What is your idea of a trip to Africa? If you are thinking of safari, wild animals, stunning landscapes, well you are right but that is not all. Modern days need something different, something special. Because we must put our planet on the first place, and then adapt our lives to it, if we want to keep it safe and alive. Ecology helps us to learn about our environment, and how to protect nature. But human beings are part of this nature as well. So we must always respect the people who live in those environments we are visiting. This is how eco-cultural tourism begins.
Eco-cultural tourism is the new way of touring the world. It is a kind of beneficial exchange between visitors and local people, so to give tourists a great holiday and locals economic resources to promote themselves. The idea of African trip we want to suggest to you is this one. Go visit the wild lands, meet the unique animals, but also respect local traditions, food, customs. Be a part of Africa, not just someone who comes to see it and then goes.
What will a eco-cultural tourist do
People who love to go on eco-cultural tourism shall still enjoy safari trips, but respecting specific rules. They will respect the animals’ territory, and maybe take photos from a distance. And let the animals live their lives. They will have the chance to stay and/or sleep inside the National Parks but in ecologic lodges creating less or zero pollution.
Tourists can pay for guided tours knowing that the ticket will be used to create a new National Park (this happens in Rwanda, for example, at Nyungwe Forest). Or they meet the people who live in Natural Reserves and share their culture and traditions, so to let them understand it is a privilege to live in a National Park. They can help taking good care of baby chimpanzes, or young mountain gorillas or buy art works from local tribes so to help them keep their tradition alive.
What a eco-cultural tourist will not do
A real eco-cultural tourist will never buy any object made with parts of protected animals, for example elephant tusks, lions’ teeth, zebra skin. He or she will never go on hunting safaris, will never criticize or attack local people’s tradition or food. You may kindly refuse something but do not be rude or play the superior with locals. Eco-cultural tourists will never disturb animals, or get too close to take photos, or do anything on their own without respecting the guides’ advice.
Where in Africa to go eco-cultural touring
You can experience real eco-cultural trips in Senegal, where local tour operators organize meetings with the tribes. You shall learn their language, songs and culture. Something similar can be done at the Maasai Mara Park, in Kenya. Tourists can follow the route of Livingstone up to the Victoria Falls, and share the local tribes’ culture on the way. Or go to Zambia during the great animal migrations and enjoy the event without bothering the animals. You can visit animals sanctuaries and help local doctors to take care or cure little ones, or wounded animals, and maybe give a name to a baby lion or baby gorilla too! There is a new large choice of places and things to do if you want to do a responsible and ecologic tourism.