Travel has the potential to change the world for the better. We aim to create a positive impact in every destination we visit, socially, economically and environmentally.
We are committed to ensuring our trips are not only amazing, fun experiences for our travellers, but also for the local people and communities where our trips go.
We encourage all travellers to build meaningful relationships with local communities, understand the local cultures in which you find yourself and respect different ways of life from our own. Along with supporting the communities in which we are privileged to visit, protecting and preserving our natural environment including the animals and wildlife that live within it are essential.
By minimising our footprint, striving for sustainability and supporting various environmental causes on our trips, we hope to leave the world a better place than we found it.
Below are some of the many initiatives and local projects that Gap 360 and our local partners support. You can get involved in these projects whilst on some of our trips too. Click on the individual projects for more details about the initiatives and which trips visit them!
Location - Ghanzi, Botswana
Located at Zelda's guestfarm you will have the opportunity to accompany a small group of local San bushmen (and an interpreter) as they do a number of traditional daily activities. You will learn how the San have adapated and survived in the harsh conditions of Kalahari desert by gatherine edible foods and medicinal foods. You can also witness the 20,000 year old ritual of the San dance which is a way of passing on San history and culture from generation to generation. This experience provides employment for the San bushmen in their home environment and utilises their own unique skills which helps keep their culture alive in a world where western culture is encroaching.
Location - Koh Phangan, Thailand
Established in 2010, this local charity in Koh Phangan works with mentally handicapped and disadvantaged children in varius ways. CCC regularly runs numerous events to raise funds to support children in need. They endeavour to form a strong link between people who are in need of help, and those who are able to help. During our trips, if you have any old clothes, spare toiletries or unused change this can be donated to the many good causes Charlie's Children's charity does.
Location - Midigama, Sri Lanka
During our Sri Lanka Intro tour, the group spent some time at a Buddhist Monastic school for children, also known as a Pirivena. During this time, travellers will learn about life as a young trainee monk and help the children learn and improve their English skills. All monies spent on this section of the trip goes towards the development and maintenance of the school and assisting the students in their studies.
Location - Lovina, Bali
Gede and his amazing family own a small coffee plantation and farm in the northern area of Bali. Travellers can visit his family farm as part of our tour and learn from Gede and his family about traditional coffee production, basket weaving and other ways that local Balinese people earn a living. By supporting Gede and his family, the local community benefit from extra tourist income and more job opportunities.
Location - Rungfah, Khao Sok, Thailand
Travellers have the opportunity to support a locally founded and run sustainable farm, created by the brilliant Mr You. His farm promotes a back to basics farming method where eco friendly living, sustainable practices and self sufficiency are key. The homestay was built by hand and runs off solar power. All crops are fertilised with eco-friendly fertiliser too. All funds paid to Mr You help support his young family and the upkeep of this amazing farm.
Location - Mekong Delta island, Vietnam
Mr Op has lived on a small island in the Mekong Delta with his family and has lived in a few small bungalows. By joining up with our tours, Mr Op has created a cultural exchange experience whereby young travellers can learn about the realities of local life in rural the Mekong, and his family can develop their English skills and earn a higher income from our group visits. Mr Op has been able to build enough bungalows so groups can stay with him and his family overnight.
Location - Sieam Reap Province, Cambodia
The rural villages surrounding Siem Reap are some of the countries poorest areas, despite the tourist attraction of Angkor Wat being close by. Many families cannot afford basic school equipment or uniforms for their kids, however with the generous help of travellers donations means that we are working hard to change this for many of the village families.
Location - Sieam Reap Province, Cambodia
There are estimated to be between 2-6 million unexploded landmines remaining in Cambodia today. Between 1979 and 2017 there were nearly 20,000 people killed by landmines and a further 45,000 injured. Due to drastic mine clearing efforts by the government and many international organisations, that figure has been reduced to around 100 per year - a huge decline! APOPO is a Belgian NGO based in Siem Reap that trains African punched rats to detect bombs and mines so they can be safely cleared. Our local team has supported this effort by adopting and sponsoring Magawa the rat who helps save thousands of lives. Once cleared, the land can also then be used again for farming or to generate income for the local people.
Eden Reforestation Projects (Eden) reduces extreme poverty and restores healthy forests by employing local people to plant millions of trees every year. By hiring local villagers in Nepal, Haiti, Indonesia and more, the Eden Project can restore animal habitats, as well as replant forests and reduce poverty. For each bookings received for an applicable trip (click to see which trips) 10 trees will be planted.
Ecologi is a company that helps people and other companies reduce their carbon footprint by planting trees in various countries around the world. By booking applicable trips with us, our local team contirbute to trees being planted in Madagascar and Mozambique. Your booking also contributes to hydropower (clean) energy in Kangugu, Uganda and preserving natural ecosystems off the coast of Guatemala. So far over 1200 trees have been planted (that has offset over 50 tonnes of carbon) and this will continue to increase!
One Tree Planted is a non-profit organisation that is focussed on global reforestation and helping anyone help the environment by planting trees. Planting trees creates a healthier climate, protects biodiversity and helps create jobs in the areas trees are planted. In 2020 alone, over 10 million trees were planted! Click onto this page to find out which trips are partnered with One Tree Planted.
Location - Luang Prabang, Laos
Big Brother Mouse is a Laos-based and Laos-owned organisation which has been helping young people of all ages develop their math, language and reading skills. The students range from 3 to 23 and play games, develop strategic thinking and teamwork skills in a variety of educational activities. Many children had not seen any books except text books before, and were unaware that reading can be fun. Big Brother Mouse writes brand new books in the Lao language and distributes them to schools around Northern Laos at "book parties" which get children excited about learning to read. Our travellers can stop by the Big Brother Mouse office in Luang Prabang and help local students in informal conversation classes to help improve their English reading, speaking and confidence too.
Location - Jinja and Lake Bunyoni, Uganda
Soft Power Education is an registered charity and Ugandan NGO which works in 5 main areas in rural Uganda:Refurbishes primary schools to allow for a safe, clean and empowering learning environment Provides local education centres which can work alongside class based learning to foster creative and dynamic learning through play Provides adult education classes within the education centres Promotes the inclusions of children and adults with special needs in education Provides ongoing training for teachers and their families
Location - Arusha, Tanzania
Established in 1993, Meserani Snake park supports the local community in mane different ways. Located 25km west of Arush on the way to the Serengeti National Park, travellers can take a guided tour and learn about some of the most dangerous snakes and crocodiles in the world. You also have the opportunity to tour the Maasai Cultural museum and visit a local village. The park provides employment for approximately 50 local people.
In addition to providing employment the park also:Provides a free medical clinic for up to 1000 patients per month Provides a home for 4 local orphans whose parents died of HIV and who were living by themselves Builds new classrooms at a local school Provides a free education centre where local Maasai people have the opportunity to learn to read and write
Location - Various locations
As many of our travellers journey to some of the world's best beaches and get to experience their beauty, it seems only right that regular beach clean ups feature on our trips. As well as impromptu clean ups with our groups, our local teams also work with local organisations such as Trash Hero in Thailand and Gili Eco Trust in Indonesia to support the efforts of keeping our oceans clean for our marine life.
Location - Cape Town, South Africa
Working in the Dunoon Township and farming settlements in the Blaubery area of Cape Town, SAVE's aim is to create sustainable development projects to alleviate poverty.
SAVE does a lot of work in these communities such as:Running 3 education centres for 75 pre-school children Supports a school for disabled children with donations and volunteers Runs an surfing after school club to encourage children to attend classes Provides micro-loans and teaches business skills for people to start small businesses Provides food and clothing to the poorest in the community
During some of our multi-country Africa trips, you can donate your sleeping bags, clothing or pillows which will be donated to young families in desperate need as they live in bitterly cold, unheated shacks with no electricity. A good quality sleeping bag could be the difference between life and death for a small child in winter.
Location - Kande Beach, Malawi
The goal of Mphatso's Childrens Foundation is to feed children, develop the community and create a positive impact on the futures of local people. There are many areas in which the foundation helps, including:
Baby Feeding Programme - The foundation routinely provides live saving baby formulas and infant weighing services to all those that need. Often hospitals and doctors refer people who need to feed infants whose mothers are too unwell or have died. Around 100 babies are currently being supported on this programme.
Women's Positive Living Group - A significant number of women are living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi and Mphatso's provides a safe space to meet on a weekly basis where women can share a meal, sing, do crafts and emotionally support each other. The project also provides financal assistance for on-going treatment and transport to medical facilities.
Nursery School - The foundation runs 13 nursery schools teaching numeracy and literacy to around 1000 children daily. Each child is provided with a nourishing bowl of porridge and teachers and cooks are employed from the local community.
Educational Training Programme - Programmes ranging from agriculture, health, professional development, education for young mothers and vulnerable people are provided to local people who want to develop their skills.
Emergency Relief - As well as all the above, Mphatso's also provide assistance for basic life needs when required such as food, clothing, transport, funeral assistance and waterproof housing.
Location - Budapest, Hungary
Founded in 2005, the Nem Adom Fel (which means I never give up) aims to empower those who are differently abled in Hungary. Their main project is the Nem Adom Fel cafe and bar which is run and operated by staff from differently abled backgrounds. Funds from the cafe are channeled into the organisations work to advocate for Hungarians living with disabilities and those within the Roma communities. Our travellers can stop for lunch at the cafe and eat delicious food. Funding provided by the local team also helped upgrade the restaurants operations and marketing activities, as well as provided English lessons for the staff, so they could better interact with international customers.
Location - Ban Pak Ngum and Ban Huay Tom, Laos
The aim of this project is to increase employment and income in these rural areas whilst sharing and preserving the unique culture. Income from this project is used to create sustainable future growth as well as helping many families send their kids to school.
A training programme was created with the help of The Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute and Travel Travel Laos, to help the local people from the Laos, Khmu and Hmong communities bring tourism to their area along the Mekong river for the first time. Training was given in hygiene and food preparation, developing tourism products and skill building in order to secure a steady flow of travellers looking for a meaningful cultural experience.
Location - Cascais, Portugal
The once violent and notorious neighbourhood of Bairro da Torre in Cascais had a bad reputation and many of the citizens struggled with poverty and perceptions of their home town. However the youth of Barrio da Torre have come together with the aim of improving the area through art. Partnering with the charity ImpacTrip, local young artists turn the grey damaged buildings (often with xenophobic or racist graffiti) into scenes of colour and positivity which represents the culture and personal experience of people from the area. Our travellers can take a tour with a local guide who will share the stories of the transformation of the neighbourhood with the many amazing murals on the large walls where these young people can make their voices heard.
Location - Murupara, New Zealand
The aim of this project is to revitalise the Murupara town both socially and economically and to provide an authentic experience into modern Maori culture through tourism. The Ngati Manawa tribe have lived in the local area for centuries however the once prosperous forestry town has seen high level of unemployment due to the forestry industry relying more on machinery rather than human labour. As a result, the community have partnered with our local team and other tourism bodies to create economic opportunites through tourism.
Travellers have the option to take a Maori experience which includes a traditional Maori greeting with a member of the Ngati Manawa Iti and then get a tour of the tribal lands on a forest walk and a visit to sacred archeological sites. Hear tales of traditional stories. Stay with a local Maori family and watch a traditional Hangi being prepared and hear stories about the local customs and challenges for the people in this area. This next day you can deliver some leftover hangi meals to the local school kids who may otherwise not have had a nutritious lunch - over 28,000 meals have been delivered so far!