Respectful and meaningful: Discover socially responsible travel with Charlie's Travels

Our trips go beyond sightseeing; they are cultural expeditions. In this article, we share essential tips, such as avoiding questionable orphanages and "White Savior Syndrome. We aim to make equal connections and create meaningful memories. Quickly read how we do that here!

3 pillars of sustainable travel

Socially responsible travel: what is it!

Our focus is on equal exchange between cultures. Our trips are not just sightseeing trips; they are true cultural expeditions! Because let’s face it, experiencing a country also means learning about the local people, their norms, values and traditions.

That’s why it’s essential to always be respectful towards the local population. Learn about their norms and values and avoid unintentional misunderstandings. Because while we Europeans might be straightforward, that’s not always the case in Africa. Also, dress modestly and avoid overly provocative outfits. Spread love and respect to the local people so that your experience becomes a fantastic time for both you and the wonderful people you meet!

Also important to mention....

Beware of that questionable industry surrounding orphanages and schools. If you want to connect with the locals, choose an authentic experience where no one is exploited. Stay genuine and create valuable memories that will stay with you forever, for both you and the local communities.

What you can do

Sustainable and socially responsible travel, that’s what we all want, right? No one wants to (unintentionally) harm others. But sometimes, you may not know where to start or how to approach certain things. With the following tips, you can already make a significant impact!

Do not visit orphanages or schools

As a tour operator, we are often asked about the possibility of visiting an orphanage or school during a trip. However, it is important to be careful when visiting orphanages in Africa. Orphanage tourism has adverse effects, including serious attachment problems in children. Due to the lure of volunteers who pay substantial sums to work in an orphanage and donors who pay monthly fees per child, orphanages are sprouting like mushrooms. As a result, they are often unnecessarily filled with children. So please do not contribute to this issue!


Don't be the 'white savior'

Have you ever heard of the so-called ‘White Savior Syndrome’? It’s something many white people unconsciously suffer from. This means you shouldn’t think that African people are pitiful and helpless, and you’re the only one who can help them from a superior position. It’s important to avoid this and strive for equality in interactions. We provide information to our travellers about this before they embark on their journey to ensure they engage in cultural exchange in a respectful manner.

What we do

We’ve already explained above how you can travel more socially responsible, but we also understand that as an organisation, we play a crucial role. Below, we provide a brief explanation of what we do – or have already done – to make our trips as socially responsible as possible.

We give you the real deal!

We make this exchange a little easier by working directly with local partners. Think of communities that welcome you in their homestay or organize a tour in which they take you to secret places and teach you everything about the area. This gives a unique insight into the daily life of locals from the country you are visiting.

We go for the real experience, not staged shows that you sometimes see at tourist facades. No, here it’s all about genuine encounters between two worlds. And while you are cozy around the campfire, deep conversations emerge in which you can also share your own culture.

Check out our partners here


A handbook full of useful tips and behavioral guidelines

We want both you and our local partners to have a fantastic time, which is why we share some useful behavioural guidelines with you before your trip. Our ‘behavioural guidelines’ are filled with smart tips & tricks to make it easier for you. For example, what type of clothing should you bring and wear to make your host feel completely comfrotable?

In addition, we also have the tipping guide! We have compiled a handy list, because in Africa, tipping is not only a fair way of doing business, but it is also greatly appreciated. Everyone likes a tip, of course, but in African countries, tipping is a big part of income. We tell you in the tipping guide exactly what you can give to your driver or guide.

Ethical travel: striving together to connect

What applies to travellers also applies to us: we live and work from a position of privilege on the African continent, and we must use it responsibly. Thus, we do our best to avoid any trace of white superiority in Africa, but also in our private lives we keep a close eye on what we post on social media. In addition, we try to create as many jobs as possible.

Within our own office, we ensure that many roles that do not require Dutch-speaking tongues are filled by local colleagues. The magicians behind the scenes who meticulously weave your entire trip together? They are – naturally – Africans! And in this way, we all work together to ensure that our different cultures, backgrounds, norms, and values can enrich one another and bring us closer together!

As writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano once said, “I don’t believe in charity.” “I believe in solidarity.” “Charity is like a one-way street, from top to bottom.” “Solidarity is equality, it respects the other.”

Read more about socially responsible travel below

met kinderen
Ethical and responsible travel
vrouwen Afrikaanse mode
Preconceptions about Africa
Smiling children
Everything wrong with orphanage tourism