cape town tour

How to tell if a wild animal is in fact wild.

As more and more travellers become aware of the ethical issues surrounding wildlife tourim, and with South Africa still offering some of the best wildlife tourism in the world, so research into the ethics of wildlife tourism is having to up its game to stay ahead of changes on the ground.

One ground-breaking piece of research published recently entitled "Associated with Cruelty" is based on research conducted by Professor Xavier Font of the University of Surrey.  It reports that only six out of 62 travel trade associations worldwide provide information on the importance of animal welfare. ABTA (UK) and ANVR (Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators) are the only travel associations to have animal welfare guidelines. By contrast, 16 associations feature pictures of wild animals being used as tourist attractions and interacting with tourists in their literature.

Fair Trade Tourism (which we at Where It All Began are members of) developed Captive Wildlife Guidelines earlier this year in consultation with 200 organisations to tackle specific issues around captive wildlife in South Africa. “In South Africa alone, there are 8,000 lions in captivity versus 4,000 free-roaming wild or managed lions – this is an industry that is rife with animal welfare issues and doing tremendous harm to Brand South Africa”, said Fair Trade Tourism MD, Jane Edge.

Ms Edge said there were genuine wildlife sanctuaries, rehabilitation centres and orphanages that were doing good work and deserved support. “However, it is not always easy to discern between the good, the bad and the ugly. “We urge tour operators to use our guidelines to interrogate the practices of wildlife facilities based on the core pillars of animal welfare, conservation, human safety and transparency. We need to stop supporting captive facilities that demonstrate poor practice and animal abuse.”

If you're ever in any doubt about whether your selected safari destination is all its cracked up to be, run it past us at Where It All Began: we'll help you make the right choice for the animals you've come all this way to see.



Lady Anne Barnard - the Cape's rock star from the ...
Peace on Earth in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

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We’re an ethical private travel planning company focused on Southern Africa.

We offer ready-made and also customised holidays and journeys across this unique region of the world.

When our clients travel with us, they are assured that their travel spend is directly supporting local African companies that offer sustainable products and services, both in terms of people and planet.


Our logo is an image of a skull found in the Rising Star Cave System in Gauteng, South Africa in 2013. It was named ‘homo naledi’, meaning ‘human of the stars’.

The cave system has so far given rise to the remains of over 15 individuals, making it the largest hominid fossil remains site ever discovered.

Travelling to Southern Africa is truly a return to the source of humankind, to Where It All Began.

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