Psychologists have long extolled the benefits of giving back as a means of boosting our mental well-being and it is a concept that is increasingly woven into that most hallowed of human activities: travel. Here are a few places that prove that getaways and giving back can go hand in hand.
Instead of merely seeking exotic places to suntan and take the ultimate holiday selfie, many travellers are seeking meaning along with a way to contribute to local communities. Indeed, as global travel has become more accessible, and more crowded, adventure junkies and vacationers have been exploring a new brand of luxury, which does not necessarily involve expensive champagne and private chefs.
We found a few for getaways that count to put you on the road to a holiday with a difference.
Cheetah Conservation Fund, Otjiwarongo, Namibia
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in cheetah research and conservation in the wild. Working guests can join them in in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, to learn more about these magnificent animals and their habitat while helping to secure the future of the fastest animals on the planet at a world-class conservation facility. Volunteers are critical to ensure the success of saving cheetahs in the wild and just imagine the stories you’ll have to tell after your holiday!
C.A.R.E. Baboon sanctuary, Limpopo, South Africa
This primate rehabilitation centre on the edge of South Africa’s Kruger National Park was established in 1989 as a refuge for a handful of baboons that had been badly abused by humans. C.A.R.E. has since grown into the largest rehabilitation centre for chacma (Cape) baboons worldwide and is a popular destination for volunteers and tourists.
The facility houses around 450 baboons and has an extremely high success rate of releasing hand-reared, fully formed troops back into the wild. Short-term volunteers at this baboon rehabilitation centre helps to raise orphan babies and take care of adults. If you prefer a longer stint (perhaps a volunteering sabbatical?), consider joining C.A.R.E. for three months to care for and rehabilitate orphaned and injured baboons and other smaller wild animals.
Volunteers are critical to ensure the success of saving cheetahs in the wild and just imagine the stories you’ll have to tell after your holiday!
Cruise with a conscience, Fathom, Caribbean
For travellers who are looking beyond the African continent, Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand offers the opportunity to sail the Caribbean while volunteering in local communities. By way of example, a Fathom cruise in January 2018 visited four islands and assisted the communities affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The Fathom model is different from the traditional cruise experience. Before you set sail you receive emails to introduce you to the areas where you will be helping out as a volunteer. The first two days at sea include Spanish lessons and cultural films. Upon arrival you work with not-for-profit partners on projects such as planting trees and making ceramic water filters.
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