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SecretNamibia Joins Responsible Travel Movement by Becoming ‘Friend of TOSCO’

SecretNamibia Joins Responsible Travel Movement by Becoming ‘Friend of TOSCO’

In a move that underscores their unwavering commitment to preserving Namibia’s natural resources, award-winning safari operator SecretNamibia has proudly announced their accreditation as a ‘Friend of TOSCO.’ This partnership marks a significant stride in the company’s mission to support ethical tourism while safeguarding the country’s diverse ecological heritage.

Who are TOSCO?

TOSCO, an acronym for Tourism Supporting Conservation Trust, is a beacon of advocacy for responsible tourism initiatives. Established in 2012 by Félix Vallat, the organisation emerged from a pressing need to address the intricate relationship between tourism, conservation, and local communities in Namibia.

Inspired by the vision of conservationists like Dr. Philip Stander, and driven by a desire to make a lasting impact, TOSCO focuses on initiatives that support climate resilience, education, and wildlife conservation.

At the heart of TOSCO’s ethos lie three fundamental pillars, each indispensable in nurturing responsible tourism practices. Firstly, TOSCO is steadfast in its dedication to mitigating the impact of climate change while fostering resilient livelihoods for local communities. Through proactive measures aimed at sequestering tourism-related carbon emissions, TOSCO endeavours to offset the environmental footprint of travel.

Further, recognising the transformative power of education, TOSCO actively engages in awareness campaigns and capacity-building initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable tourism and conservation. By targeting diverse stakeholders, including the travel community, rural populations, and young people, TOSCO champions education as a catalyst for positive change.

Finally, TOSCO’s commitment to wildlife conservation extends beyond safeguarding individual species to encompass landscape-level conservation efforts. By pioneering innovative tourism-related incentives, TOSCO fosters a harmonious coexistence between wildlife and local communities, thereby ensuring the long-term viability of Namibia’s precious ecosystems.

 Wider Moves to Champion Sustainable Travel

SecretNamibia’s drive to support TOSCO is just the latest move by the Swakopmund-based tour operator to champion sustainable travel.

In alignment with TOSCO’s ethos, the company has implemented a multifaceted approach to encouraging sustainable travel, including partnering with some of Namibia’s most established eco-friendly lodges.

As part of their bespoke safari packages, customers are given the option to stay at camps like Damaraland Camp, nestled in the heart of the Huab River Valley. This intimate hideaway boasts a minimal environmental footprint, with its construction utilising natural materials and its operations relying on solar power. Moreover, the camp actively supports local communities by employing staff from nearby villages and sourcing produce from local farmers.

SecretNamibia’s, whose customer base includes the UK, also proudly works with Serra Cafema, a remote oasis situated in Namibia’s Kunene region. This luxurious camp is a testament to sustainable design, with its construction adhering to strict environmental guidelines and its operations powered by a combination of solar energy and innovative water recycling systems. Additionally, Serra Cafema supports local communities through employment opportunities and by promoting cultural exchange between guests and indigenous populations.

Desert Rhino Camp, located in the Palmwag Concession area, is another jewel in the eco-friendly. The camp plays a crucial role in the conservation of the critically endangered black rhino, with a portion of guest fees directly contributing to the protection of these majestic creatures. Furthermore, the camp’s operations are designed to minimise environmental impact, with solar power and water recycling systems in place.

Community Engagement & Protecting Wildlife

Beyond offering eco-friendly accommodations, SecretNamibia safaris include a range of sustainable tourism activities that directly benefit wildlife and local communities. Amongst the most popular excursions include a visit to the AfriCat Foundation at the Okonjima Nature Reserve. This non-profit organisation is dedicated to the long-term conservation of Namibia’s predators, particularly cheetahs and leopards. Guests can witness firsthand the remarkable work of AfriCat, including their efforts in rescuing and rehabilitating these magnificent felines, as well as their initiatives to mitigate human-wildlife conflict.

Additionally, the safari specialists arrange immersive cultural encounters, such as visits to the Himba tribe, one of Namibia’s last remaining semi-nomadic communities. These experiences provide guests with a unique opportunity to learn about the nomad’s rich cultural heritage and traditional way of life, fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

Changing Attitudes & Preferences

The sustainable travel initiatives pioneered by SecretNamibia come against a backdrop of changing customer preferences, with an increasing number of holiday makers prioritising eco-friendly vacations. This shift is driven by a growing awareness of the environmental impact of tourism and a desire to minimise carbon footprints while supporting local communities and conservation efforts.

Travelers today are increasingly conscious of the fact that their choices have far-reaching consequences, and they are actively seeking out experiences that align with their values of environmental stewardship and social responsibility. The allure of pristine natural landscapes and authentic cultural encounters remains strong, but there is a heightened appreciation for the need to preserve these treasures for future generations.

This paradigm shift has been fuelled by a multitude of factors, including heightened media attention on environmental issues, the rise of eco-conscious social movements, and a growing body of scientific evidence highlighting the urgency of addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. Millennials and GenZ travellers, in particular, have emerged as driving forces behind the sustainable travel movement. As we recently revealed, they’re not just charitable, they have a deep-rooted commitment to ethical consumerism and their desire to leave a positive impact on the places they visit.

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