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Travel + Protect

Since we started Tribes Travel in January 1998, we always aimed to offer travellers authentic, high quality holidays, and to do it in a responsible and sensitive way in regards the earth’s natural and cultural assets.

For over 10 years we were pro-active in telling people what we were doing, and we won many environmental and responsible tourism awards in the process. They’re certainly nice to have, and we appreciated receiving them. However, as we grew, even though those ethics never changed, we put less effort into shouting about our core principles, and just concentrated on offering good, authentic holidays.

Tourism has changed a lot over the last few years. Today, one of the big problems facing the world is overtourism, but, sadly, many of the same old environmental and social issues are also still with us: habitat destruction, wildlife poaching, pollution, workforce exploitation ...

As travellers, it’s easy to feel at one remove from any problems in the places we visit. We just want to go on holiday, to enjoy ourselves, see wonderful sights and have incredible experiences. Helping with difficult issues is surely not part of the remit?

We believe that, given the facts & opportunity, most travellers would choose
to make a positive difference to their world.
We hope that our TRAVEL + PROTECT information below
helps point the way to more responsible travel.



TRAVEL + PROTECT: Shared Responsibility

Protecting the destinations that we want to visit is a shared responsibility. We must do our part as tour operators, but it also falls heavily on the people providing the services on the ground, and of course, as travellers we play a key role too. Here are our suggestions of how travellers can help make a difference.

  1. Consider destinations not already overstretched by tourists.
  2. Don’t overlook low season travel - it can be an excellent choice.
  3. Choose accommodations which make a difference in some way.
  4. Look for holidays with good environmental & social credentials
  5. For each booking with Tribes, we plant trees via our Travel Forest.
  6. Help with our charitable projects through a donation.
  7. Avoid damaging activities, such as riding elephants or petting lions.
  8. Be a thoughtful traveller with regards to cultural sensitivities, pollution, use of resources ...

Read on for more details about each of these points

Travel + Protect: your choices

Lodge pool

Consider lesser-known destinations where you’ll get a really authentic travel experience.

As the world population grows and more people get richer, travelling is seen as something we have a right to. Tourism can absolutely be a force for good (eg. helping fight for rare species protection), however, it can also bring problems - too many people concentrated into popular spots, pollution, strains on resources ...

We’re always happy to share great ideas to get you away from the crowds.

Machhu Picchu
Places to Stay

Feel good about choosing properties that really benefit the wildlife, people or habitats of the destination.

On Tribes Travel website, you will find ‘Rooms with Heart’.

On our Specialist websites (see page footer for links), our animal logos such as Twiga the Giraffe (on Tanzania Specialists), explain how properties go that extra mile to help.

Also look out for the in-country ecotourism ratings in Costa Rica, India, Kenya and Botswana. See below for more details.

Holidays with Heart

Look at our ‘Holidays with Heart’ or ‘Remote Nature Tours’ showcasing positive tourism.

These holidays featured on this Tribes Travel website are good examples of how your choice of holiday can make a difference. They’re just ideas, of course - we can make many others. The benefit of a trip could be environmental, wildlife-centred or humanitarian.

What’s not to love about knowing that your hard-earned cash is bringing welcome benefits while you have a great time?

Okavango delta

Sometimes, going somewhere outside of the peak season can bring unexpected rewards.

Going anywhere in peak season not only means it’s going to be busier but also more expensive than at other times. Unless there is a specific reason why peak time is the only time you can go, why not consider mid- or even low-season?

Travelling outside of peak season reduces pressure on that destination, plus your money will go further, there will be fewer people, and you’ll experience popular sites without crowds.


Travel + Protect: your actions

Lion roaring
Respecting People

When you travel, you are visiting someone else’s home. A good guest offers respect.

Travellers should aim to be considerate guests. Simple things like asking to take photos, understanding religious and cultural sensitivities, courtesy, a willingness to give trade (eg buy crafts) from good local sources, and not assuming that money can buy you anything.

Read our ‘Travelling with Respect’ guide.

Couple enjoying the sunset while on safari
Caring about Animals

There are good reasons to avoid certain animal-related activities. For example:

Walking with lions = leads to canned lion hunting.
Riding elephants = fear and pain in training.
Performing animals = encourages captivity.
Big game hunting = why do this?!
Wild animal selfies = encourages poaching
Swimming with dolphins = stresses the animals

Read our articles below.

Leopard Cub
Leaving only Footprints

Let’s not add to environmental problems if it can be avoided.

Our presence will impact on destinations, but we can each act to reduce some potential issues:
- Leave packaging at home. Leave no rubbish.
- Consider your use of any plastic.
- Do not chop down trees or pick plants.
- Don’t get too close to fragile coral reefs.

Read our ‘Travelling with Respect’ guide.

family on safari
Using Resources Thoughtfully

We should not to take natural resources, especially water, for granted.

Most of us are used to showering and bathing when we want, for as long as we want. In dry places, the way we use water must change to take account of its scarcity, through less frequent bathing in less water, and using towels/bedding for longer.

Read our ‘Travelling with Respect’ guide.


Travel + Protect: Philanthropy

Tribes Foundation logo
Tribes Foundation logo

Tribes Foundation

Simply by booking with Tribes, you are making a difference. Every booking helps with The Tribes Foundation, the charity we back with admin and funds. Most clients give additional donations which we always put to very good use with one of the wildlife, environmental or social projects we’re working on.

See our foundation website for more details of our current projects and past successes.

Travel Forest logo
Travel Forest logo

Travel Forest

Through The Travel Forest (part of The Tribes Foundation), we plant trees for every client who travels with Tribes, even if they don’t book flights with us. We don’t charge for this, and it offsets some of their travel carbon footprint. To date (2018) we have planted over 50,000 saplings in Africa and Peru.


2. Email us with ideas for new projects in the countries we work






Guidelines we work by

We have our own overall Tribes Code and environmental policy that we work to, but we also connect with various charities, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and associations which advocate certain policies which we believe are relevant to the experiences we promote.


In-Country environmental ratings

Costa Rica CST logo
Costa Rica - Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST)

This certificate is awarded at five levels, from entry level to the maximum level of coverage of the sustainability criteria in all areas. Besides hotel, local tour operators, attractions and car rentals can also be certified.

Toft Tigers PUG logo
India - PUG Certification

TOFTigers issue a PUG certification to denote a property's ecological practices, support for conservation and their contribution to the local community. There are three levels that can be achieved: Good, Quality and Outstanding, and it gives you the opportunity to make an informed choice based on principals that are important to you. We have highlighted properties with a PUG rating on the Tribes website.

Kenya eco-tourism logo
Eco Tourism Kenya

Ecotourism Kenya promotes responsible tourism practices within the tourism industry. This entails encouraging the adoption of best practices in the use of tourism resources, working with local communities and managing wastes and emissions.

Botswana eco-tourism logo
Botswana - Ecotourism Certification System

Botswana is one of the few countries to set up an ecotourism system for rating lodges and camps in an effort to conserve the country’s natural resources, wildlife and cultural heritage. The Botswana Ecotourism Certification System encourages sustainable and responsible behaviour by tourism businesses in terms of environment, wildlife and people.



Botswana Specialists Costa Rica Specialists Cruise the Galapagos Peru Specialists

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