Jumbari Family Safaris is a social & eco-enterprise that is right on the ground exploring the immensity of Africa. Only this way they are able to offer expert travel advice and create tailor-made responsible family safaris. And as extraordinary as Africa can be, its ecosystems are also delicate. This is why Jumbari Family Safaris has taken full responsibility to deliver ecotourism experiences that also to uplift local communities through job creation, training programmes, as well as active involvement in the protection of endangered species. From arrival to departure, Jumbari is ready to set you up with the most eco-responsible family safari. Promise it’s ecotourism as its best!
We interviewed the team of Jumbari, based in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s been really interesting to learn about all that is involved in ecotourism and their ethical itineraries, as well as their incredibly powerful impact by partnering up with like-minded organisations and businesses. And as much as we go through all the eco-responsible practices, we also cover those “not-so-responsible” ones that most of us would not be aware of… Without further ado, hope you enjoy this interview with Lisa Nel, General Manager of Jumbari Family Safaris.
Why did you start Jumbari Family Safaris in Cape Town, South Africa?
South Africa is a safari superpower, with unparalleled natural environments and extraordinary wildlife waiting to be discovered. As one of our biggest selling points, it is pivotal for Jumbari Family Safaris to be on the ground so we can offer our clients expert travel advice for Africa based family travel.
What do you stand for in the world of ethical and eco-tourism?
We believe it is our responsibility as South Africans to empower local communities and work together to preserve our delicate ecosystems – from the untamed bush to our untouched coastlines. This is the driving force behind Jumbari Family Safaris.
Our tailor-made responsible family safaris focus on supporting ethical tourism practices that educate our clients and their children on the importance of preserving our unique wilderness and simplify the process of booking a responsible family safari to Africa. We strongly believe in passing on knowledge to younger generations and teaching them the importance of taking care of the environment.
What is the footprint we leave when travelling on a safari?
An African safari invites you to immerse yourself in your natural surroundings and get up close and personal with the fauna and flora that call it home. With camps in remote destinations, it is essential that lodges follow certain eco-practices to avoid harming these unique ecosystems. From non-recycled plastic waste to damaging safari vehicle emissions, choosing a lodge that is not environmentally conscious can have a direct negative impact on its natural surroundings and local communities.
At Jumbari Family Safaris, what are the practices you enable for families to leave the smallest possible footprint?
Creating an ethical itinerary is no ordinary feat. There is a lot of thorough research that needs to be done to ensure that the itineraries you create live by what they say. The team at Jumbari Family Safaris has committed their time to thoroughly research properties that embody our ethos of responsible travel. Starting with sustainable properties that use eco-friendly products, greywater systems, solar power energy, and support recycling efforts, travelling with Jumbari ensures that you will leave a light footprint behind in Africa.
We also aim to use properties that have partnered with great wildlife and community upliftment initiatives. Some of these initiatives include the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa that implement effective environmental programmes throughout South Africa. Or Pack for a Purpose who provide supplies to the local communities you visit. Also, Saving the Survivors who support the fight against wildlife poaching and Fairtrade Tourism who promote responsible travel in Africa.
Our experiential itineraries include wildlife and environmental conservation experiences, educational Junior Ranger Programmes for our younger clients and cultural village visits to connect to local communities throughout Africa.Starting with sustainable properties that use eco-friendly products, greywater systems, solar power energy, and support recycling efforts, travelling with @JumbariOfficial ensures that you will leave a light footprint behind in… Click To Tweet
Could you explain what would be some of the common irresponsible practices when doing a safari that most of us may not be aware of?
The first step to becoming a responsible traveller is to select a responsible tour operator that can help you to explore Africa as ethically as possible. This means that every element of your trip will have been carefully considered to ensure your trip has a positive impact on the environment, wildlife and communities in Africa.
Travellers should consult their responsible tour operator to book eco-sensitive lodges. These lodges should progress to use environmentally friendly amenities, implement energy and water saving systems, source products locally and recycle all their waste. Jumbari chooses eco-sensitive properties that have a limited impact on their direct environment and encourages guests to be aware of their consumption of natural resources.
While travelling, avoid attractions involving animals unless they are verified to be humane by a reputable source. Posing for a photo with a cheetah is not a responsible tourism activity and neither are elephant-back rides.
For the tech-savvy, the use of drones is not allowed within the conservation areas. This rule applies throughout Africa, until such a time as their impact on wildlife and anti-poaching initiatives can be assessed.
Please refrain from giving money to beggars. We encourage our travellers to connect with local communities through established organizations. Out of respect for our local communities, always ask before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes should they decline.@JumbariOfficial experiential itineraries include wildlife & environmental conservation experiences, educational Junior Ranger Programmes for our younger clients & cultural village visits to connect to local communities… Click To Tweet
With what kind of initiatives and organisations have you partnered up to deliver the safari experience in the most eco-responsible way?
And how do you work with these different communities in your local area? And what are the biggest challenges you face when trying to support and uplift them?
Jumbari supports safari lodges and hotels that uplift local communities through job creation, training programmes and connect our guests with Africa’s diverse cultures. Our preferred lodges invite guests to visit local communities and support community outreach efforts.
Just a few weeks ago the United Nations has announced that over one million animal and plant species are in direct danger or extinction. Which are the ones in the most danger in Africa?
In Africa, Rhino, Pangolin, African Elephant and the African Wild Dog are amongst the most endangered species and their numbers have decreased rapidly due to poaching. Deforestation has posed a massive threat to Mountain Gorilla population in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with number dipping below 650.
How does Jumbari Safaris directly contribute to the have a more positive impact on the conservation of these species?
To further support responsible travel in Africa, Jumbari Family Safaris donates 1% of each booking value to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, ensuring that everyone who travels with us leaves a positive impact on Africa. Based in South Africa, the organization is actively involved in protecting endangered species through research and breeding programmes, as well as anti-poaching initiatives. The centre is passionate about passing on their knowledge on conservation to the general public.
What are all the range of destination and experiences you have available at Jumbari Safaris and how can we decide best what could be our next eco-responsible family trip?
Jumbari Family Safaris specialise in travel throughout Southern and East Africa. We craft responsible family safaris that include experiences that leave a positive impact on Africa. Deciding on when and where to travel is highly dependant on what you would like to see and do. Explore the waterways of the Okavango Delta from June to September on our 7 day Botswana and Vic Falls Family Safari which invites you to stay in green camps while giving back to the local community. Witness the Great Migration in the month of June on our 14 day East Africa Children’s Safari which takes guests to tented camps that run off solar power and have a minimum impact on their surrounding environment. Our 12 day South Africa Conservation Safari invites travellers to partake in cheetah, rhino and elephant monitoring, land rehabilitation, alien vegetation control and community outreach programmes.
So let’s say a family books an eco-responsible family safari trip with you. From arrival to departure, how would generally the experience look like?
Our team at Jumbari Family Safaris will tailor make your trip, going above and beyond to book eco-design lodges, that are family friendly. Our expert travel consultants keep your family’s needs in mind each step of the way. We prefer lodges that are energy wise, implement waste management systems, use water-saving tactics and contribute to their local communities and environment.
On arrival at your destination, a Jumbari representative will meet your family and accompany you to your lodge. Jumbari will prearrange an early check-in if required, as well as baby-seats for those travelling with little ones. From ensuring child-conscious travel times to professional child-minding services and engaging gifts for kids on the go – we have thought of everything to make your trip as seamless as possible. Jumbari can arrange private game vehicles for families, as well as babysitters for parents looking for some downtime.
For the little ones, our trips include child-friendly activities, including kiddie-friendly game drives, engaging Kid’s Clubs and educational Junior Ranger Programmes which teach them about wildlife conservation as well as caring for the environment.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to other businesses trying to make a difference for good?
Find out what government organisations, affiliations or NGO’s there are that you can partner with to work towards making a difference. We suggest donating to an ethical trust or charity that makes a difference in your line of business.
If you could write a message on a big wall that the entire world could read, what would it say?
Make once-in-a-lifetime memories with your family while making a difference in Africa with Jumbari Family Safaris.
Finally, where can we find you?
Can’t wait to go on an adventure like this and practice ecotourism? There are other ways to travelling with a purpose, check out Operation Groundswell, a social enterprise that has reinvented volunteering.
What have been your ecotourism experiences so far? Comment below and share it with our community of changemakers!
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