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9-Day African Volunteering Trip and Safari - Livingstone

9-Day, 8-Night All-Inclusive Volunteering Trip from Spark Ventures in Zambia and Botswana

The Fine Print

  • Book by 6/15/12 or 8/30/12, depending on option, or promo value expires
  • Travel by 7/23/12 or 1/31/13, depending on option
  • Limit 1/person, may buy 1 add'l for July or 3 add'l for Jan as gifts
  • Limit 1/visit
  • Valid only for option purchased
  • Cancellations subject to $500 fee
  • 30-day cancellation required or fee up to Groupon price applies
  • Must be 18+ to check in; 12+ to stay
  • Valid only for standard rooms
  • Must sign waiver
  • Airfare and taxes not included
  • See the rules that apply to all deals.

Questions and Answers 23 questions

Commonly Asked Questions

Q:

How safe is this trip? What immunizations would we need? Is malaria a problem? What airport do we need to fly into/out of?

Laura J.  asked on  Apr 16, 2012

A:

Zambia is one of the safest countries in all of Africa....never had a civil war and politically very stable. Spark has taken over 150 volunteers on numerous trips and never had a safety or security issue. Immunizations needed depend on what you've currently have so we recommend checking with the CDC for Zambia travel: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/zambia.htm. We do recommend anti-malaria medication, which most doctors can prescribe. Participants fly into Ndola, Zambia (NLA) and leave from Livingstone, Zambia (LVI). You can also fly into Lusaka, Zambia (LUN) the day prior to the trip and Spark can help to arrange for an additional overnight and regional flight to Ndola. Lots more questions are answere on our FAQ page here: http://www.sparkventures.org/get-involved/partnership-trips/faqs/

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 16, 2012

Q:

Do you have reviews or comments on Yelp or anywhere online?

Lucy J.  asked on  Apr 16, 2012

A:

An important question. We have a "What people are saying..." section on the Spark Ventures website with quotes (http://tinyurl.com/6sdqocd), a video with trip participant interviews on YouTube (http://tinyurl.com/7825h5e) and if you call the office, we can provide you with a list of references-former trip participants, 773-293-6710.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 16, 2012

Q:

Do you have any suggestions on ways to fly there inexpensively? So far all I've found are $2000 tickets.

Jennifer W.  asked on  Apr 17, 2012

A:

Traveling from the U.S you will likely pay between $2,000-$3,000 for round trip flights...it is not cheap. But you are going all the way to Africa for an adventures of a lifetime! People with frequent flyer miles can sometimes purchase some or all of the legs of their trip using miles. Expedia, cheapOair, Orbitz...those are the sites that most trip participants use to book their flights.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 17, 2012

A:

I have seen prices be 1606 online. to luk from Sea

yvonne  from  Self  replied on  Apr 21, 2012

Q:

What kind of accommodations do participants stay in during the trip?

Lila H.  asked on  Apr 18, 2012

A:

Travelers will be staying in hotels....Michaelangelo's in Ndola and the Protea Hotels in Lusaka and Livingstone. You will find these hotels have simple but nice guest rooms with comfortable beds and private bathrooms. The Protea at LIvingstone is a 4-star lodging experience. The trip is based on participants sharing a room, or if you would prefer a single room, you can contact Spark Ventures to discuss an additional fee, 773-293-6710, info@sparkventures.org (put "Groupon" in the subject).

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 18, 2012

Q:

I bought the Groupon. How do I register?

Bill B.  asked on  Apr 20, 2012

A:

You will find a link on the redemption code that will take you directly to the registration page. Or you can go to www.sparkventures.org and you will see a link in the lower right hand corner that links to the registration. You will be asked to provide your Groupon # when registering.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 20, 2012

Q:

will there be another amazing deal like this again? i wish i had come across this sooner this is something i have always dreamed of doing!

Claren K.  asked on  Apr 25, 2012

A:

Currently, Spark Ventures is accepting people on a waiting list for both the July and January trips and for future trips. Go to www.sparkventures.org. Considering the positive response, it seems likely there will be future deals like this, but we have no gauruntee.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 25, 2012

More Questions and Answers

Q:

will there be another amazing deal like this again? i wish i had come across this sooner this is something i have always dreamed of doing!

Claren K.  asked on  Apr 25, 2012

A:

Currently, Spark Ventures is accepting people on a waiting list for both the July and January trips and for future trips. Go to www.sparkventures.org. Considering the positive response, it seems likely there will be future deals like this, but we have no gauruntee.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 25, 2012

Q:

Once registered, and for any reason we need to cancel for medical reasons, is the deal transferable? For example, we would like to go on the trip in January, but between now and January I get pregnant or there is some other health reason, and we need to postpone or cancel the trip, how would that work? Is there a sort of trip protection option for this kind of situation?

Chrystal L.  asked on  Apr 23, 2012

A:

Once registered, your spot on the trip will be reserved. If you need to cancel, you have the choice of a refund for any expenses not already incurred, or applying the balance of your Groupon (minus the costs incurred) towards a future trip. The amount of the refund or transfer will depend on the timing of cancellation and if applying the balance towards a future trip, there may be additional costs as prices vary from year to year. The closer to the trip date, the more costs have already been incurred from bookings in Zambia and Botswana that have to be made at least 90 days in advance. Spark Ventures will work with each trip participant to ensure that their situation is handled with fairness and as much flexibility as possible, as it is our goal for everyone to be able to participate in one of the trips. For more information, you can call the Spark office 773-293-6710.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 23, 2012

Q:

I have a group that is interested in the January trip. What happens if it sell out?

Mary B.  asked on  Apr 22, 2012

A:

Spark Ventures will continue to facilitate two trips each year-one in July and one in January. If the January 2013 trip sells out, you can request to be added to the waiting list by emailing Spark Ventures at: info@sparkventures.org.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 22, 2012

Q:

I just want to say I think this Groupon is perverse and hugely culturally insensitive. It is so incredibly first-world ignorant to think that you can just waltz into another country and be a "do-gooder". Those are people's lives, and it is not a zoo. You are not getting to experience their culture by spending nine days on a trip that costs more money than many people earn in a year, and you are NOT doing any good. Anyone who has purchased this should seriously consider asking for a refund. Groupon you should be ashamed. This is a huge disappointment. PEOPLE ARE NOT ZOO ANIMALS.

Bethany K.  asked on  Apr 21, 2012

A:

Hi Bethany- We agree that many volunteer travel trips are irresponsible and do more harm than good. However, this trip does not fall into that category. Those who purchase the Groupon will be traveling with Spark Ventures, an international development organization that has a holistic approach to poverty alleviation. Spark Ventures has been facilitating volunteer travel trips for four years and has the highest standards for cultural sensitivity and creating a mutually beneficial experiences. Travelers WILL NOT be on a sightseeing trip to take pictures of the orphans and do a construction project that could have provided important jobs for the local workers. Travelers WILL be immersed in a cultural and educational experience that includes relationship-building with teachers, social workers and the children they serve. The volunteering activities are part of on-going programming that is led by phenomenal Zambian humanitarians-who greatly appreciate that people would take the time to visit them, hear their story and return as advocates for the work they do. When you have a chance, we invite you to take a look at www.sparkventures.org and see that this trip is part of investing in holistic and sustainable solutions that lift children out of poverty.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 21, 2012

A:

I understand your point, though as someone who has been acquainted with Spark for several years, I can speak of the intentions of the staff and trip participants. These are informed people who find it to be a valuable experience to step out of their comfort zone and interact with individuals around the world. They understand the impact they can and cannot have in this short time and typically are dedicated to this cause long before and after the experience.

Mary B.  from  Self  replied on  Apr 22, 2012

Q:

I bought the Groupon. How do I register?

Bill B.  asked on  Apr 20, 2012

A:

You will find a link on the redemption code that will take you directly to the registration page. Or you can go to www.sparkventures.org and you will see a link in the lower right hand corner that links to the registration. You will be asked to provide your Groupon # when registering.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 20, 2012

Q:

If I want to go on the trip and I want to bring something for the kids, what would be good? Tootsie rolls or t-shirt or crayons? Any ideas?

Bill B.  asked on  Apr 20, 2012

A:

That's very generous of you. Once you register for the trip, you will receive a trip manual that will address many questions like this in details to provide you with plenty of information to make the most of the experience. Primarily, trip participants will be invited to bring some educational resources like reading books for the kids-and you'll receive specific guidelines to help ensure that the books are culturally relevant to the Zambian children.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 20, 2012

Q:

Do this $2000 cover your airfare?

Veronica S.  asked on  Apr 20, 2012

A:

No. The $2,000 is for all of your expenses once you arrive in Zambia....transportation, meals, lodging and excursions. You will need to book your own flights as it explains on the Fine Print and Details sectino of the deal. Please read it carefully.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 20, 2012

Q:

Is there any medical opportunities within the community during the trip?

Katie K.  asked on  Apr 20, 2012

A:

This trip is fairly structured and will not include any substantial medical programs. However, once trip participants are registered, Spark requests that they share any skills, education and professional experience that might be beneficial in order to facilitate meaningful interactions and volunteer activity during the trip. For more information, please contact Spark Ventures at info@sparkventures.org or 773-293-6710.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 20, 2012

Q:

How amazing is this grass roots project!!!!!!!! I already immensely liked groupon ,now I love you guys!!!! I would love to do something like this in South , Central America or the Carribean. The cost probably wouldn't be as high nor the distance. Thanks Gloria

Gloria A.  asked on  Apr 19, 2012

A:

Hi Gloria! We're actually in the process of launching a new partnership in Central America, and will have similar trips to visit and volunteer with our new partner in 2013. To get updates on what we're up to, events that we host, and ways that you could get involved, as well as news on upcoming trips, please join our mailing list which can be found here: http://www.sparkventures.org/sign-up-for-our-mailing-list/

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 19, 2012

Q:

I am a single female travelling alone. If there is no one to share a room with, would I have to pay a single supplement?

Wendy H.  asked on  Apr 19, 2012

A:

No, you would not.

Erin D.  from  Merchant  replied on  Apr 19, 2012

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