These days it’s not enough for tour companies to offer an instagrammable safari experience. It is our responsibility to you to deliver a tailor-made journey that is sustainable in its impact on the environment and ethical in the experiences that we promote. Nowhere is this more prevalent than with animal interactions.
In the not too distant past, trips to Africa may have included experiences like walking with elephants, petting lion cubs and holding baby crocodiles. While we never promoted or arranged these ourselves, we were aware that some of the destinations that we worked with did.
In recent years, this has all changed.
As a SATSA (South African Tourism Services Association) member, we are continuously updating our policies to reflect the progress made in keeping our planet and its inhabitants safe from potential harm caused by travel. When deciding which destinations and/or lodges to work with, we adhere to strict guidelines around the animal interactions that they offer as set out by the SATSA Animal Interaction Charter.
The charter aims to keep animals safe from harm and to promote long-term conservation by strongly encouraging facilities and establishments to ban the following types of interactions:
Performing animals (includes all types of animals e.g. elephants, predators, primates, whales, dolphins, birds and reptiles)
Tactile interactions with ALL infant wild animals (includes cub petting)
Walking with predators or elephants
Tactile interactions with predators or cetaceans
Riding of wild animals (includes riding and sitting both for guests and handlers)
We no longer work with establishments that offer these activities, nor will we arrange them for our travellers.
The itineraries that we offer with animal interactions have all been very carefully vetted by us – from gorilla trekking to whale watching to walking safaris. In many cases, some or all of the fees that you pay are funneled back into conservation funds that protect the creatures you see. Please ask us when you’re thinking about an animal experience; we are fully transparent about how we choose what we offer you.
Travel is the greatest of privileges. To enter a space belonging to someone else, be it man or beast, and to have the opportunity to absorb that experience, can make us better versions of ourselves. It can also leave destruction and harm in its wake if we aren’t socially and environmentally responsible. We are committed to always strive to be better travellers together.