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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Top 3 Tips for Fresh Holidays with a Conscience

If you're anything like me, you go on holiday to have a good time, not to save the world. But, be honest, wouldn't you like to know your break could be about giving, not just taking? 
Here's my top tips on what's new for holidaying with a tinge of conscience...


1. Tanzania

      

Situated on the relatively undiscovered southern Tanzania coastline, just 35km south of Dar es Salaam, Ras Kutani is a unique boutique beach retreat, which sits within 100 acres of lush tropical, coastal forest. As much of Tanzania’s coastline has suffered from heavy deforestation, this truly is a hidden gem which offers a rare opportunity to explore one of the most bio-diverse indigenous coastal forests in East Africa. 

Thanks to owner and keen conservationist, Charles Dobie, this idyllic forest has been saved, cultivated and is now continuously patrolled in order to protect it and retain its natural beauty.  The forest boasts 132 different species of trees, including mango trees (famous for their spectacular fruit) and the Marula tree (prized for its rich bounty of fruit, and the oil from the kernel, which is used to make moisturizer).  Guests can enjoy watching the antics of four species of monkey, including the spectacular black-and-white colobus, as well as many species of birds, baboons, wild pigs, the elusive Civet Cats and other wildlife.

Africa Odyssey  is offering a seven-night break during the turtle’s hatching season from £1,907 ($3005) per person - a saving of £183 ($288 ) Valid for selected dates throughout February, the price includes return flights from Dublin (via Heathrow), internal transfers, accommodation at Ras Kutani on a full-board basis, taxes and surcharges. Complimentary snorkelling equipment, kayaks and boogie boards are available for those that wish to venture from their hammock or beach bed.




2. Grand Canyon, USA


Grand Canyon Tour and Travel have launched a new range of tours they’re calling VIP Spirit. At the heart of VIP Spirit concept are their top of the line Mercedes Benz Sprinter Vehicles. As the company’s Mike Rancilio told me, 

“we chose the Mercedes Benz Sprinter for reliability and comfort but, most of all their BlueTEC Clean Diesel technology. BlueTEC is one of the cleanest automotive options on Earth. It is at the forefront of minimizing emissions and creating a smaller environmental footprint and, operating as we do, primarily in our world famous National Parks, that is critical to how we want to be working in the future”

The luxurious version of the BlueTEC Mercedes Benz Sprinter features tandem wheel suspension adding to both safety and a smoother ride. Even more obvious to the customer are the company’s upgrades including extra large picture windows, flat screen TVs, surround sound, upgraded seating, limousine lighting and the indulgence of sharing the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam experience in the intimacy of a vehicle with as few as twelve seats.



3. Germany

Environmental charity BTCV is running a conservation holiday in the enchanted Harz National Park in Germany this summer. Holidaymakers will be carrying out practical work to conserve the forest’s wild beauty.


Based in foothills near Bad Harzburg, the conservation teams will be working within the park and will have the opportunity to really get a real feel for the majesty and beauty of the place. The Harz National Park stretches from the low mountain range near Herzberg in the southern part of the mountains, across the Harz massif to its northern slopes near Bad Harzburg and Ilsenburg. It offers the entire range of characteristic ecological systems, variations in height, slopes and rocks.



Much of the practical work carried out in the park relates to either restoration of natural habitats and maintenance of traditionally managed habitats, or ‘visitor management’ to ensure people can enjoy appreciate and learn from nature whilst having the minimum negative impact on it. During the eight day break visitors will learn meadow mowing,
hay-making how to repair footpaths, bridges and signs.



Accommodation is at the Jugendwaldheim Brunnenbachsm├╝hle – a huge and comfortable outdoor centre near Braunlage at the northern end of the park.

A continental breakfast and packed lunch will be prepared for guests, with dinner self-catered as a group. The holiday takes place July 14 to 22 and costs £390 ($615) excluding travel.





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