Most people know Airbnb for finding that perfect spot to stay when traveling, but now you can also use this handy website to book social impact experience that will broaden your horizons.

AfriOceans Conservation Alliance is just one of many NGO’s that use Airbnb to share important enlightening experiences with the community. Their amazing work includes campaigns to save sharks, in-depth research projects and ocean live education initiatives about sharks and ocean life.

As an NGO operating in the wildlife conservation space for the past fifteen years, finding adequate funding was always a problem. Competition for whatever little corporate funding there is out there is fierce with public funding being equally as sparse. It is always a gamble – will people care enough to open their minds and wallets to a particular cause you are promoting?

Obtaining direct funding for conservation projects favouring any of the other myriad of species, presently under threat, is a task in patient and creative thinking.
As an NGO rooted in marine species conservation (lesser-known sharks and the endangered African penguin specifically), funding over the years has been as scarce.

They’ve since developed a sustainable tourism model a year ago to provide a revenue stream for their NGO. They now offer people transformative ocean experiences above and below the waves using sea kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and snorkeling. They hope to have an impact, but being essentially a “tourism” product, the model relied heavily upon the Cape Town tourist season.

During the Cape winter, the numbers of visitors to their beachfront office predictably dwindled.  Down on the beach, they had instituted an African penguin protection program. With some pieces of old rope and some wooden poles we found, they then desperately needed signage to inform the public that this makeshift “barrier” was protecting a sensitive African penguin breeding area and appealing for people to please respect it as such.

Appeals were made for funding via their weekly newsletter to their small subscriber base, but it wasn’t surprising when no one responded.

It was then that AfriOceans heard about Airbnb Social Impact Experiences. Excitedly, they quickly got to work signing up online. Thinking about what people would be most interested in, they decided on offering sea kayaking, snorkelling with seals, as well as something especially developed just for the Experiences – an educational walk-through of the very African penguin colony that AfriOceans work hard on protecting. It was the perfect opportunity to show people conservation in action.

This World Environment Day, expand your horizons and take part in interesting experiences from meeting unique creatures of the Cape Peninsula with a Marine Biologist, to learning how to up-cycle and reuse discarded materials to create beautiful art with an award winning artist. Book an experience that educates you about a challenge our environment is currently facing, you can help with simply by experiencing it.

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