The pleasure of travel with purpose: Protect sea turtles in Panama and big cats in Namibia, help victims of landmines in Laos, and lots more with TravelLocal…
TravelLocal, the ‘buy-local’ specialists in tailor-made holidays, has teams of experts in each of its 40-plus destinations. These experts will help you to create an itinerary that will not only take you to little-visited areas of your destination, but will also enable you to engage in securing the future of its people, animals and landscapes.
Here are six of TravelLocal’s top conservation trips:
Saving sea turtles in Panama
From July, thousands of sea turtles of five different species come to lay their eggs on Panama’s Isla Caňas coast. Head for the beaches in the evening where, accompanied by conservation experts, you’ll observe the turtles digging huge holes with their flippers ready to lay their eggs. Travel by boat to Iguana Island, a wildlife refuge with white sand beaches where there are 12 types of coral, over 300 species of fish, dolphins, sharks (harmless ones) and humpback whales. Time in Panama City at the beginning and at the end of the enlightening trip is a treat.
Cost: Eight-day trip from £1,610 pp including B&B plus two lunches and two dinners.*
Island-hopping and helping communities in the Galapagos
For a sustainability-focused adventure that’s exceptionally good value, this trip invites volunteers to help local communities whilst also preserving the landscape. You’ll be taken by boat, with former fishermen as your guide, to an island where albatross, blue footed and Nazca boobies abound. Hotels on the islands are first-rate yet ecologically aware. Some areas you’ll see have barely been visited, and the beaches are pristine.
Cost: Seven-day trip from £3,050 pp including B&B.*
Be engrossed in rural Ghanaian life
This is an immersive trip, slow travel-style, into village life. You’ll have the opportunity to experience rural West Africa utterly authentically, taking part in so many daily activities. Learn to create colourful bead jewellery and a batik cloth (a typical Ghanaian method of cloth-making using dye and stamps); how to weave a basket, to fish, to farm, to cook – or visit a fetish priest (a local figure who communicates between the living and the dead). Enjoy panoramic splendour on gentle hikes, explore the landscapes of Kakum National Park, and bask on palm-fringed beaches, a million miles from the demands of daily life.
Cost: 12-day trip from £1,100 pp including B&B.*
Keeping Morocco’s mountain villages hydrated, and the madness of the medina
Once you’ve had time to absorb the heady sights, sounds and smells of Marrakech – the madness of the main square in the early evening and the serenity of your riad – head into the heart of the High Atlas Mountains via verdant and spectacular gorges and valleys. In Imelghas, you’ll help to provide welcoming villagers with a continuous water supply, enabling them to remain within their traditional communities. Make the desert bloom and help lay foundations that will last far beyond your time in Morocco, securing rural livelihoods for generations to come.
Cost: Eight-day trip from £630 pp including three nights’ B&B and four nights’ full board.*
Understanding bushman tribes and big cat conservation in Namibia
Self-drive is a joy in Namibia: the roads are mostly good, straight and empty. From shadowing bushman tribes in their daily life (including hunting, gathering and craft-making) to volunteering at a big cat rehabilitation centre, and understanding threatened species such as cheetah and leopard, this trip showcases many of the country’s highlights. Distances are long, but the passing scenery is fascinating and forever-changing, so you’ll not feel it. This is an up-close-and-personal encounter with the cultures and wildlife of this fascinating country.
Cost: 16-day trip from £4,180 pp including B&B and most meals.*
Heritage town planning and landmine victims in Laos
After a serious dose of spiritual nourishment in Luang Prabang, take a walking tour led by a heritage town planner who advises on preservation, architecture and city planning. In the Plain of Jars, a megalithic archaeological landscape consisting of thousands of stone jars, you’ll be introduced to the Quality Life Association; its purpose is to help victims of landmines recover and reintegrate into community life. Both boat and tuk tuk safaris by night are a highlight of this enlightening journey.
Cost: 12-day trip from £2,430 pp including B&B plus one lunch and two dinners.*
* All of the trips are based on two sharing. TravelLocal trips include transfers, excursions and the services of a local guide. Travel to the destination is not included, giving more flexibility and allowing customers to book their flights via points schemes if preferred.
For more information, call TravelLocal on +44 (0)117 325 7898 or visit www.travellocal.com.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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