I kind of love that Pack for a Purpose is taking over the world. I first heard of it in 2012 when I was working at Madikwe Safari Lodge, a place I would SO highly recommend, especially if you’re traveling with ducklings. People ducklings. Madikwe is a terrible place to bring birds.
Guests would often show up at our lodge and sign a bunch of indemnity forms and get handed their room keys and then plonk a bag down on the table and say ‘oh yeah, here’s all my Pack for a Purpose stuff.‘
Huh? What was this ‘Pack for a Purpose?’
Turns out it’s a pretty rad system. You know how when you travel to Africa you want to bring back a ton of stuff like wooden giraffes and beaded giraffes and stuffed giraffes and giraffe bangles and giraffe earrings and giraffe tea towels and giraffe t-shirts and giraffe mugs (I’m just using my mom as an example here) and like, so many kikois? Pack for a Purpose can help you make that space in your suitcase. Here’s how:
What they do is partner with various hotels and safari lodges in South Africa (and in other countries, but let’s focus here) and those lodges in turn partner with local projects that need stuff. More often than not, the charity in need of stuff is a school or orphanage who needs school supplies or clothes. So what you’d do is look up on the website what your lodge’s charity needs, then head to Walmart or your closet before you leave home and find all that stuff. It’s like a scavenger hunt. But funner. Then you’d stuff all the stuff in your suitcase, give it away when you get to Africa and voila, more room for giraffe paraphernalia and kikoi towels. Beautiful.
As a safari guide, I’ve found that so many of my guests want to do something for the local people but they don’t know what. Thy don’t know what’s acceptable and what’s not or where there are boundaries. That’s okay. It’s a touchy subject.
I think that all but the most ignorant tourists (and there are a few) can see pretty quickly when they visit a place that there’s this crazy huge disparity between the fancy lodge where they’re staying and the people who live near it. I’m asked often whether they should give money to community schools (no) or candy to children (no). That’s asking for trouble.
It’s a sad fact, but in Africa, you can never be sure where your money actually goes, so it becomes really important to choose your channels wisely.
And that’s why I love Pack for a Purpose. They’ll make sure that the right things get to the right people. A project like this is really the first baby step you can take on the road to being a super-cool responsible traveler.
Take a look at the website here: Pack For A Purpose
And I’m going to ‘big up’ all the companies in my gorgeous country that partner with them, below. If you’re off on safari soon and you see the lodge you’re headed to on this list, then get excited!
Happy packing y’all…
Safariosophy loves you:
Absolut Tours & Safaris
African Game Lodge
Amakhala Game Reserve
Ant’s Nest & Ant’s Hill
Bayflowers Guest House
Berluda Farmhouse and Cottages
Blyde River Canyon Lodge
Blyde River Wilderness Lodge
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat
Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel
Cape Splendour Tours & Safaris
Cathedral Peak Hotel
Chitwa Chitwa Private Game Lodge
Fugitives Drift Lodge
Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre
Isibindi Zulu Lodge (SUPER LOVE)
Jenman African Safaris
JP Kleinhans Safaris
Kariega Game Reserve
Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers
Lion Sands Game Reserve
Madikwe Safari Lodge (SUPER LOVE)
Makalali Private Game Lodge
Mateya Safari Lodge (SUPER LOVE)
More Quarters Apartment Hotel
Rocktail Camp (SUPER LOVE)
Samara Private Game Reserve
Savanna Private Game Reserve
Tau Game Lodge
The Oyster Box
The Peech Hotel
The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Tuningi Safari Lodge
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
ZuluWaters Game Reserve
“But Anna, my safari destination isn’t on this list. Now what?”
Pack for a purpose anyway. Bring pencils and school supplies and clothes and things to South Africa anyway and ask around when you arrive. Your lodge should be awesome and happy to help you get your donations to where they’re needed most.
This is such a great way to make your whole safari experience better. Promise.
Need to know more? Need more advice? Email me, little safari-going kittens.