FAQ: What is conservation travel?

Find out what we do and how conservation volunteering works.

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How is conservation travel different from a safari?

In terms of your experience as a traveller, safaris are typically focussed on sight-seeing expeditions. Conservation travel, on the other hand, is a lot more immersive, involved and hands-on. Unlike a safari, you’ll have the chance to work closely with wildlife and conservation professionals on real projects and initiatives.

Another important distinction comes from motives of these two kinds of trip. Safari companies are primarily motivated by profits. This means they don’t always work in the best interests of the wildlife. Whereas the goal of conservation travel is always to improve the lives and habitats of Africa’s wildlife and communities. Travel is a critical part of our conservation strategy, but there is a much bigger goal in our sights which steers our actions in a positive direction.

How do you select projects to work with?

We have a careful independent selection process that ensures we only work with sustainable, long-term projects where they can prove a lasting, positive impact on wildlife and local communities.

We also ensure that every project we work with has a genuine role and support network for our travellers.

To ensure they’re maintaining the standards which led us to select them in the first place, our team visits each project on a regular basis and we also hold an annual review.

How do you protect the wildlife and communities you work with?

We often work with vulnerable environments and sensitive communities. So we are extremely careful to ensure we have a positive impact. We continuously evaluate our social, economic and environmental footprint and identify ways to improve our relationship with each project and initiative we work with.

Do you adhere to any industry regulations or guidelines?

Yes. We are the only organisation of our kind that has been offered membership of ABTA, one of the world’s most recognised quality standards for travel. Find us at abta.com/abta-member-search (our membership number is Y6702). 

We comply with the UK Package Travel Regulations, which set out strict standards of how we must operate in order to protect our travellers. These regulations apply to all our travellers, wherever they come from in the world.

Your trip will be financially protected through ABTA and ATOL. This means that in the unlikely event we were to go out of business, you will be entitled to a refund of the package price. If you have already started your trip, then your transport home will be covered. It also means that you are guaranteed a full refund if you decide not to travel when the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against travel to your destination.

We are also full members of the Year Out Group, an association of leading UK organisations that promotes the benefits of a well-structured gap year and adheres to specified codes of practice. We also have our own Code of Conduct covering things like participation, behaviour and alcohol consumption that we expect all our participants to adhere to.

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