

Or watch the video of Brian, our guide in the Kenyan city of Kisumu. Brian set out on a quest with kids’ through the town!

In this video you are introduced to the boys of the Nai Nami tour: they grew up in the slum and have the most interesting stories to tell!

charles is teaching class

How does that work? Collaborate with partners

The connections have been made, the ties forged and the partnerships closed. How is such a collaboration kicked off and maintained? The partners will visit our headquarters in Nairobi – another advantage of being on the ground! – where they receive training on, for example, hospitality and the standards and values ​​of our way of travelling. We also visit our partners, of course, where we check on the accommodation, give feedback, and shoot some great content that we can use to make travellers happy. This process is dynamic and continuously developing so that it does not wear out or age. What do our partners encounter? How can they continue to develop? How can we improve ourselves? What opportunities arise? Are the appointments still up to date? In this entire process, the positive and sustainable development of the community always lingers in our minds. But our ecological impact also plays a role here: how beautiful is it that when a new business pops up in local communities it is a climate-neutral and sustainable business?

Charles with two Maasai men in the river with tires in his hand

How does that work? Africa Inside Out

Africa Inside Out is our project to develop routes and find partners – led by Charlie. Thirteen countries in East and Southern Africa have been turned inside out to find the most off the beaten track routes and most interesting partners in every nook and cranny! And Charlie does not do this alone: ​​on every journey of discovery he is accompanied by a team of content creators: picture a film-maker and a writer. They record the stories of places and partners they encounter along the way. This is followed by mini-documentaries, reports, and blogs. These not only stimulate the business of our brand new partners but bring stories from ‘The Real Africa’ to your laptop and telephone screens at home! Countries that have already been explored are Kenya and Tanzania, but there are many more on the agenda. Just think of Botswana, Mozambique or South Africa. Would you like to know more about Africa Inside out, or view the roaring hot content? Then check this page!

Do you have more questions for our travel consultants?

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