GSE Ecotours
GSE Ecotours

Specialist tour operator, GSE Ecotours, is offering unique Kenyan Village Homestays to give tourists and travellers the opportunity to experience rural Kenyan culture and contribute to an operation that aids local economies and helps to protect and sustain the region’s natural resources. 

 

Appealing to travellers unable to commit time from their everyday lives to join longer term gap year and ‘voluntourism’ schemes; GSE Ecotours’ four to 14-day Village Homestays offer the same cultural and ethical benefits as these growing forms of responsible tourism, whilst also giving travellers the chance to stay as a guest within a hand-picked host community amidst the unspoilt rural Kenyan landscape.

 

To fully absorb local culture and customs, visitors stay as guests with host families and are invited to assist with everyday tasks such as meal preparation, handicrafts and harvesting grass for livestock.  Singing and dancing, local language tuition and work on local community projects, which are funded by revenue generated by the holidays, also help guests to feel at home in their host community.

 

As part of GSE Ecotours’ service, before arriving at their allocated village, visitors are educated on what to expect during their stay, local etiquette and responsible use of valuable water and electricity amenities.  A GSE Ecotours’ guide and translator also stays with each host family to help guests to settle into their new environment and get the most from their stay.

 

To minimise negative environmental impact and to protect community resources, visitor numbers are limited to less than 15 guests per village.  The Village Homestays operate three times a year, during April, August and December.  These dates coincide with Kenyan school holidays and give visitors - especially those with children – the chance to fully integrate into relaxed family life.

 

Says GSE Ecotours spokesperson, Karen Fields: “We take great care to select suitable host

 

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families and homes.  Compared to Western houses, the traditional Kenyan wooden hut seems rustic, but it has all the basics for daily life.  As farming communities, all of our host

villages are economically stable, so they are not adversely affected by fluctuations in tourism.  This helps us to build a long-term working relationship with them and gives them the added benefit of receiving extra revenue to plough back into the community.”

 

The Kenyan village homestay package includes, all accommodation, meals, transfers and ground transportation and guide services.   A maximum of three visitors and one GSE Ecotours guide and translator stay with each host family.  The specialist tour operator also includes excursions to local national parks and game reserves as part of its itinerary, to allow visitors to appreciate Kenya’s majestic landscape, wildlife and natural habitats. 

 

An ethical alternative to mass market Kenyan safari and beach holidays, GSE Ecotours was formed by Jackie Kariithi, who had seen the Village Homestays model applied on a very small-scale whilst working in Kenya with a Women’s grassroots Non-Profit Organisation (NPO).   She later decided that she wanted to steer Village Homestays to become a ‘standalone viable tourism product’ and not combined with safari or beach holidays as offered by some travel companies.

 

GSE Ecotours is part of a wider operation which has helped to establish the non-profit organisation Kenya Women's Community Tourism Association (KWCTA) and the community-owned Mukuru Conservation Trust.  Since its inception two years ago, GSE Ecotours has been running Village Homestays holidays as means to integrate conservation and tourism in rural parts of Kenya.

 

For more information please call 0870 766 9891 or visit www.gse-ecotours.com

 

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