Visiting rural villages can have a mutually positive impact, yet there are sensitivities involved. Hideaways CEO Katja Quasdorf, founder of the Grow Africa Foundation, shares her advice
1 Learn to say ‘hello’
“Hello, how are you?” is how most conversations begin in Africa, so learn this phrase before you go. Lodge staff will also take great delight in teaching you a few words in their mother tongue.
2 Show respect
Did you know that light clapping in a bowed position is a sign of respect in rural southern Africa? Africa is full of traditions, so do a bit of research or ask your guide about local etiquette.
3 Get stuck in
Don’t just watch, have a go… at dancing, sewing, or even milking a goat! Everyone is curious about other people’s lives and has stories to tell, so ask and listen.
4 Pack with a purpose
Make space in your luggage for useful items for local communities, such as books, pencils, paints, footballs and educational games… but never sweets or balloons.
5 Pay a fair price
Buy direct from craftspeople to support their livelihoods, and pay the asking price. Roadside stallholders expect you to barter, but be generous.
6 Ask before taking photos
Always ask people if they mind you taking their photos. If you show them the pics, it encourages interaction.
7 Don’t give to beggars
Do not give anything to anyone, especially children. Begging success discourages them from going to school and reinforces a culture of dependency.
8 Tread lightly
Water is often a scarce resource, so use it wisely. Bring your own water bottle. Choose accommodation based on its environmental and ethical principles.