RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

Nature is our office, it is where we live, work and play. Here at GRG's we are dedicated to preserving our environment and responsible travel. We know it takes more than picking up rubbish from our campsite to call ourselves 'Responsible' but we do everything we can to protect our Nepal. We take care of our staff and protect the environment of the places we visit and take every opportunity to make a positive contribution where ever we can. We are aware that everything we do has an impact on Nepal but we are trying our hardest to make sure that this is a positive impact and that all we take are photographs and all we leave behind are footprints. Often we leave the place cleaner than we found it!

We have recently set up the GRG FOUNDATION as a way to give more back to the communities we travel in. Read more...

WHAT WE DO FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT

  • Respectful of local cultures
  • Started a recycling scheme in Mugling, the home town of most of our staff
  • We hold a strict 'leave no trace policy'
  • Small group size to minimise impact of our trips 
  • Before departing on trips we remove all unnecessary packaging from our river supplies.
  • Take all rubbish from trips back to Kathmandu to dispose of appropriately (we always do a sweep of the beaches we camp on to check nobody else has left anything behind)
  • Where possible we try to buy all our food locally from the villages around the rivers to support the local communities 
  • Our toilet tents are erected far from the river or any other water source and dug deep enough. We burn toilet paper at the end of the day.
  • EVERYTHING that comes on the river with us gets brought back to our boat house in Kathmandu to dispose of properly
  • We will provide you with filtered drinking water whilst on our trips; however this will not be mineral water as we try to not use plastic bottles.
  • We recycle everything possible. Once we return from a river trip we give any cans or glass bottles to a local family who can sell them for a small profit.
  • Have a meeting before our long trips to talk to clients about what they really need to bring with them on the trips so that we do not leave anything behind.
  • We ask all our clients to dress modestly. When on the raft, shorts and t-shirts are fine, however when we go up into the villagers, your guide may as you to cover up.
  • We ask clients to limit displays of public affection as this makes local Nepali’s uncomfortable.
  • All office work is done on laptops to preserve the use of paper. We only send emails, not letters.

WHAT WE DO FOR OUR STAFF

  • Hire local staff. The majority of our staff come from along the Trisuli river which is where Maila and his family grew up. We provide them with raft guide, safety kayaker and canyoning training. We also give them English lessons and first aid courses. (Yes, we do take on Westerner kayakers during the season, but these NEVER replace a Nepali job, these are in addition.)
  • We pay them a fair wage. The national standard for a Nepali raft guides wage is, in our opinion, very low. Therefore we pay our guides a little more and we feel in return we get that much more from them including their loyalty. We have a very low staff turnover.
  • All our guides are covered by our comprehensive insurance policy which we update annually.
  • We support their families. In addition to their salaries and river allowance, we also support our guides families with their children’s education and if they should ever incur any medical expenses we help cover those as well.
  • We never allow our porters to carry more than 20kg at a time…even if they want to!
  • We encourage them to work overseas in the ‘off season’. During the monsoon, there is very little work available, so we actively encourage our guides to work overseas. This keeps their skills up to date and they gain knowledge of international standards, Chrissy always helps prepare their visa's and Maila makes sure their jobs are secure for when they return. We have successfully sent guides to USA, England, India, Bhutan, Tibet, Japan, Dubai, Norway, America and Turkey.
  • We offer equal opportunity with employment and do not discriminate against sex, race, caste or religion.
  • Give them a family. It's cheesy, but true. Our staff become our family and so we give them the best we possibly can.
Responsible Tourism Nepal

WHAT ELSE DO WE DO?

  • In the last few weeks, we have been shocked by the state of some of our beaches and so have started cleaning up. We have brought two big drums to leave down at Kuring Ghat beach which is the end point of many rafting trips, in the hope that they will get used and save our beautiful beach. We have employed one local family to look after this drum and empty properly when necessary.
  • We are involved with a local NGO based in the Dhading region which works with local schools and health clinics. We have taken groups to them in the past for construction work, we give them a percentage of our profits and help them with fundraising.
  • Volunteer our time and effort in the organisation of the Himalayan River Fest
  • Working alongside Chrissy's charity PoD, we have taken a local Street Kids Center kayaking, co-ordinated a day out on the Pokhara lake for a local orphanage and helped paint some local schools. See some pictures here. We have also run a trek to Everest Base Camp and raised over £1000 for the Charity!
  • Every time we go down to the Trisuli river we collect all the rubbish left behind by others! Even if there is only a week left between our visits, we always leave with 2 great big drums full of rubbish. Last week (Feb 2013) we have started an ongoing recycling scheme in the town of Mugling.
  • Every time we travel to the Sun Kosi river we take simple medicines such as paracetamol, rehydration salts and alcohol wipes to distribute to the remote villages. We run this trip around 10 times a year so we get to know the villages we travel through pretty well. Whenever we camp, the village elders (and normally the whole village!) come down to check out our camp, and we leave the elders with small supplies.
  • In June 2013, we took our entire crew to the Lake in Pokhara and spent 2 full days going around the edge of the lake collecting rubbish. We managed to fill our gear raft 7 times full of rubbish!
  • Every Saturday, we join the Green Soldiers for litter picks and educational talks about the impact litter has on the environment.
Responsible Tourism Nepal