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More people are choosing a vegan lifestyle than ever before. However, when it comes to travel, especially luxury travel, there are few options available. Vegans are often short-changed on the meals they are provided on conventional tours and itineraries often include activities that vegans are uncomfortable with.
Rwanda is a fantastic destination for people who love animals. Gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants, giraffes, and golden monkeys are just a few of the animals that you can observe in their natural habitat, and while there are some vegan options available (if you ask!), it can be rather slim pickings when it comes to both the food and the knowledge of veganism, which is still quite low in the country. However, 57 vegans on two 12-day group tours hosted by vegan writer and educator Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and led by the founders of the company Brighde and Seb to Rwanda in June and July 2019, ate incredible food that was lovingly prepared by chefs and service staff who had been trained by luxury vegan tour operator World Vegan Travel .
World Vegan Travel, a tour operator started in 2018 by former Intrepid Travel tour guides and long term travelers Brighde Reed and Sebastien Ranger, creates carefully-curated trips to provide vegans a luxury experience.
The company works with some of the most famous and luxurious five-star hotels and gourmet restaurants, teaching them how to select and craft delicious vegan meals in the six months leading up to the trip.
As Michael, the head chef at Akagera Game Lodge says “Cooking vegan is not easy as a once-off. In training my staff it took in excess of three months, first to source products, then to practice making the dishes to perfect them. The general cooks learned a lot with the 2 groups coming almost back to back. The whole vegan trip was a great experience for my staff, they learned a lot, and are still making vegan dishes especially the pastry department.”
Some hotels are revamping their menus to include more options while others, like the Marriott in Kigali, conducted two sessions of vegan awareness training for all their food and beverage staff in the lead-up to the trip.
“We have already discussed marketing ourselves as a vegan-friendly hotel and also working to improve our ability to serve vegan guests.”
Afia Organics, one of the only Rwanda-based companies selling vegan staples like tofu and seitan, was used as a supplier of these products to hotels such as the high-end One and Only Nyungwe House Resort next to Nyungwe National Park, one of the few habitats of chimpanzees left in the world.
Brighde, one of the co-founders says, “Connecting hotels who have not yet fully explored vegan food in their menus with suppliers of these vegan products who might not have known they even exist is a win-win situation and an excellent opportunity for vegan outreach. The small-scale suppliers sell more products and the hotels and restaurants know where they can get vegan products to create fantastic vegan dishes.”
World Vegan Travel itineraries are carefully designed to include activities that promote activities or organizations that protect animals, not exploit them. Activities such as elephant riding, fishing, and visiting zoos are replaced with visits to sanctuaries, vegan cooking classes, wilderness hikes, and safaris where travelers can view animals in natural habitats with like-minded people.
World Vegan Travel also offers trips hosted by vegan influencers, giving their followers intimate time with their favorite personalities for unforgettable experiences in spectacular locations where it is often hard to be vegan such as Rwanda, Thailand, Vietnam, and France with tours coming soon to South Africa and Botswana.
“There are a million other tours to choose from, but these trips have the integrity that I was looking for, ” said traveler Lynda. Brighde, one of the co-founders says “World Vegan Travel is filling a niche by creating luxury experiences that align with the values of vegans.”
Would you be interested in scheduling a time to speak with us, or one of our travelers?
Brighde Reed (Co-founder)
Tel.: +66-924-751202 (Bangkok number)