Slow Travel Africa endeavours to give back to the destinations that we visit in many different ways. We select hotels, activities and other products with care, and only work with those that have the same focus on responsible tourism as us. This means that we only work with businesses that:
Employ locally and provide on-the-job training when possible (so that people are given a chance to further themselves)
Provide employees with legal contracts, fair wages and a working environment free of discrimination
Invest in the local economy by sourcing goods and services locally when possible
Actively work to minimise their negative impact on the environment
Support local or national development/conservation projects
That we would never work with anyone who discriminates against people based on their race, religion, social background, sexuality or political believes goes without saying. The same applies to any activities that do not respect local culture and traditions. We value the natural environment immensely, and obviously adhere to all guidelines on how to minimise any negative impact from our visits. In addition, we never engage with motorised activities in natural areas, such as quad biking and jet skis. We strongly oppose the petting of lion cubs, riding on elephants and other similar so called "animal experiences".
We promote local employment by always making use of local guides, and buy as much as we can from small entrepreneurs.
In addition, we give R100 for every person that travels with us to the Bulungula Incubator. If our clients would like to, we can also facilitate further donations directly from them.
The Bulungula Incubator works in one of the poorest and most remote areas of South Africa. It has had a phenomenal impact on the wellbeing of the community through working on four focus areas: education, nutrition, basic services and sustainable livelihoods. Their latest project is to create the Bulungula College, which will provide access to secondary education to a community where before only 5% of learners progressed from grade 9 due to the fact that the nearest college was 25km away (and no transport provided meant that the children had to walk there and back). Without access to decent education, young people in South Africa have a little or no chance to break out of the cycle of poverty created by centuries of oppression. We salute the work of the Bulungula Incubator, and are proud to play a small role in creating positive change for the people that need it most!
Watch this short clip to understand why we are so inspired:
ABOUT THE BULUNGULA INCUBATOR
In a community survey conducted in 2011 by the Bulungula Incubator we found that: in the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area where we are located, just over half (53.8%) of households have had at least one child die and a third of those have lost more than one child, mostly due to diarrhoea, probably caused by the lack of clean water and sanitation.Our offices are located in Nqileni village, the most remote of the four villages of Xhora Mouth.With a population of approximately 800 people, the closest clinic is a 2 hour walk away, there is no potable drinking water, no access to electricity, no toilets and, until recently, school lessons took place under the trees. Only a handful of people from Nqileni have ever succeeded in achieving their final school year certificate. Almost all adults in the village are illiterate. For their livelihoods, the people of Nqileni are reliant on subsistence farming, government grants, wage remittances from migrant workers and, since 2004, income from the community-owned Bulungula Lodge and later from Bulungula Incubator. The health of the population is compromised not only by the inaccessibility of health care provision, but also by insufficient health knowledge, poor nutrition, poor water quality, HIV and cystercicosis. The area thus epitomises the most acute poverty challenges of the country. Despite this, it has an immense richness in other ways: there is a strong sense of community and history, the land is incredibly fertile and breathtakingly beautiful, there are still pockets of excellence in subsistence farming, and the people have a strong desire to work towards improving their situation. It is this combination of difficulties and strengths that make the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area an ideal place to develop innovative responses to rural challenges.