Conservation and communities are the cornerstone of Rhino Walking Safaris (RWS). This formal Responsible Tourism Policy is drawn up to help management and employees to rationalise, guide and promote our activities in terms of both environment and community and to ensure that as a company we make a meaningful difference to the habitat and wildlife of the Kruger National Park and surrounding communities.
This policy is formulated with the future in mind, and sustainability as its core. This means that Social Responsibility, Environmental concerns and Economic Impact must be key to all decision making, referencing the World Tourism Organizations’ definition of Sustainable Tourism as “satisfying current tourist and host community needs, while protecting and improving future opportunities. It is seen as a guide in managing all resources, in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs may be met, while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.”
Rhino Walking Safaris (RWS) will adopt “best practices” correcting and improving systems and measures implemented in every sector of our business management and operation. Specifically:
- Employ staff locally where possible
- Pay fair wages
- Do not allow or encourage excessive overtime
- Do not employ children
- Apply written policies on HIV, Health & Safety and Discrimination
- Provide a provident fund and funeral benefit for all staff
- Ensure that staff are covered by both Unemployment Insurance and Workman’s Compensation at all times
- Provide opportunities for local community members to get on-the-job training and/or work experience
- Empower local communities through procurement and business linkages
- Support community initiatives taking care of vulnerable children and women
- Support individuals in education (with staff members and their families, then neighbouring communities as a priority)
- Support schools through magazine distribution, prizes and fundraising
- Provide opportunities for voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and counselling for employees
- Educate staff so that they can spread the message of Social Responsibility to our guests
- Partner with NGO’s where possible to make a more impactful difference to our neighbouring communities. It’s not all about BEE points, it’s about the effect on the community.
- Inform and educate staff, guests, trade partners and communities on the importance and benefits of conservation to the local communities. Assist wherever possible to ensure that local communities are in fact benefitting from conservation and sustainable tourism.
- Be proactive in reporting any suspicious activity (possible poaching incidents)
- Ensure that all driving is strictly on the road
- Do not use sensitive dirt roads during rainy periods or immediately following a rainy period (including Mamba Road and the Sleepout Decks)
- Ensure environmental education of guests
- Filter grey water through a reed bed system
- Regularly test grey water returning to the ecosystem
- Switch off generators when not absolutely necessary to reduce our carbon footprint
- Replace generator power with solar where possible (e.g. water pumps)
- Reduce, re-use and recycle wherever possible
- Never shine a spotlight in the eyes of a nocturnal animal
- Give animals their space, do not approach closely, rather stop and allow animals to approach you on their terms
- Make cash and in-kind contributions to SANParks anti-poaching unit through the SANParks Honorary Rangers
- Ensure where possible that buildings have no concrete foundations and can be removed with little need for rehabilitation
- Use locally sourced materials where possible
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products wherever possible
- Re-use packaging materials for curio shop purchases to be wrapped
- Re-use candles and tea bags for fire lighters
- Dispose of harmful substances (oil, globes and batteries) correctly and separately to other waste
- Cut back on and eventually eliminate the use of plastic water bottles
- Provide environmentally-friendly straws at the bar
- Avoid single-use packaging in communal areas (dining room and tea station), and cut down on it in rooms
- Replace food packaging with eco-friendly packaging (cardboard, bamboo etc.) where possible
- Monitor fuel consumption on all vehicles and mechanical equipment to ensure equipment is operating efficiently and economically
- Use low energy light bulbs
- Provide dual flush mechanism in toilets
- Use water reduction devices in showers
- Do not stock products made from or derived from endangered species in the curio shop
- Only purchase (SASSI) green list products as a matter of course. Orange list products only on request, and never purchase red list products
- Never plant exotic plants
- Do not collect any form of fauna or flora from the bush (and don’t allow guests to either – educate them)
- Do not form partnerships or packages with businesses with unethical conservation practices
- Inform and educate guests, trade partners and communities on the importance and benefits of conservation to the local communities. Assist wherever possible to ensure that local communities are in fact benefitting from conservation and sustainable tourism.
- Ensure that staff set an example, and understand that without conservation there would be no jobs, help them to realise the benefits of tourism. Pay ad hoc bonuses in good years.
- Never let decision making sacrifice ethics for income.
- Make wise procurement decisions, support local and small businesses where possible, and do not support unethical businesses.
- Monitor and evaluate economic progress and innovate and improve wherever possible.
Summarised Responsible Tourism Statement
- The sustainability of conservation, the environment and the Kruger National Park in particular must always be a priority in decision making.
- Always consider the impact on and benefit to the community in decision making
- Treat all with respect and fairness