Call it humanitarian tourism. A safari operator has teamed up with the nonprofit AfricAid, pledging to donate $2,000 toward a local scholarship program from each client's booking of its Tanzania tour.
Denver-based Africa Adventure Consultants designed its 12-night itinerary, departing in May, so that travelers can enjoy a classic safari experience while helping to fund a two-year scholarship for a Tanzanian youngster.
AfricAid runs the program, called the Kisa Project, which supports girls' education and leadership training across Africa.
Kent Redding, founder and president of Africa Adventure Consultants, serves on the AfricAid board.
"It's well known that girls who are educated can transform their own lives and positively impact the futures of their communities," said Redding, who has lived and worked in Africa and has developed what he calls "a keen sense of how and where energies and money can be spent to begin to make a difference."
Under the arrangement, $2,000 from each client's booking is donated to the scholarship fund, and another $25 is contributed to other, grassroots humanitarian causes in Africa. In fact, the $25 donation is a standard donation by the tour operator on all of its safaris to any Africa destination.
The cost of the Tanzania safari is $7,995 per person, land only from Arusha. There's a discount for children under 12, and a $750 single supplement.
According to Redding, "Serious travelers, especially ones who have taken multiple trips to Africa, usually want to do something positive for the people they meet and leave the destination better off in some way. It drives to the heart of the concept of traveling with a purpose."
Travelers booking this safari have most likely already been to Africa a number of times and have seen the needs that exist there, noted Redding.
Three days of the tour are focused on AfricAid community programs and interaction with local students, he added.
The journey begins May 23 in Arusha with a two-night stay at Rivertrees Country Inn, near Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru on the Usa River. From here guests visit students and Kisa scholarship recipients to learn of their challenges before overnighting in a classic tented, private bush camp in Losinoni, and game-viewing in Tarangire National Park, famous for its Baobab trees and large herds of elephants.
The journey continues to Tarangire Safari Lodge, a twin-tented camp above the Tarangire River; the Ngorongoro Highlands and the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge; the Dunia Camp in the Serengeti; and a Maasai healing center in the Ngorongoro Highlands.
"By combining a 'pay it forward' humanitarian donation to the worthy cause of education for women and then arranging the opportunity for [clients] to actually meet and interact with their scholarship recipient, [it] creates a very special bond and reward for both," Redding said.
AfricAid was founded in 2001 by Ashley Shuyler, who had traveled to Tanzania with her family at the age of 11. Struck by the poverty she saw there, particularly among children her own age, she became determined to do something to help. Shuyler learned that 95% of girls in Tanzania are not able to complete a high school education, mostly because they cannot afford the school fees. Since its inception, AfricAid has raised nearly $900,000 in its mission to support girls' education in Africa.
Retailers can learn more about the organization at www.africaid.com
, and review the details of the Tanzania trip on the tour operator's site, www.adventuresinafrica.com
. Africa Adventure Consultants operates safaris in Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and the Seychelles.