Africa: A Community of Cultures
While we have already traveled to Sri Lanka and India and discovered many green movements and impressions in those countries, we now travel to Africa. A continent that differs vastly throughout and has lots of cultural heritage.
Africa is the second largest continent of the world and consists out of 54 individual countries! It has an estimated 1250-3000 native languages! So it is important to be more detailed, which part of Africa one is talking about, as it is such a diverse and large continent!
Africa is not a Country
This became especially clear during the Ebola crisis in the past years in West Africa. Other African countries, such as South Africa or Tanzania, located far away from the outbreak (New York is geographically closer to the outbreak than South Africa!) felt a decline in tourists visiting. Surely, the worldwide media coverage did not support this situation and many travelers did not see Africa as a safe travel destination.
As travel blogger Dawn Jorgensen from The Incidental Tourist explains in our interview:
The kind of media coverage that bulks Africa as one, is damaging to the economy and as a result has a negative impact on the lives of individuals.
Furthermore, she suggests that more responsible coverage that educate the varied regions and countries of Africa would be essential for the future.
Supporting African Communities
In order to keep this diversity alive in Africa, it is very important to create sustainable projects, where local communities are not exploited, but genuinely given the support they need to survive.
One example is The Sleeping Warrior Lodge set on the Soysambu Conservancy. It overlooks Lake Elmenteita and the Rift Vallley and each of the 10 bungalows are designed for guests to have their privacy, but at the same time offer great views.
Ever since the Damon family has created Sleeping Warrior Lodge and provided water for wildlife as well as working closely with the community to prevent poaching, the numbers of wildlife have increased in the area!
The lodge has a strict policy not to exploit cultural property of the local community. Education, preferential hiring for locals and income generating projects are only a few projects that Family Damon has incorporated in their daily routine.
The Sleeping Warrior Lodge wants to sustainably integrate local cultures into Kenyan tourism, as it sees it as an important aspect for African tourism in general.
Helping the Generations to Come
Another green accommodation is Chole Mjini, a seemingly secret getaway hidden in Tanzania on Mafia Island. With 6 tree houses and 1 ground house, this accommodation is the ideal place for shutting off from the world, but also a great example on how local communities were and continue to be supported.
All tree houses were built by hand, with traditional tools and materials sourced from Chole inhabitants. From the beginning, the strengthening of the local community has been and still is a large focus for the owners, Jean and Anne de Villiers.
Locals are employed and learn on the job, while funding also goes to a local school, where now first graduates are heading to college. It is the de Villiers primary goal to educate two generations of Chole inhabitants, because that is how long on average it takes to make a sustainable difference.
As Jean de Villiers points out:
Sustainable tourism has to be about relieving pressures on the environment that tourists travel to and that necessitates increased involvement of local communities. It they do not reap real benefits from their environment they will over-exploit it and generally not conserve much.
So the next time you think of Africa – think of all the diversity and local communities the continent has to offer and remember that already the right choice of accommodation can support them!