It's so hard to narrow it down to just one! I think nearly all of my best travel memories come from my trip to Kenya. There was one day where I was the 'Team Leader' at a volunteering project and got to present a local family with a new house that I had helped to build. The thanks we received was so gratifying and it taught me so much. However, I also really enjoyed experiencing Kenya's diverse culture and landscapes. I went on safari and did some scuba diving, which was literally out of this world!
After visiting Kenya in 2012, Beth's passion for volunteering blossomed, alongside her love for travel and the opportunities that it provides.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
African Adventures has helped me realize the importance of mutual reward whilst traveling, especially when you are going with the aim of doing some volunteering. In a world dominated by social media, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment of 'doing it for the 'gram', but it's important to ensure that your actions are actually beneficial to the community you’re visiting.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Recently we had a family with two young children go on one of our trips. Hearing their perspectives on the experience was so interesting - I think sometimes volunteers are so astounded by their trips, they don't even know where to begin! The kids were so honest, and it was refreshing to get into the finer details on the little things which made an impact, both on our volunteers and the locals at our partner projects.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
Sadly, I’m too old now, but if I had the chance, I would definitely sign up to go to Zanzibar with our Youth Development Programme. As a major Queen fan, I would love to experience the ‘spice island’ and its rich history. Stone Town looks amazing and I have always loved the ocean; Zanzibar looks too good to be true! Getting to experience Zanzibari culture with a group of like-minded people would be truly incredible. It’s definitely a place to visit if you love history and a picturesque view. And Freddie Mercury, of course.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
African Adventures is different from a lot of voluntourism providers because, instead of taking ownership over projects, we work alongside them. We act as both tour operator and development agency, thereby ensuring that both our partner projects and our volunteers are getting the maximum reward they can. Everyone who works for African Adventures is acutely aware of the need (and want) to do good, without taking away from the local communities and people, who we support. Alongside this, we place our volunteers are the heart of our business, and we endeavor to provide a high-quality, personable service as they book their adventure with us.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I’m a strong believer in the idea that, when you’re passionate about something, it shows. All of our staff, in the UK and all of our destinations, recognize and actively celebrate the benefits of immersing yourself in another culture. I think that we, as a company, are unique in that our partner projects are run by people who are so passionate about their communities. This, combined with our founder/Director Dan’s goal - to provide life-changing experiences to volunteers whilst helping the development of communities at a localized level - means that to us this isn’t just a job. Like it says on our website: “We are not bothered about being the biggest – we are focused on trying to be the best.”