Crafted Africa, one of Malawi’s leading tour operators, share with us their methods for being a driving force for responsible tourism and how they value sustainability, and focus on community engagement and conservation.
While the travel industry is a beautiful thing, enlightening people from around the globe to different cultures and experiences, there are some dark corners of the world where one’s travel dreams are a nightmare for some exploited for the industry.
Crafted Africa are lucky to be part of an incredible industry community here in Southern Africa, where all their partners are conscious about impacting their surroundings – they operate ethically and go out of their way to support the rural communities and conservation projects surrounding them, and Crafted Africa make sure to make a conscious choice of who they work with and do their part.
Before Crafted Africa sell any lodge or activity, they make sure that they operate sustainably, this means being eco-conscious and focusing on minimising their environmental impact in any way they can, such as Blue Zebra Island Lodge which runs on solar power, and Mumbo Island Lodge which runs completely off the grid with solar power, bucket showers and dry compost eco-loos.
All the lodges they use source as much local food as possible, cutting down on imported foods and the carbon footprint associated with these, and even grow their own fruit and veg on site.
Green Safaris are also a great example of a sustainable company whereby all their lodges are solar run, and at their camps Shawa Luangwa Camp in South Luangwa National Park, and Ila Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park both conduct their game drives on solar powered e-cruisers, Ila even has a solar powered e-boat!
Zomba Forest Lodge which is also off the grid puts a lot of time and effort into their TREEZ reforestation project to protect the Zomba Forest from deforestation, and continuously plant and protect hundreds of trees per year to mitigate tree loss, involving and educating the community as they do so. Donate Here.
We’re also really proud and excited to announce that the Crafted Africa office, home, shop and guesthouse will soon all be entirely solar powered.
All lodges that we Crafted Africa work with in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique employ people from the surrounding communities, training them in the art of hospitality and helping them to support their families. The lodges also make a monetary contribution per bed night sold to a combined community fund which goes towards local community support organisations like Project Luangwa, who fund schools, medical clinics, gender support, sponsorship and vocational training. Donate Here.
A couple of the Zambian companies Crafted Africa work with who put a big focus on community support is Flatdogs Camp, as well as Kafunta Safaris who have three lodges in South Luangwa: Kafunta River Lodge, Three Rivers Camp and Island Bush Camp
In the national parks, the park fees paid per person each day goes straight back into the park to fund the management costs that keeps it running the way it should.
The lodges in and around the national parks contribute to a conservation fund which supports surrounding projects such as research programmes, wildlife veterinary clinics, dog detection unit, ranger patrols and snare recovery. Sungani and Kulandila have donated US$25,000 this year to Conservation South Luangwa, and have pledged to match donations up to US$25,000 by the end of this year, potentially raising US$75,000 for 2022! Donate Here.
These organisations also recognise the importance of community education when it comes to preserving these wild spaces and the wildlife within and around them. They have initiated environmental awareness training programmes in schools and in villages to help combat the issue of human-wildlife conflict, deforestation and pollution. One such project includes Children in the Wilderness, a project set up by Wilderness Safaris across numerous African countries, for example in Liwonde National Park, Malawi, run by the owners of Mvuu Lodge. Donate Here.
You can also be assured that Crafted Africa will never book any activities that exploit wildlife, such as elephant rides, lion walks or petting, or other direct wildlife interactions that promotes the captivity of wild animals for monetary gain; or book any lodges associated with these activities.
Crafted Africa love to support local, and that includes supporting local craftspeople and shops using sustainable materials and that employ and empower people in the area. These items create the perfect souvenirs for travellers; so they always make sure their guests have the opportunity to visit these amazing initiatives during their trip. A few favourites are:
Based on the island of Likoma on Lake Malawi, Katundu was founded in 2006 with the objective of empowering women through artisanal training and ethical employment. Using recycled and natural materials, their workshop has an extremely creative and diverse product range. Their signature range of hand beaded textiles are complimented with statement chandeliers made of recycled glass, clay mud beads and scrap metal, plus interior pieces: wall art, rugs/baskets made from baobab and maize string, and picture frames and furniture made from old disused fishing boats. Kaya Mawa lodge on Likoma Island is the home of Katundu and each stay will include a visit to this incredible workshop.
Based in Mfuwe by South Luangwa National Park, Mulberry Mongoose creates beauty from brutality. Using poachers’ snare wire that has been recovered from the national park, the local Zambian craftswomen who make up their workshop in South Luangwa create African bush inspired jewellery designs. A portion of each jewellery sale goes back into the wellbeing of the park and its wildlife by way of donation to local conservation projects and anti-snare patrols.
Crafted Africa have partnered with Mulberry Mongoose and sell their jewellery in the wine & gift shop at their head office in Lilongwe, Malawi, so if you aren’t making your way to Zambia this time, stop by and pick up a stunning statement piece that all your friends and family will admire.
Also based in Mfuwe, Tribal Textiles works with locally sourced raw materials, hand painted and tailored to create stylish home interior products such as napkins, table cloths and cushion covers, bed spreads, wall hangings, bags and accessories. These are all made right there at the shop and guests can go and see the team at work making these stunning African textiles. They also reinvest 5% of each purchase in local community and conservation initiatives.
If you stay at the Crafted Africa Lilongwe guesthouse, you will notice that they have decorated their rooms with these beautiful products from Tribal Textiles.
Make a conscious choice when you book your holiday and choose agents and lodges that make responsible tourism a priority.
To learn more about Crafted Africa, head over to their page here.
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