Engaging respectfully and ethically with our staff, clients and the communities we partner with is an absolute. We can’t imagine any other way to do business!
Kilimanjaro Porters and Guides
Africa’s tallest mountain provides a livelihood to thousands of men and women. Many of them work as porters, carrying food, tents, safety equipment and personal items for trekking expeditions. Kilimanjaro should never be taken lightly, particularly the with regards to the treatment of porters. The mistreatment of porters in these extreme conditions, as we have witnessed with many budget-style companies has led to avoidable deaths on the mountain.
African Environments led the way in the early 90’s, being the first to register porters, give them training, and we are one of only a handful of companies who pay above the recommended salary. These practices continue to be praised by partnering organisations like KPAP. Our porters are also fed properly, sleep in sturdy tents, and are transported to and from the mountain where the hike begins.
Over the years we have developed systems that we feel have brought about more professionalism within porter groups. For example, insisting that they have their own equipment for an expedition gives each porter the feeling that he or she has earned their place, and take the work seriously.
Developing systems to avoid corruption and the ill-treatment of porters has been an on-going commitment of African Environments, one that we feel has brought up the standard in the entire industry. African Environments Director, Wesley Krause has served as a Board Member of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC), a body that focuses on improving the working conditions of porters on Kilimanjaro and in Nepal.
Many companies still hire international guides and leaders, robbing local Tanzanians of the chance to excel in their profession. African Environments was the first company to train and develop local Trip Leaders, and pay them an internationally suitable wage, and we still do. Our Trip Leaders are put through twice-yearly testing, given training opportunities, and were the first in Tanzania to be trained in Wilderness First Response.
African Environments prides itself on its relationships with the community we work through providing training and development opportunities within the tourism industry for remote communities.
Maasai Trainee Program
Our Maasai Trainee Program in Ngorongoro Conservation Area sees one young warrior or “Morani” gain a one year placement at Mysigio Camp. The young man, from a nearby Maasai Village is chosen by his group of elders as someone showing interest in the tourism industry. While at the camp, under instruction of our Camp Supervisor the trainee is given practical lessons and experience working with our guests.
During the low season when the camp is returned to Arusha, the Maasai trainee is invited to take part in English classes, solar energy education, environmental practices customer service and food preparation workshops.
For pastoralists like the Maasai, it has been essential for them to diversify and learn skills in tourism that allow them to continue to practice their rich and culture, while also advancing education and skills to earn a living.
The Maasai Trainee Program has been successfully training and developing young Maasai from the camp’s neighbouring villages cementing the mutually beneficial relationship that African Environments has with Chief Ole Dorop and his community.
Hadzabe Leadership and Capacity Building
On the shores of Lake Eyasi live the last remaining East African hunter-gatherer tribe, the Hadzabe. African Environments has a long standing friendship with one particular sub-tribe of the Hadzabe and together run cultural walks and camping safaris, as well as training, development and support.
As a predominantly nomadic and primitive tribe, the Hadzabe have felt the impacts of expanding agriculture and forestry which has reduced the amount of land that these fascinating people are able to inhabit. Through empowerment and capacity building African Environments is assisting the Hadzabe to legally gain title to a portion of land where they, like the Maasai in Ngorongoro can practice their age-old traditions to maintain their culture.
Through support of African Environments and tourism opportunities, the Hadzabe have been able to earn a living, authentically showcasing their ways of life while also gaining valuable training in English, customer service and environmental practices. We have also been able to assist them in basic tasks like forming committees, gaining official IDs and opening bank accounts.
African Environments is also facilitating research within their culture to gain international recognition and funding so that the Hadzabe way of life and their environment may be further conserved.
African Environments offers walking safaris with the Hadzabe, staying in our lightweight tented camp near Lake Eyasi. The insight gained into this rare culture is a once in a lifetime experience.
African Environments aims to partner with local producers and manufacturers to ensure that our procurement choices are, as much as possible benefiting the local Arusha, Tanzania or African community.
- Our honey is farmed and harvested locally from a small scale farmer on the slopes of Mount Meru
- The mozzarella that makes our home-made pizza’s is made by Lucas, a farmer from West Kilimanjaro region who has been making high quality mozzarella for two decades
- The breakfast sausages, chicken, pork, beef and bacon is all sourced locally from small scale butchers producing high quality foods
- We buy wherever possible from local handicraft markets
- Our fruit and vegetables are exclusively grown in Tanzania and we buy seasonally as much as possible to ensure the freshest and best quality
- The glass and recycled aluminium products are manufactured at Shanga; a project that works with physically and intellectually disabled Tanzanians
- Our serving trays and dishes in our safari camps are made in Tanzania from locally sourced minerals
- Mkaa Bora provides all of our briquettes that we use to cook with in our camps. Mkaa Bora makes recycled and sustainable briquettes here in Tanzania.
The African Environments team; contractors and full-time employees are offered a range of benefits that ensure that our ethical employment standards are being met. Aside from the benefits we can list here it is important to note that we have also fostered a culture where each and every employee plays a role and is part of the team that works together to make African Environments the success that it is. Everyone has a voice that is heard, everyone has a potential to be met and everyone is always learning and growing.
Some of our ethical employment offerings are;
- Hiring Tanzanian
- Heath insurance
- Access to an employee co-op
- Training and development offered twice yearly
- Language training
- Overseas travel opportunities; attending conferences and leadership summits