For most people, African Safaris tops the bucket list of the destinations or adventures. Safaris are epic magical endeavors which allows one to sneak a peek at some of the most majestic, weird and wonderful creatures in the world. Despite the excitement associated with African safaris, there are many issues that come up regarding the rights of animals. The issue of responsible tourism is a major concern. Most people believe African safaris are one of the ethical ways of interacting with animals since it occurs in their natural habitat.
What constitutes responsible tourism, however, has been a subject of discussion for some time. Responsible tourism occurs in many different ways. Some of the indicators of responsible tourism include having a positive impact on wildlife, the environment or local communities. However, it is impossible to determine whether your contribution to responsible tourism goes to the intended purposes.
Below are a few tips that can help you to identify ethical safari adventures and tips to help you practice ethical behavior when on a safari. These tips can help to ensure that a meaningful and rewarding experience for everyone involved hence a responsible tourism experience.
Wildlife conservation is the most important aspect of responsible tourism. Poaching remains to be a huge problem in most African Countries. The situation is even dire for critically endangered animals. Games reserves try to prevent poaching by increasing monitoring and hiring more rangers. Tourists can help in these efforts by visiting the most affected game reserves and national parks. The Maasai Mara and Ol-pajeta conservancies are some of the famous conservancies in Kenya.
In Tanzania, you can explore the areas which receive fewer visitors. This helps to support the game reserves as well as the local communities. Some of these parks include Katari, Ruaha, Selous and Mahare mountains. If you happen to visit Zanzibar, avoid watching or swimming with dolphins as these boat rides so not have due consideration to the welfare of these animals. In Kenya, you can practice responsible tourism by visiting Saruni Rhino. This is the first rhino tracking experience in East Africa. It supports efforts for this endangered species.
When on a safari, avoid disrupting the animals in their habitats by getting too close. Such actions disrupt their routines and also puts you in danger if the animals feel threatened. More importantly, never buy souvenirs made from animal products.
Responsible tourism puts a lot of emphasis on protecting the environment. When choosing where to stay during your safari trip, look for conservancies like those found in Kenya. These are areas where local communities participate in the conservation of land by practicing sustainable tourism and farming.
Besides, be sure to observe local laws which are meant to protect the environment. For instance, plastic bags are banned in Kenya. Therefore, be sure to carry some sturdy bags in a nonplastic material. You can also buy during your trip which is a great way of supporting local craftspeople and the economy.
Although it may sound obvious, do not litter during your safari trip. Be more careful in game reserves where littering affects wildlife more directly. This includes dropping cigarette butts on the floor since some of these areas have desert environments which are prone to fires. Besides, avoid picking any plants or flowers from the park since they may be playing a more critical role in the ecosystem than you may think.
Another important aspect of responsible tourism pertains to the local community you are visiting. Take time to research the area you intend to visit during your travel. This will provide you with the help you understand what is acceptable and what is not in the local culture. Learning a few local words is a great way of facilitating your interactions with the local community. It also demonstrates your willingness to learn a different culture which is a critical component of responsible tourism.
Besides, do some research on whether the staff paid and treated fairly. When visiting Tanzania for instance for a Kilimanjaro trek, look for information regarding porters through the Kilimanjaro Porters Association Project. This project is dedicated to the welfare and remuneration of porters.
Responsible tourism also calls for being respectful during your trip. Dress modestly even during your safaris. If you are interested in visiting local communities, boo with a tour company which offers authentic interactions which benefit local communities. When battering, remember that haggling is the art finding a fair price for all parties. Negotiate with a smile and remember that the profits made will go towards improving the welfare of the community.
In case you are would like to benefit local communities during your trip, you can participate in initiatives such as Pack for a Purpose. Such initiatives encourage people to bring resources and supplies which benefits local communities directly.
At Shrike safaris, we recognize the role of the local communities in supporting the tourism ecosystem. This is why we encourage our guests to exercise responsible tourism.