Coronavirus: Advice for Skedaddle Customers

NB: This page is being updated regularly to bring you the latest information regarding this evolving picture. 

To the Skedaddle community,

We hope that you, your family and friends are in good health. For those that are ill, we wish you the speediest of recoveries. These continue to be the most extraordinary of times. Each individual faces their own challenges, worries and anxieties. For us adventure enthusiasts who love nothing more than exploring the great outdoors and connecting with communities, the global travel restrictions currently in place are difficult to come to terms with.

The safety of our customers, staff and partners remains our top priority as always. So for those of you with existing bookings, we would like to take this opportunity to give you an update:

  • If you had planned to go away with us in May we will be in touch with you very soon, if we haven’t already, to talk through with you your options. Please bear with us as we work to contact everyone individually.
  • If you are due to travel with us from June onwards, thank you for your patience as we deal with more immediate departures, rest assured we will get in touch with you when we can.
  • We won’t be processing your balance payments and are enabling more people to transfer to a future holiday. If you can’t commit to an alternative date at the moment you will receive a refund credit note to the full value of the money paid and which you can use against any Skedaddle holiday, subject to availability.
  • You can now transfer to a future date. We are enabling anyone booked on a Skedaddle holiday until the end of August, to move to a future departure, free of charge. This includes switching to 2021 dates, at the current 2020 price. Do get in touch with us if you would like to explore this option.

Please be assured your money is protected, whether as payment for a specific holiday or as a credit note, we are bonded by ABTOT and are members of ABTA.

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An update on our team
We are still here for you! Like many, we are home working, testing the limits of our domestic broadbands and IT. So far, so good (surprisingly), and we still have all of our usual means of contact in place, though do bear with us if you are trying to get through to speak to us. As you can imagine, it’s a very busy time.

Like many companies in the travel industry, we have had to make the difficult decision to ask a significant number of our team in the UK to take a leave of absence. We are also not able to provide the normal level of business to our extensive team of guides, suppliers and partners around the world. These are not decisions we have taken lightly. We are painfully aware of the impact this has on our global network’s livelihoods and wellbeing and this weighs heavily on us.

Despite all of this, we continue to be amazed by how our community has come together. Whilst we are now functioning with a reduced team, we are keeping in contact with everyone so we can stay up-to-date about what’s going on, keep spirits high and think about the future. By sharing friendship, compassion and support, we are all finding a way through these difficult days. Your continued support – whether this is kind words, bookings for 2021 or patience as we navigate the daily challenges – means the world to us.

Sharing is caring
Whilst we all adapt to this strange new world, alongside our wider team, we are keen to keep you, our extended family smiling over the coming weeks and months. We’d love to hear how you’re keeping busy, maybe it’s planning your future adventures, or reminiscing on past travels with us – whatever it is you’re up to, do continue to share your stories with us.

For those craving travel inspiration to lift your spirits, check out our new dates for 2021 here. Remember, when we all get through this – and we will – amazing adventures and more community connections await.

Don’t forget, we’re all in this together
These are extraordinary times. Friendship, community and trust have never been more important.

In our 25 year history we have handled many challenges, but this is the biggest yet. We are a small, friendly business, built on inspiring people to travel in a sustainable, community-led way. We’re a passionate, global community and we’re all in this together – that’s the (virtual) office team and our extended family of small, local businesses – our many local partners, the hoteliers, and beyond.

And of course you are part of that community. This is our promise to you: when you set off on your next Skedaddle trip, you can just turn up, relax and have a great time, in the knowledge that we’ve got everything covered.

Thanks again for your understanding, patience and continued support – it means a lot!

Paul, Lizzie, Hannah and the Skedaddle Team

Women in Coffee – Meet Martha Mhango

We all love our morning coffee. But less of us know how it got from the bean into our cups. If you’d like to learn a little bit more about exactly where some of your favourite fair trade coffees originate, join us on a Meet the People Tour to northern Malawi, to meet some of the farmers who harvest the coffee beans for Traidcraft’s delicious coffee.

Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited (MCPCU), spread across Northern and Central Malawi, have been harvesting coffee since the early 1930s. Pioneering in its field, Mzuzu’s focus is on its farmers and sustainability. Mzuzu farmers are offered training on sustainable agricultural techniques, quality and processing, and are even provided with microfinance loans to buy seeds. Mzuzu also owns a coffee shop, Coffee Den, which provides an internet service and sells coffee and souvenirs, and Coffee Suites, a guest house in town which brings a lot of business to the area.

Unlike any other cooperative in the area, Mzuzu also runs a “Women in Coffee” programme, implemented to empower women farmers and increase their personal income by selling coffee grown by women to buyers all over the world. As a result, there are over 650 female farmers across the six cooperatives! This is drastically more than regular plantations in the area, who aren’t part of the Union.

It is at this point in our journey that we head to the hills of Malawi’s Rumphi district, to meet Martha Mhango. Martha started out as a coffee farmer in Phoka Coffee Cooperative, one of the Union’s six cooperatives, and since 2016 has been the elected Chairperson of Nkhonthwa zone. 

coffee-quote-1Martha is a huge advocate for the Union’s “Women in Coffee” programme, as she has been able to provide for her family in a similar way that a man in her community can. 

The fair trade premium that women like Martha receive is split into two. Half goes to the ‘zone’ for community development, for the likes of coffee washing stations, bridges and teachers’ houses, and the other half goes directly to the farmer herself.

coffee-quote-2

Another great thing about the Mzuzu’s is that the waste biproducts from the coffee production comes back to the farmers to use as a fertiliser, minimising waste and helping increase yields in following years. 

With the help of the Union, Martha’s farm’s vision for the future is to have solar energy and water in their primary school, and to develop netball and football facilities.

If you’re inspired by Martha’s story and would like the opportunity to meet farmers just like her, and hear their stories for yourself, why not secure your place on our Meet the People tour in Malawi? Alternatively, you can get involved with people like Martha from the comfort of your own front room, by choosing Traidcraft’s Fairtrade coffee, cultivated by farmers who are treated with respect and paid fairly, throughout the developing world.

Win a Meet the People Tour with The Traidcraft Exchange Raffle

Traidcraft Exchange’s second Raffle has some top class prizes for you!

The raffle is running until the end of April 2020, so whether you’re buying tickets for yourself, selling them to friends and family or at an event over the next few months, we hope you get involved. You could sell raffle tickets at your Big Brew celebration during Fairtrade Fortnight, at any events you’re holding over Easter or at school, work or amongst your friends and family.

To order raffle ticket books, please click here or get in touch via email or on the phone on 0191 497 6445.

To buy virtual raffle tickets, click here.

1st Prize: A trip to India with Meet The People tours

MTP+logoMeet The People Tours offer small groups of people an opportunity to gain an authentic insight into a country’s people and culture, visiting fair trade producers and development projects far removed from any tourist trail. You’ll experience life in local communities and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of a country’s natural wonders and cultural heritage.
Find out more at www.meetthepeopletours.co.uk

2nd Prize: A two night stay in the Lake District at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa

low-wood-bay-resort-spa Located in the heart of the Lake District National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site, Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa has one of the most enviable locations in the world. The view from the resort over England’s longest lake, fells and mountains is truly breath-taking.
Find out more at www.englishlakes.co.uk

 

3rd Prize: Apple iPad

dhe-haivan-cbfeTesD7wo-unsplash2019 Apple iPad Air 10.5”, A12 Bionic, iOS, Wi-Fi, 64GB, Space Grey

And also…

4 Fair Trade Hampers from our friends at Traidcraft PLC.

Raffle closing date: 21st April 2020
Draw will take place: 30th April 2020

Traidcraft Exchange

By taking part in Traidcraft Exchange’s raffle you’re helping challenge the injustices we see in world trade right now. You’re helping people like Mathew, a banana and livestock farmer in Tanzania, to earn more money from the hard work he does every day so he can improve the quality of his family’s life and ensure that his baby son, Gracious, has a future full of hope. To find out more about Mathew and the project he’s involved in go to: https://traidcraftexchange.org/christmas.

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Terms and conditions – For full terms and conditions go to
www.traidcraftexchange.org/raffletandc

Prize details:
1st prize: choose either a tour for 2 people (non-flight inclusive) or a tour for 1 person PLUS return economy flights from the UK on the recommended flights for the tour. Subject to availability and the tour reaching minimum numbers.  Your tour must be taken by 30th April 2021.
2nd prize: 2 nights Bed & Breakfast at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, dinner on one night and a bottle of fizz in your room on arrival. Subject to availability. Does not include stays over bank holidays or Christmas/New Year.

Where to go when? Our guide to a year of fair trade holidays

If you are looking for a fulfilling journey to inspire and invigorate ,then browse our guide for holidays you don’t want to miss:

Early escapes with a warm welcome: Start the year with inspiring stories from communities and cooperatives in Latin America! Our tours in Cuba and Chile journey through stunning landscapes and cultural capitals visiting farmers whose ingenious techniques and fascinating histories are full of inspiration. Book now to ensure you don’t miss out!
More spring options in: Nepal and Western India

Summer’s in sight: As the warmer weather reaches the UK we head to Africa where the cooler (but still very pleasant!) temperatures in Malawi and Eswatini attract incredible wildlife. In between the fabulous fair trade visits we can often be found rhino and elephant spotting.
More summer options in: Peru and Thailand

Autumn Adventures: October is the perfect time to head to two of our favourite destinations for a celebration of culture and tradition. In Northern India we take a boat trip on the Ganges and meet weavers in Varanasi, whilst in Ghana you can put the cocoa pods to one side and try your hand at traditional Ashanti printing.
More autumn options in: South Africa and Vietnam

In search of winter sunshine: For those planning ahead, join us in Costa Rica for the coffee harvest, or travel with us to the heart of fair trade in Bangladesh where we meet paper makers, embroiderers and communities pioneering organic farming.
More winter options in: Sri Lanka and Southern India

To browse our full programme of holidays click here. To check availability, have your questions answered then you can call us on 0191 2651110 or email us at info@skedaddle.com

Discover Malawi, the warm heart of Africa

It’s for good reason that Malawi is often described as the warm heart of Africa, and the friendly welcomes and inspiring stories make for an unforgettable Meet the People holiday.

Our tour explores the north of the country where the land rises from the warm shores of Lake Malawi up into hills perfect for cultivating delicious coffee, and levels out at the Nyika plateau where we go in search of zebra, elephants and the elusive leopard!

Beautiful Views
The first stop on our journey north gives us a delicious taste of what is to come as we settle down in the local café for a delicious mug of Mzuzu coffee. In the coming days we meet smallholder coffee farmers like Martha who shows with pride her plot of organic coffee bushes and explains how she cares for the plants and ensures that only the best quality cherries are taken for harvest.

As we travel from place to place, the team of local guides make every stop an experience as we shop at village stalls to stock up on essentials of fresh tomatoes and bananas and learn a few greetings along the way. You might even want to try your hand at making nsima using the traditional technique to pound the flour!

Malawi (16)[2]

No trip would be complete without taking time to enjoy Lake Malawi. Formed by a fault in the Great Rift Valley, the ancient lake is always a highlight. On the northern shores we join farmers as they gather their harvest of Kilombero rice. A speciality grain known throughout Malawi for its quality and taste, at this cooperative it holds a special significance as the fair price they receive is making schooling accessible for farming families and funding scholarships for children in the community.

KarongaIf you’ve been captured by the delicious aroma of Mzuzu coffee or want to see the rice harvest for yourself then join us in June as we travel to meet the people!

For more information about our holidays in Malawi and around the world visit: www.meetthepeopletours.co.uk email: info@skedaddle.com or call us on 0191 2651110.

Sunset over Lake Malawi