Our Responsibilities

AWOL’s responsibility to the environment

  • AWOL cycles on recycled bicycles.
  • Planting indigenous trees and vegetation rehabilitation on tour itineraries with the approval of relevant nature reserve officials, assisting travelers to offset the carbon footprint or ‘cost’ of traveling.
  • Promoting and assisting programs that remove alien vegetation from natural habitats.
  • Supporting local environmental organizations such as the ‘Biodiversity in Wine’ initiative when selecting the wine estates we visit.
  • Groups are advised on sustainable seafood options to avoid eating endangered species, as prescribed by South African Sustainable Seafood Institute (SASSI)
  • Encouraging minimal use of water
  • Offering tours on bicycle to help reduce carbon emissions, being conscious of our energy use and recycling all office waste, where possible

AWOL’s responsibility to society

  • Encouraging genuine and real interactions between locals and tourists
  • Respecting local laws and customs, bearing in mind the local population.
  • Assisting disadvantaged individuals to become self-employed.
  • Researching and advising our guests on the sustainable and ethical products they buy and consume.
  • AWOL Tours supports the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation which seek to contribute towards eliminating poverty through original research and community engagement to develop and advance innovative approaches to strengthening livelihoods. Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation is a non-profit organisation and registered Section 21 (not-for-gain) company.

AWOL’s responsibility to the economy

  • Supporting locally-owned and run accommodation in preference to foreign-owned hotel chains
  • Purchasing locally-made goods and sustainably harvested products, where possible
  • Encouraging tourists to purchase genuine crafts from local suppliers
  • Using local suppliers that practice responsible tourism policies
  • We abide by the laws of the country by paying licenses, membership fees and taxes!
  • All profits are generated back into the local economy

AWOL’s responsibility to you

  • Every precaution is taken on tour to ensure client’s safety
  • We provide you with legally qualified tour leaders with appropriate experience to lead the designated trips
  • All the vehicles used are roadworthy and have appropriate roadworthy certificates.
  • All vehicles used for traveling purposes (excludes game vehicles) are fitted with seat belts.
  • All drivers are suitably qualified with appropriate professional driver’s licenses
  • We outsource certain activities to companies that are bona fide legal entities, and have suitably experienced and qualified tour guides to lead appropriate activities
  • We go out of our way to do safety inspections on accommodation establishments prior to your arrival

What AWOL advises clients to do

  • Travel with an open mind: cultivate the habit of listening and observing, and discover the enrichment that comes from experiencing another way of life
  • Avoid extravagant displays of wealth such as ostentatious jewellery and technological gadgetry. This can be an incitement to robbery, as well as accentuating the gap between rich and poor
  • Please do not give anything to beggars or children. Many children in townships don’t get to eat balanced diets, so sweets are a bad idea! Rather give to a registered charity or organization to make sure that items get to the people most in need.
  • Pick up your litter as you would at home: bottles, cans, plastic, cigarette butts. Apart from being unsightly, your rubbish can be deadly to wild animals
  • Where possible, remove the wrapping of packaged goods before you leave on a trip: unwrap soaps and take bottles out of boxes
  • Learning a little of the local language can help reduce barriers, take note of the dress codes and behavior of host community