Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Black Friday shopping with a purpose

Ultimate Safaris supports Himba women through the Mbiri Skincare project.
Photo: Jason Nott 
We aren't big Black Friday shoppers, but we know a good deal when we see one. Read on for shopping ideas in Africa and Latin America where you can find something beautiful or useful while making a difference with your dollars...

There are an endless variety of beads at Kazuri, as well
as gorgeous pottery
Albatros Travel: A huge variety of artwork and jewelry can be found in Kenya, but a firm favorite of Albatros Travel is the Kazuri bead factory. Its main factory is located in Nairobi's Karen suburb on a parcel that was formerly part of the Karen Blixen estate, and visitors can tour the fair trade factory and bring home original hand-crafted jewelry. Kazuri employs more than 300 women, many of whom are single mothers, and produces more than 5 million beads every year.

Beautiful Galapagos wildlife immortalized in cedrella wood
Tropic Ecuador: The Galapagos Islands are best known for wildlife, but there's a wonderful human story as well. Tropic Ecuador's land-based trips delve into island history and local culture to give visitors a real flavor of the communities that call the islands home. Segundo has been making art in the Galapagos for nearly 23 years. He collects "cedrella" wood (an introduced species related to cedar) from the highlands to create surreal sculptures of Galapagos wildlife. Tropic can arrange visits to Segundo's small studio, located in one of the residential neighborhoods of Puerto Ayora.

A leopard clan totem by Jon Buck on display at
the Rwenzori gallery
Classic Africa Safaris: Travelers can do more than stop and stretch their legs when traveling from Queen Elizabeth NP to Bwindi with Classic Africa Safaris. A visit to the Rwenzori Art Centre promises guests a hot cup of coffee in their charming cafe and a glimpse into a thriving rural arts scene. The onsite foundry offers sculptors the opportunity to have their work cast into bronze by skilled craftsmen while the architect-designed sculpture gallery exhibits a selection of bronzes produced by the foundry for savvy collectors.

Kids are totally enamored by Streetwire's life-sized animals
New Frontiers: It would be hard to visit South Africa and leave without some of the country's wonderful hand-beaded artwork, and New Frontiers recommends a stop at Streetwire in Cape Town. This social project was designed to create sustainable employment and offers everything from life-sized animals to elegant vases, and visitors will find something for everyone on their list. Better yet, guests can catch the creative energy of the adjoining studio by watching the artists work. A visit to Streetwire is part of New Frontiers' Cape Town Eats Walking Tour

Maya Traditions artisan partners from the Qato Q'ib Coop
create backstrap woven textiles with a modern Maya feel
Maya Trails: Travelers visiting Guatemala's Lake Atitlan are immersed in color and culture, and one of the most visible and unforgettable details are the country's beautiful textiles. The Maya Traditions Foundation works with skilled indigenous women artisans to offer handmade products that help to strengthen communities. Their fair trade model helps to preserve heritage while providing employment and services for women, as well as amazing items for visitors to remember their trip long after returning home. Ask Maya Trails to incorporate a visit into your client's time in Lake Atitlan.

A sampling of the beautiful jewelry hand-crafted by
Namibia's Himba tribe
Ultimate Safaris: Your travelers can come home with something totally unique when traveling with Ultimate Safaris in Namibia. A cultural visit to a Himba village will give guests insight into the daily lives of this semi-nomadic tribe and into the entrepreneurial spirit of the Himba women, who create gorgeous jewelry and crafts. The intrepid women also sustainably harvest wild myrrh for the fair trade Mbiri Skincare project, and Ultimate provides each safari guest a complimentary lip moisturizer from Mbiri (though we also came home with body lotion and essential oil!).

Kids at Ngamo Primary benefit directly from the sale
of these children's books
Imvelo Safari Lodges: Imvelo Safari Lodges has a recommendation for the perfect gifts for little readers that also support literacy for Zimbabwean students. The Elephants Are Coming and Aunt Alice and the Lion are wonderful stories written for kids between 5 - 8 (though we're buying them for younger kids, too!), and are available for purchase at Camelthorn and Bomani Lodges, as well as for Kindle on Amazon (paperbacks will be available Feb 9, 2017 and are available for pre-order now!). Money raised from the sale of these books goes toward Hwange Schools Project in collaboration with Imvelo.

One of the stunning sculptures seen at Galeria Benito
Ortega in Todos Santos
Todos Santos Eco Adventures: Shopping is hardly the only reason to visit
Todos Santos in Baja California Sur, but the town is an artists' colony and perfect for the casual shopper or serious collector. From potters to painters, jewelers to sculptors - it has a rich history of creativity that continues today. Artists from throughout Mexico have flocked to this community, and an incredible diversity of talent is represented in its streets and shops. Bryan can help steer your clients to favorite galleries and make art a part of a visit with Todos Santos Eco Adventures.

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