Travelling with a Conscience
What if taking that trip of a lifetime could not only have a huge positive impact on you, but also on the places you visit and the people who live there? What if you could take it further than simply “doing no harm” or “leaving no trace”? At Jacada Travel, responsible tourism, conservation and empowering local communities are an important part of who we are, something we hope to pass on to our guests.
No matter where you choose to travel to with us, we have community and environmental initiatives that we support, and a portion of our profits goes to ensuring that these groups can continue to do such great work. We are very picky when it comes to choosing the hotels and lodges we work with too, so we choose places that also consider ethical practices and community projects to be vital. And we also favour partners who make use of local guides and drivers. Never be afraid to ask questions. Most eco-conscious lodges and properties are only too happy to talk about their efforts and spread the importance of taking care of our planet and her people.
With all that in mind, we’ve put together some of our favourite places to visit where your trip amounts to so much more than just a memorable holiday.
A leader in conservation
One of the global leaders in sustainability is Costa Rica and we can put together an epic visit that not only unlocks the country’s astounding beauty and culture for you, but also helps you make a positive impact on the places you visit.
The lodges we work with are pioneers in sustainable practice. El Silencio ecolodge, for example, was constructed with the forest in mind and strives to exist in harmony with its delicate surroundings. In addition to going exploring, you can also do your bit by planting a tree. At the safari-style Lapa Rios, you’ll dine on ethically sourced produce and get front row seats to the beauty of the rainforest while causing very little disruption to the ecosystem. Not only do these lodges protect the ecosystems they are in, but through the continued support of international visitors, they are able to feed that assistance into the local communities.
One of the projects in Costa Rica that Jacada partners with specifically is Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR) which works to protect injured and at-risk wildlife in Manuel Antonio National Park. When you book a trip to Costa Rica with us, we donate a portion of our profits to KSTR, so you can be sure your trip will have a positive impact on not just local conservation efforts, but the community as well.
Ecuador’s Mashpi Lodge is a double-threat: it’s both powered with 100% hydroelectricity and it works hand-in-hand with the communities nearby. Both employees of the lodge and those living nearby have the opportunity to become shareholders in the business, an opportunity you don’t always see. In fact, many of the lodge’s employees come from the local communities, having been given professional training so that they can share their knowledge of the forests with visitors. Just by visiting, you will be supporting Mashpi’s conservation efforts, and by extension helping to preserve the forest.
In Ecuador, Jacada supports the Condor Trust, an organisation that helps young Ecuadorians go to secondary school or further their education. Funds go towards buying uniforms, books and other materials they need for school.
If you travel to South Africa with Jacada, you can rest assured that you are having a positive impact on both conservation efforts and the local community. We take great care in selecting the lodges and conservancies with whom we work, making sure they share our ethos of giving back. Singita Lebombo and Sweni are two such properties: staying at either property means your money goes towards concession fees that help ensure the continued conservation of Kruger’s stunning ecosystem. They also support some fantastic local projects aimed at empowering younger generations in the area.
For something a bit different, surround yourself by the remarkable fynbos and forested hills of Grootbos Nature Reserve in South Africa where the focus is on sustainability, preserving the natural environment and also benefitting the local communities through education and entrepreneurial opportunities. Guests can learn about the area’s diversity, both marine and terrestrial, and know that their visit is making a difference.
We donate money to two great organisations in the region: Rhinos Without Borders, which focuses on moving endangered rhinos away from areas known as poaching hotspots in the country to safer environs in Botswana. On a community level, we have forged a strong relationship with Uthando (Love) South Africa which raises funds for community development projects. If you’d like to be more involved than just giving a financial contribution, Uthando also offers guests the opportunity to visit the communities it works with.
We also have a give to special mention to Namibia. Travel there and you’ll discover Wolwedans nestled against the dune of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. The collection of camps prides itself on setting an example in sustainability and working tirelessly on conserving the reserve.
Tanzania and Kenya
Travelling to Tanzania and Kenya not only gives you the amazing opportunity to observe big game, but also – when properly planned – ensures the money you spend goes a lot way in helping local conservation efforts and community projects.
Journey across to the east coast of the Africa where you’ll discover Chem Chem Conservancy in Tanzania. Here you can spend time interacting with the local communities learning about their culture, or head out into the bush with a local Maasai guide. The owners of the conservancy are wholeheartedly devoted to promoting education and social development in the area.
Cross the border in Kenya and spend some time at Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp near to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. The Cottars have worked in partnership with the local Maasai community for years and are focused on offering guests an authentic experience when meeting the community. The Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust has funded a variety of projects like a school and anti-poaching efforts. Also in Kenya, Campi ya Kanzi promotes environmental conservation and community development through ecotourism. Here, the Maasai landowners benefit directly through employment and conservation fees. The camp also boasts a dedicated human-wildlife conflict team as well as a programme designed to uplift women and girls, and more.
Fiji and French Polynesia
At Royal Davui, an idyllic island retreat set on Fiji’s Beqa Lagoon, there is a strong focus on the environment. The resort was designed and built to fit harmoniously into its surroundings. They avoided cutting down old trees with careful planning, making sure all wood used came from sustainable suppliers. The waste water is recycled to be used on the gardens, as well.
Visit the Tetiaroa Atoll in French Polynesia and you’ll discover The Brando with its collection of luxury villas. The management and staff consider caring for the island and surrounding waters as one of their most important tasks. Reducing energy demands is a priority and the resort is carbon neutral and very close to being fully self-sustaining. The Brando also built and gifted an Ecostation to Tetiaroa Society, which focuses on protecting the atoll. This “university of the sea” teaches visitors about the many facets of the island and its surroundings, with a focus on education, conservation and creative science.