Guest Post by Alexis Bonari.
If you want to experience Africa while giving something back, fair trade tours in South Africa are the way to go.
Clean Break: 500 New Ways to See the World by R. Hammond and J. Smith reveals five tours that will help you minimize your environmental impact, get to know the locals, and help local efforts in conservation while having the time of your life.
Canopy Tour in Tsitsikamma Forest
Fulfill your lifelong fantasy of swinging from vine to vine a la Tarzan with the Storms River canopy tour in the Tsitsikamma Forest.
Your guide teaches you about the local wildlife and vegetation while taking stops twenty meters off the ground, from which point you take a deep breath before sliding down steel cables between wooden platforms in the forest (Tarzan loincloth, optional).
It’ll be especially liberating to know that over a thousand local children — to include those orphaned by AIDS — get a free ride annually, thanks in part to your patronage.
Find out more at www.stormsriver.com.
Whale Watching in Plettenberg Bay
Kayaking with whales in Plettenberg Bay makes almost every other whale watching experience a total rip-off. Here, you can paddle out to see them on their annual migration since their path comes so close to shore.
Book a tour with Ocean Blue, purportedly the best whale-watching operator in the region that has also made significant strides in conservation, allowing you to get closer to whales than ever before (within 50 m).
See www.oceanadventures.co.za for more information.
Bike Through Masiphumelele
Through AWOL (Adventure Without Limits), you can rent a bicycle and cruise through Masiphumelele township. There, you can visit crèches, crafts shops, and healers.
You wrap up the tour with a homemade lunch and waving goodbye to the kids who followed you on their own bikes, since the tour allows the town bike shop to repair, sell, and rent out bikes to the community.
Check out www.awoltours.co.za for more information.
Backpack in Soweto
If you want to take strolling through a township a step further, see about staying in one via Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers.
Explore the town at your leisure and experience the nightlife of bars and music.
For more information, go to www.sowetobackpackers.com.
Take a Break at Spier
If you’re worn out from the safaris, treat yourself to some of the world’s finest wines in Spier’s luxury hotel and spa.
If you feel guilty from being so pampered, take comfort in the fact that the nearby Stellenbosch University is making strides in sustainable development.
Besides lounging, you can play golf, ride horses, or visit the cheetah rehabilitation project.
Find out more at www.calabashtours.co.za.
Bio: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching basketball scholarship programs as well as Haitian student scholarships. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.