Welcome to Safaritours.com, where you can embark on the great new world of sustainable tourism based upon the globally recognized 3 Pillars of giving back to local people and the planet including:
• Environmentally-friendly Practices;
• Support for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage;
• Contributing to the Social and Economic Well-being of Local Communities.
Africa is the world’s second largest and second most-populous continent. It covers 6% of the Earth’s total surface area and is four times the size of the United States. It accounts for about 16% of the world’s human population and is home to a large diversity of cultures, spread across 54 countries that touch all four hemispheres of the Planet. At the same time, Africa is also home to many of the world’s most spectacular wildlife species, from rare Lemurs that are found only in Madagascar to the majestic big cats of the Serengeti and Okavango. It has more than 1,100 mammal species, including some 64 species of primates, from Chimpanzees in Tanzania made famous by the conservation work of Dr. Jane Goodall, to the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla, largest of the world’s living primates. Africa also supports about 2,600 species of birds and is unique in its combination of high-density and free-ranging wild animal populations, including large carnivores such as lions, hyenas and cheetahs, and herbivores such as buffalo, elephants, and giraffes. To top it all off, Africa has a rich and vibrant cultural heritage, with some of the friendliest people you will meet anywhere in the world.
The goal of Safaritours.com reaches beyond the continent of Africa as a travel destination. Like most parts of our fragile planet, Africa faces significant habitat destruction, and the illegal market for wildlife products continues to take its toll on Africa’s biological diversity. That is why sustainable tourism is so important to Africa’s future, and the world’s – it represents the positive power of travel to help alleviate poverty and safeguard nature for future generations. We offer Safaritours.com as a platform for a better understanding of the global sustainable tourism transformation underway. We share how you as a fellow traveler can be part of this worthy effort. With our sister site, Galapagos.com, our aim is to provide you with great information for taking the trip of a lifetime, and doing it in a way that also gives back to people and the planet.
Big Five Tours & Expeditions’ sustainable tourism vision was born in the very heart of the company, and harks back to the beginnings of Big Five in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1973, the founder and CEO, Mahen Sanghrajka, had a dream to share the beauty of Africa that he knew, growing up in Kenya, with small groups of like-minded explorers. Early on, before the idea of ecotourism was even born, he was part of helping to establish a code of ethics for wildlife safaris that included prohibiting smoking while near wildlife and training guides to teach travelers about respectful behavior near wild animals (for example – do not shout at an animal or bang on a vehicle roof top to get their attention to take a photograph). Today, those ideas may seem absurdly obvious, but in the early 1970s in East Africa, they were not.
In 1987, Big Five began taking travelers to the Galapagos Islands, and over the years we have witnessed startling and dramatic changes, as ever bigger cruise ships arrived, reminding us once again that fragile environments, like so many other cherished natural places around the globe, are under siege. That is why we are leaders and advocates for sustainable tourism (Big Five twice won the prestigious Virtuoso Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award, and our Founder, Mahen, has served multiple times as a judge for the National Geographic World Legacy Awards in sustainable tourism best practices. For more, visit “Sustainable Tourism”.
Most countries face a myriad of sustainability issues that often cross categories and boundaries. It would be a massive undertaking, more suited to academic research than a travel company, to define all the challenges and opportunities in sustainable tourism that each country faces. So instead, we based our rankings on years of experience creating travel programs in each of these places as an award-winning company committed to sustainable tourism. More than anything else, we wanted to recognize efforts at the country level, from those that are beginning the sustainable tourism journey to those who stand among destination leaders, to help fellow travelers and travel advisors have a quick and easy way to see what countries we believe are helping to lead the way to a more sustainable and brighter travel future. We will continue to update the site and our rankings as our journey continues.