Sirikwa – Responsible Travel
Sirikwa Travel team follows a social philosophy that accepts responsibility for the local people and the environment in which we work. We respect the natural environment and the culture of our beautiful country Tanzania, and we help travelers from around the world discover the natural beauty and cultural treasures of Tanzania. As Tanzania is a beautiful country with so much to offer to tourists from all over the world, however in order to preserve that natural beauty it is important to tread lightly, and practice sustainability at every stage of your adventure. We know that responsible travel tries to minimize the impact of tourism on the environment and maximize employment and income-generating opportunities for local communities. We employ local personnel’s like guides, porters, and other members of the team. This means that when you tour Tanzania with us, you are actually supporting local economies and contributes immensely to the welfare of the local Kilimanjaro community.
As responsible tour operators in Tanzania, we strive to maintain a symbiotic relationship with the local communities through which we travel. While trekking to different destinations, we choose environmentally – friendly lodges that respect the needs of their staff members. We take care of our staff as well as our valued clients. During our treks and other trips, we follow a zero garbage policy (“pack in, pack out”) and leave nothing behind in the campsites.
What is Responsible Travel?
Many travelers are unfamiliar with the concept of sustainable travel, or responsible travel. At its simplest, responsible travel is simply visiting a place and then leaving it as you found it: we love sharing our country with others, but don’t believe that its beauty should be damaged by the tourists that Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Go to Safari and visit the beautiful beach of Zanzibar. Responsible travel means experiencing a place like a local: eating local foods, rather than foods that have been imported from overseas or taking your rubbish with you, rather than leaving it out on the mountain side where it could cause a hazard both for the environment and other travelers. It sounds like it could be hard work, but it is actually easier than you think to travel responsibly during your time in Tanzania.
Why Does Responsible Travel Become Our Vital Part?
Sirikwa Travel recognizes the fact that if tourism is not correctly managed it can have a very negative effect on the local people and culture, the environment and the local and national economy. This is particularly true for a country such as Tanzania whose economy depends so much on tourism.
It is obviously important to us that you have a great time when you visit Tanzania, but this must not be at the expense of our national treasures: our environment and our people. As the local tour operator we have a duty to act responsibly and to encourage and promote responsible tourism. The emphasis must be on actions right now rather than just a list of things we would like to achieve in the future. Our goal is to become Tanzania’s foremost responsible tour operator, an achievement which in our opinion is very achievable with our determination. However, visitors must also accept their role in helping us to realize this goal. Only if tourists and travel companies work together can we ensure that tourism can really benefit local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchange and a financial incentive to protect the natural environment.
Sirikwa Travel Responsible Tourism Policy
Our most important responsibility is to ensure that the financial benefits of Tanzania tourism are passed down throughout the entire company, including the office staff, guides, trekking staff (porters, cooks, and guides) and the mountain communities in which we work. We have listed below some of the measures that we have taken to ensure that this is done.
- 1. Sirikwa Travel is a local company with its home office in Moshi. The owner and founder, Oinoth Sirikwa, was born under footstep of Mount Kilimanjaro, he was once a Mount Kilimanjaro porter before establishing his company and name the company after his surname “Sirikwa Travel”. All of our guides, cook, porters and drivers are from the Kilimanjaro region with the majority coming from villages in the surrounding countryside.
- 2. Our Male and Female Porters are all the locals born and raised under the footstep of Mount Kilimanjaro and villages around Moshi. About 95% of the locals around Mount Kilimanjaro they depend the income they get from the climbs.
- 3. Sirikwa Travel we full registered with Tanzania tourist board, we have a tourism license, we pay national sales tax (known as VAT) which is currently 18%, we pay salary tax (4.5%) of guides, cook and porters, medical insurance to our stuffs, Tour Operator Liability Insurance. As you can see we are contributing, on a yearly basis, directly to the Tanzania economy as well as providing work to more than 100 people. This is a big contribution towards the economy of Tanzania. As the government will use the revenue to build schools, hospitals and fulfill other social needs
- 4. Where possible we purchase equipment locally. Obviously all fresh produce and food is bought in local markets and small shops, We use the local accommodations like hotel and lodges so that to make sure the money spent remain to our community.
Sirikwa Travel Responsible Tourism Policy
1. Sirikwa Travel has a zero litter tolerance. On our Kilimanjaro treks all rubbish and waste material is carried out and disposed of in suitable facilities in the main towns and cities. The waste is divided into organic (green bags) and inorganic (black bags). We never bury waste along the route of the trail and certainly never dump rubbish behind a hedge.
2. When campsites do not have proper flush toilets we take a portable toilet and toilet tent.
3. We give all of our clients biodegradable soap to wash with (made locally) and wash the dishes with biodegradable detergent. Dishes are washed in a bowl using filtered water and the dirty water are passed through a fine mesh to filter out any solids before being returned to a suitable outlet (sink, sewer or river).
4. Only clean burning fuel (gas) is used for cooking. Kerosene is not permitted due to the possible dangers to the environment caused by spillage. Camp fires are not permitted on Mount Kilimanjaro and Safari Campsites or in areas considered to be a fire risk.
5. We reduce paper wastage in our office by not producing any form of paper brochures. All communications are by email and paper mail is rarely sent or received. We have reduced the need for paper in our office by the use of computer technology. Reservation details required for the purchase of TANAPA are done online.
6. We have an ongoing training of our staff to ensure high standards of environmental care and responsible behavior. At the end of every trek our clients are asked to fill out feedback from which allows as monitoring and highlighting any areas of our service that can be improved upon.
A Few More Tips
- 1 . Being a responsible traveler isn’t just about the environment: it’s about enriching the lives of the local people you meet too! One of the best ways of doing this is to engage with them: learn a few simple Swahili phrases before you arrive. It’s a great ice breaker and a good way to really experience Tanzania like a local!
- 2 . Avoid anywhere that uses wild animals for entertainment or for a photo opportunity. This is completely against the spirit of responsible travel, and is a horrible life for the animals involved. If in doubt, ask your tour guide.
- 3 . Don’t give money or gifts to beggars. If you wish to support the local people, help the homeless or give gifts to local children then talk to your tour guide – there are plenty of legitimate charities you can support that will ensure your money gets to the right places.
- 4 . Finally, don’t forget to enjoy yourself and smile! A smile is often the most powerful gift you can give.