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Timbuktu is making a positive impact

It's time to travel with a purpose...

At Timbuktu, we have spent the last six years giving adventurous travellers the tools to make their dream trips a reality. We’ve created life-changing, multi-country expeditions across Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, honeymoons in Kenya, family reunions in Namibia and proposals in Malawi – and more than a few beach escapes to Mauritius, Mozambique and Zanzibar.

Perhaps most importantly, however, we have forged bonds with the people who call these countries home; those who protect the wildlife we love so much, the local communities that live and work around the incredible safari lodges, and those who take care of the details that make each trip unforgettable.

Positive Impact
Elephant crossing a river in Virunga, DRC. Photo by: Brent Stirton

Sadly, these areas and communities are often under threat as a result of (but certainly not limited to) unsustainable population growth, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, and climate change.

At Timbuktu, we believe one of the key tools for combating these environmental and economic challenges is through responsible, active tourism. We would therefore like to commit to donating $50 out of our own pocket for each booking made with us. Our dream is to empower our guests to travel with a purpose and play a part in leaving a lasting, positive impact on the places and people they visit. And soon, our guests will have the chance to donate an amount of their choice too.

Positive Impact
The brave Virunga Rangers out with their tracking dogs.

Our focus

Our team thought long and hard about where these donations should go and, combining our own passions with the greatest areas of need, we decided to focus on women empowerment, tech education and conservation in education.

Women empowerment

We firmly believe in the role that educating girls and women plays in alleviating poverty and rejuvenating communities. Timbuktu will be partnering with organisations that work to provide women across East Africa with the skills and knowledge to establish a livelihood, improve their community and work towards the future they want.

Fallen Rangers Fund

One of the most biologically-rich protected areas in Africa, Virunga has also been deeply impacted by the decades-long conflict in the DRC. Working in highly dangerous conditions, there are 689 Virunga rangers who serve to protect the park’s wildlife, which includes some of the last endangered mountain gorillas in the world.

Positive Impact
Seamstresses starting their next project.

The fund supports the widows and families of rangers who have been killed while on duty. The organisation has two main focuses: financial support and future stability. Firstly, the fund pays out a salary for six months following the death of a ranger, and provides free medical care and schooling to their family.

Secondly, it offers training programs where the spouses are able to gain new skills and work towards a career in areas like sewing, chocolate making, cookery and engineering. In partnering with the Fallen Rangers Fund, Timbuktu will fund our own project to add to their already thriving program.

Positive impact
Young minds in the classroom with CAMFED. Photo credit: CAMFED/Zuame Buta.

Operating in a number of countries across Africa, the organisation works to provide schooling and resources for girls and young women in some of the most disadvantaged communities. While CAMFED has three core projects (education, women in agriculture and guiding), we will be supporting the education program. CAMFED works in over 6 787 schools across Africa and the funds from Timbuktu will be used towards uniforms and fees. For instance, raising $5000 means 250 girls will attend primary school for a year.

Positive Impact
Desderia, a CAMFED student well on her way. Photo credit: CAMFED/Eliza Powell.

Tech education

As an innovative, tech-based company, working with an organisation who provides tech education was an easy choice. We wanted to match the global need for skilled software developers with the high unemployment rates of under-resourced youth, and we’ve found a company that does just that – right on our doorstep.

Positive Impact
Co-founder, Sihle Tshabalala, and the students at Quirky30.

A Cape Town-based company, Quirky30 was founded by two former inmates and developed by a team from the local communities. Their goal is to provide free training to disadvantaged youth in the areas of coding, design, online digital marketing, IT automation, project management and entrepreneurial skills.

Funds raised by Timbuktu will go towards providing learners with second-hand laptops to ensure their education is unaffected by a lack of resources. In the future, we also hope to establish an internship program at Timbuktu for young adults assisted by Quirky30.

Positive Impact
Hard at work in the classroom at Quirky30.

Conservation in Education

Without the involvement of the communities that surround our parks, conservancies and reserves, these beautiful areas will not survive. The education and engagement of local communities is therefore a crucial piece in the conservation of wildlife and their habitats.

Positive Impact
Conservation in the classroom with iLearnabout.

We believe that an understanding and passion for conservation, sustainable tourism and environmentally-healthy living begins in childhood. This is the driving force behind iLearnabout, a comprehensive, engaging and adaptable after-school program that educates children on these topics and much more.

Designed to work alongside the existing curriculum in Zambia and Kenya, iLearnabout provides teachers with free digital resources, aimed to develop understanding and encourage action at a young age. Being digital, the program is cost-effective, easily accessible and can be used offline. Funding from Timbuktu will go towards training teachers, and sponsoring the software and equipment for a school to implement the iLearnabout program.

We hope you’re as excited about the launch of our Positive Impact initiative as we are, with every safari playing a role in helping the communities and wildlife across Africa to flourish.

Positive Impact
Getting to grips with nature at iLearnabout.
Photos by: Francois D’Elbee