Travel hero: Sababu Safaris
Travel with Purpose
The pandemic we are experiencing will have great effects on how we travel. We believe that travel done right can be a tool in conserving this beautiful rock we live on. Therefore, now more than ever, we’d like to shed a light on travel companies and the people behind it who have been giving everything to preserve the planet and its indigenous communities. In this edition Denise Brown and Robert Tarimo from Sababu Safaris | Travel with Purpose
This crisis could create the moment that will put the thought that travel should be used for the good of the planet in warp mode speed. Less is more. But when choosing to travel, choose right. Choose the love for nature, choose with your heart, choose for sharing and connecting with local communities, choose for authentic experiences that will enrich your life. Do not just travel to get a nice tan on a beach of an all-inclusive hotel in a country of which you hardly know the name, let alone the geographical location. Shift from consuming to contributing. But that is just our opinion.
It also happens to be the opinion of Denise Brown co-founder at Sababu Safaris | Travel with Purpose. Sababu Safaris’ aim is to provide unforgettable hassle-free and tailor-made luxury wildlife safaris in Tanzania and to build bridges and foster understanding by uniting guests from all over the world with local communities. Their aim is to profoundly enrich and change lives on both ends and to use responsible travel experiences to support and raise awareness of successful community projects in Tanzania.
Denise has had a love for Africa long before she first set foot on the continent, but after her first visit to Tanzania there was no turning back. “I fell deeply and utterly in love with the country and its people and decided to follow my passion,” Denise says. It is her goal to introduce you to the magical world of East Africa and to give you a deeper understanding of the culture and its people.
“Travel is more than seeing the sights; it’s a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
~~~ Miriam Beard~~~
What was your motivation to start Sababu Safaris?
My primary motivation to start Sababu Safaris with my friend and business partner Robert Tarimo was to show gratitude to the people who so warmly welcomed me to Tanzania by giving back to the communities, and to share my experiences with others. A lot of safari operators offer so-called “cultural experiences” but most of those are commercialized and sometimes even exploit the local communities – I wanted to change that and give our guests the chance to connect with the people of Tanzania in an authentic and impactful way, and to get to know the real life that exists outside the national parks.”
Can you tell me a bit more about the goal of Sababu Safaris?
“Sababu Safaris are spearheading the new trend of traveling with purpose – a shift from consuming to contributing. We create unique journeys that leave a long‐lasting impact on both guests and local communities alike. For us, safaris that give back are one of the best ways to deepen and enhance the experience for travelers and locals alike.”
“In today’s world we find ourselves over-connected at a shallow level and under-connected at a deeper, more meaningful level.”
There are a lot of safari companies that claim to be sustainable. What makes you different?
“Where most safari companies pledge to pour resources back into the community, Sababu Safaris allows guests to actually see the difference and ‐ in most cases ‐ make the difference themselves. The goal is to give visitors the opportunity to travel with purpose, hence the name Sababu ‐ the Swahili word for “purpose”.”
Do you have your own lodge?
“We do not own any properties ourselves but we partner with lodges and camps that share our values when it comes to conservation and the support of local communities. Africa Amini Maasai Lodge, for example, uses 100% of its profits for the many social projects it supports, such as several primary and secondary schools, a health center providing free, high quality medical treatment, an orphanage, a vocational school, a tailor shop employing women from the local community etc. I always try to have our guests stay there for at least 1 night.”
What other things do you do to do sustainable tourism?
“We do not use plastic water bottles. All our guests receive an aluminum water bottle upon their arrival and we take big refillable water tanks in all our safari vehicles to reduce our use of plastic. We have also started working with Solar Sister to distribute clean energy to the communities and support women entrepreneurs at the same time.”
I guess you pay the local people you visit a fair price?
“When we bring our guests to visit certain tribes and their communities, we either have them distribute solar lights or bring other useful items. When we visit organizations, we always make a monetary contribution. When guests choose to stay at Africa Amini Maasai Lodge, for example, they automatically contribute to the social projects supporting the community. There are other properties, too, which run a children’s home, for example.”
Do you do other things that help the indigenous communities?
“We think that putting our guests in direct touch with different tribes and communities allows for an authentic exchange and almost always a magical transformation happens. Suspicion turns into welcoming smiles, there are hugs and laughs on both ends. We truly believe that this is the best way of raising awareness of the problems a lot of the tribes are facing. What most people don’t realize is that conservation and communities go hand in hand, they are intrinsically connected. Tanzania’s protected areas cannot be conserved without keeping the well-being of the affected communities in mind. If our guests are interested, we provide them with information on how they can make donations to local organizations that are doing great work on the ground to support these communities and simultaneously contribute to conservation.”
Can you give an example of such a visit to a community?
“One special experience is to go on a morning hunt with the Hadzabe, one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes in the world. Seeing how they have been living in harmony without changing their way of life puts things into perspective: it is one of the most sensitive cultural encounters available in the world today. They have been losing about 90% of their homeland, since their hunting grounds and habitat are being destroyed by farmers, pastoralists and land developers. In the world we live in today, we have all become numb to issues we aren’t directly confronted with. When our guests not only see but EXPERIENCE and FEEL the true Tanzania and get a glimpse of these people’s way of life, it gives these tribes a voice. People mostly only care about what they know.”
What is it what you wish that remains in the hearts and souls of your guests?
“I hope that our guests will be equally enchanted and touched by Tanzania as I was when I first visited. It completely changed my life. We want to share our love and passion for Africa and open our guests’ hearts and minds by giving them the chance to get to know Tanzania on a deeper level that goes beyond a regular safari trip. In today’s world we find ourselves over-connected at a shallow level and under-connected at a deeper, more meaningful level. Spending time in Tanzania can absolutely switch that around for you and make you focus on what’s really important in life.”
Ways to travel with purpose with Sababu Safaris
Do you want to embark on an unforgettable journey and leave a lasting legacy? These are some of the experiential projects of Sababu Safaris to make their community just a tad better.
✅ Give the gift of light to families living in remote villages without electricity.
✅ Visit a home that enables children to recover after surgery and make a transformative impact on the lives of Tanzanian children with disabilities.
✅ Take part in the day‐to‐day life of students by participating in a school‐based itinerary and learn firsthand about the successes and challenges of education in rural Tanzania and contribute to free high‐quality education that is provided to the brightest of the poorest children in Tanzania. You can even spend a full week at the school and stay at their accommodations on campus.
✅ Visit the Maasai tribe to learn about their culture, history and traditions; let them take you on a nature walk or bike tour through Maasailand, take part in spear throwing lessons or join the women in a workshop to craft traditional bead work. Gain an authentic insight into their way of life and stay in traditional Maasai bomas. 100% of the proceeds of your stay will go directly into local medical, educational and social projects in Maasailand.
✅ Learn to hunt with the Hadzabe bushmen, one of the world’s last remaining hunter‐gatherer tribes, and let them teach you all about their time‐honored hunting techniques, survival skills, food preparation and cultural norms. This is one of the most sensitive cultural encounters available in the world today. Help raise awareness of the fact that they have been losing about 90% of their homeland, since their hunting grounds and habitat are being destroyed by farmers, pastoralists and land developers. It is imperative that the tribe gets the support they need to save them from vanishing.
✅ Tour a bustling, interactive workshop that employs and empowers community members with disabilities to create unique, high quality, handmade jewellery, glassware and homeware using recycled materials. Try yourself at activities including glass blowing, make your own necklace by taking part in a Maasai beading workshop, and learn sign language.
✅ Visit the Center for Rescue, Education and Wildlife in Machame. This sanctuary takes care of many orphaned and injured animals ‐ their goal is to preserve Tanzania’s natural treasures through educational projects and practical animal and environmental protection.
Discover Africa and support local communities
Do you also feel it is time to shift from consuming to contributing? Do you want to really connect with the local communities of Tanzania? Do you want to make a difference, for yourself and the people you visit? Check out the website of Sababu Safaris and discover how you can Travel with Purpose.