Questions asked: Eco Tourism in Africa
Dawn from The Incidental Tourist is one of the most known travel bloggers of Africa and focusses on green travel. With her blog work and her many travels, she experiences a close look on tourism in Africa, which she shares with Green Pearls® today.
Why do you think sustainable travel is important?
I think sustainable and conscious living is essential in a world that seems to be taking a beating from every direction. Travel a great gift and investment in ourselves, often reconnects us with nature and when coupled with a feel good element, has value all round.
What is the one thing you always highlight, when someone asks you why you travel sustainably?
It’s a natural choice for me. I live with a conscious and appreciation for the world and believe that travel humbles me with the lessons it brings.
Conscious travel takes me closer to the things that matter, the people and how they’d like their stories told.
How do you experience green travel in Africa?
Perhaps it’s Africa’s raw connection to nature that inspires many lodges, hotels and tour operators to take a more sustainable approach to the management of their businesses. Yet sadly that is not true of all. Challenges include impact on fragile eco-systems, the shortage of water, recycling of things like plastic water bottles in remote reserves and the sadness of poaching.
That said, harnessing the sun’s energy is becoming more of a practice across Southern and East Africa, as is community upliftment and involvement with many game park who take the opportunity while hosting safaris to educate visitors about the plight of wildlife.
As always though, as much as one finds incredible inspiring work being done, there are still far too many outfits that don’t follow this philosophy, but are simply exploiting the resources and opportunities.
Have you experienced a change in tourism in Africa due to international media coverage on Africa?
Africa is too often referred to as an entity, rather than a continent that boasts 54 countries, countless cultures, languages and customs. 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.
For example, an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa even impacted on tourism in South Africa, further away geographically from the site than New York City. The advisories against travel to Kenya left hotels and lodges struggling to survive, making it difficult for them to support local communities, conservation efforts and livelihoods.
More responsible coverage, which assists in educating on the varied regions, countries and politics of Africa, would be far reaching.
Why should people visit Africa?
There are endless reasons to visit Africa, from the natural beauty, African art and fashion, wildlife and reserves, weather, inspiring projects, history and culture. Whether it’s beach or bush, relaxing or adventure, it’s too be found.
Yes, we have very serious concerns relating to poaching and are losing rhinos, elephants and lions in a cruel and unsuitable manner, there is still abject poverty and some countries have political instability. Yet everywhere you find people bursting forth with goodwill, solving problems on micro levels, working either independently or with NGO’s to make a difference to their communities.
Personally, Africa is where I am moved most. Here there is a sense of space, wildlife to fill your heart to bursting, dust to get under your skin. I can see through the struggles to the optimism and hope of this continent and believe that once you have visited Africa it will continue to draw you back for more.
To quote Hemingway: “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy”
Thank you, Dawn for the interview. You can find Dawn’s blog The Incidental Tourist here.