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Game Warden

Should we go back to the same places or those which really need tourism revenue?

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How important is it for us, as tourists, photographers etc., to go back to the same camp, (or same area), annually?

 

Should we, if bearing conservation in mind, make an effort to go to places which really do benefit more from tourism revenue? And two extremes, in terms of pricing, but not in terms of importance for wildlife and wilderness areas are Zakouma National Park in Chad and for instance the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife reserves, such as iMfolozi, in South Africa?

 

Can we make a conservation difference by visiting lesser known, or marginal areas and if so, how to attract more tourists to do the same?

 

Let's read your thoughts.

 

Matt

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How important is it for us, as tourists, photographers etc., to go back to the same camp, (or same area), annually?

 

Should we, if bearing conservation in mind, make an effort to go to places which really do benefit more from tourism revenue? And two extremes, in terms of pricing, but not in terms of importance for wildlife and wilderness areas are Zakouma National Park in Chad and for instance the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife reserves, such as iMfolozi, in South Africa?

 

Can we make a conservation difference by visiting lesser known, or marginal areas and if so, how to attract more tourists to do the same?

 

~ @@Game Warden

 

In my case, aside from the pure joy of being outside in nature, as unfettered by tedium as possible, the primary motivation for going on safari more than once per year is to observe seasonal changes in both plants and wildlife.

My students and I focus on seasonality as one of the primary factors in ecological equilibrium throughout any given year.

Therefore it's of the highest value to my research to observe the same trees, same rocks, same waterholes, same tracks, same gullies, season after season.

Extended stops are made, changes noted, photos taken. After returning home, the data gathered is valuable for discerning subtle seasonal shifts.

For that reason I was very hesitant to visit South Africa, after nine highly rewarding safaris in Kenya.

The visit to South Africa turned out to be so fulfilling that a return visit is certain. The warm initial welcome to South Africa by @@Peter Connan gave me a positive impression that I'll cherish.

Therefore I'm prone to make repeat visits to the same locale without considering other locations.

Tom K.

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@@Game Warden

 

If you replace the word "Should" at the beginning of your second sentence with the word "Could" I would be far more comfortable with the proposition. I guess I feel that it is my right to go and spend where I choose for my holidays rather than be "guilt-ed" into travelling to prop up various conservation efforts...

 

If that makes me a lesser person or a lesser conservationist... then so be it...

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I try to see different destinations, and do trip reports (and post photos) on various sites.

 

But this is mostly for selfish reasons, and since I am at the bottom of the spending chain, I doubt it makes much difference either way.

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Sometimes, even the same places will stand to benefit in their outstanding conservation efforts - example., the conservancies around the Mara. Given the drop in tourism from finicky Western travellers - the conservancies still have to pay their lease to the Maasai and every visitor contributes .........

 

Even if one were to visit the same camps/countries or whatever - doesn't it still help in some way or the other?

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Most of us return to an area because we have had a great experience and great game viewing. Most of the places we visit are very involved with the nearby communities and conservation. Without our support it would be impossible to survive. Governments may not be good but the local businesses and the people are different and they need us. The more time that we spend with the locals, the more that we learn about them and they in turn learn about us and the rest of the world. There are too many problems in most of these countries that we must do what we can to help not only the local people but also the animals to survive. Maybe it is not so important to go back to the same place but it is important to go.

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PS - I do go to the same camps in Botswana ......... atleast I know the money spent stays in Botswana. Not something that I can say about Botswana's largest operator. FYI - check out the Botswana Gazette for more info!!!!

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There are definitely places that I think need and deserve support more than others, whether because of the way they do things and their objectives (models that need to be a success to be copied) or because of their importance as sanctuaries for particular creatures or as part of a larger ecosystem (private areas functioning as important game corridors or buffers, for example). Of course there are other types too - much more variation than people imagine. I want to visit these places - preferably at least one per visit to Africa. I do think about it. My wife is more with @@ZaminOz, but since she is married to me, tough!!!

 

Tough for me of course I mean. :o

 

For me these places are like vegetables. I don;t eat them because I should (although of course I feel I should) but because I want to; both because they are good for me and because I really like them. Field-fresh nettle salad without dressing (aka nettles) is a very hair shirt sort of thing, but stir-fried snow peas, asparagus and wild mushrooms is a treat. I don't think do-gooders have to be very altruisitic - just a little thoughtful.

 

Anyway I may pontificate more on this topic in my upcoming trip report so I'll say no more here.

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For me these places are like vegetables. I don;t eat them because I should (although of course I feel I should) but because I want to; both because they are good for me and because I really like them. Field-fresh nettle salad without dressing (aka nettles) is a very hair shirt sort of thing, but stir-fried snow peas, asparagus and wild mushrooms is a treat. I don't think do-gooders have to be very altruisitic - just a little thoughtful.

 

~ @@pault

 

I 100% concur.

What you've expressed reflects much of my thinking.

I feel no compulsion to visit anywhere, but rather a combination of attraction and curiosity.

Every place I visit is like a ripe tomato — well-rounded, flavorful, healthy, and a bit seedy, in the best sense.

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

I go to places which are affordable, accessible , have good wildlife viewing , a good bush feel ,not too crowded and a safe .

 

given the high cost of airfares I go only once per year

 

I am inclined to find a good area and stay for a while

 

I cannot afford much high level luxury places

 

Lewa is not cheap but I go for the least expensive on offer

 

I recognize that the high cost of Lewa is a support for their successful conservation and community support projects

 

creature comforts have zero % rating in my decision

 

not being able to drive means I am less inclined to go to places which are hard to access without your own car

 

There are places I hear of but they are too expensive

 

the degree of political instability associated with west and central Africa makes me wary

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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I go to places which are affordable, accessible , have good wildlife viewing , a good bush feel ,not too crowded and a safe .

 

I am inclined to find a good area and stay for a while

 

~ @@COSMIC RHINO

 

That's interesting that you're motivated to visit those places which offer a safe.

Do you mean an individual in-room safe, as opposed to a larger, management-controlled front desk safe?

I've never yet used the safes at any location I've visited.

Valuables are with me, rather than stored.

Like you, I enjoy longer stays at the same area. Doing so gives me a more nuanced appreciation of the local environment.

When I return to Sabi Sands, South Africa for another safari, three months later, it will be in the same location, but for double the number of nights, in order to more fully experience the plant life and wildlife there during summertime.

Tom K.

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safe in terms of lack of violence and threats

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~ @@COSMIC RHINO

 

Thank you for the clarification.

Overall safety is a factor which I've felt poorly qualified to assess from my desk in Beijing.

In a very real sense, I've placed my trust in God and the safari guides/rangers, feeling that their sound judgment was my best defense.

The many recent safaris in Kenya often took place soon after well-publicized security incidents.

That didn't deter my visits, as I felt safe at all times.

The only times in nearly 62 years that I ever felt unsafe were in Buenos Aires, Argentina as a teenager, during a flare of revolutionary street violence...in southern Utah when several truckloads of rifle firing youngsters were in dust near the highway...and on U.S. 1 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California when I drove past the carnage of drive-by shootings.

Nevertheless, your reasonable concerns about personal safety make good sense to me.

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

the international news is reasonably well reported in Australia , I can check African newspapers , have no internet bar on human rights watch, amnesty international , chatham house , fragile states index etc

 

my first trip involved a whole lot of moving around between places , I was thinking it is better to stay around and see a place, instead of the roads

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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I think visiting a place you already know brings a sense of comfort from familiarity with the terrain and the groups of animals e.g. lions, wilddog packs elephants etc. It is almost a cast of charecters going through family changes over years which we like to hear about and see each year.

 

We may also know the staff well so we can catch up on their news and they know what we like to see and do

 

However I sometimes feel this is too easy and I should try other places. In January I chose Kenya (after many years ( for 2 reasons. Their drop in tourism and some BA armiles I could use.

 

I then returned to Mana (my second home) in September.

 

I have been thinking that Malawi needs wildlife visitors, should I go and do my bit or will I be disappointed?

 

Given my income is dropping know as full retirement is nearly here it is unlikely I will manage to do 2 safaris a year anymore.

 

What to do? I certainly do not know yet. It is a dilemma

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I think visiting a place you already know brings a sense of comfort from familiarity with the terrain and the groups of animals e.g. lions, wilddog packs elephants etc. It is almost a cast of charecters going through family changes over years which we like to hear about and see each year.

 

We may also know the staff well so we can catch up on their news and they know what we like to see and do

 

~ @@wilddog

 

What you feel is closely akin to what I feel.

The staff at the Samburu Sopa, Murera Springs Eco Lodge and the Emakoko are friends.

Likewise the elephants and lions in Samburu, the dragonflies in Meru and the cheetahs in Masai Mara.

Thank you for expressing that so aptly.

I hope that even in retirement your safaris may be both satisfying and frequent.

Tom K.

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1 I like visiting a number of places around kruger , differences in the land and animals with lower transfer cost inbetween

 

2 yes it is good to return to an area and see the differences in the land, animals and people . the staff at Lewa safari camp are very friendly, even the ones new since my last visit, the place operates for profit then it is donated to the Lewa conservancy

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Posted (edited)

Hari, I haven't been for ages here ... just saw your post about Wilderness Safaris in the Botswana Gazette. Had also a look at their latest financial report and always wondered how IFRS 8 (segmental reporting) is adopted. Where does the revenue (maybe financing and investment) in South Africa comes from and where does it goes to ... given the limited number of bed nights there. Look at the revenue and profit generated in South Africa/Botswana and notice the discrepancy . Tax havens and royalties (not taxable for the receiving party and deductible for the paying party) are not so uncommon to multinationals. Anyway happens all over the world ... (Luxleaks, ...). Also they are early adopters of IFRS 15 (revenue recognition - agent vs principal).

 

My apologies for the financial technicalities.

 

My 2 questions: how many people can afford to go back to the same hunting spots given the current rates and how many people take environmental issues into consideration while choosing their safari destination??

Edited by johan db
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My 2 questions: how many people can afford to go back to the same hunting spots given the current rates and how many people take environmental issues into consideration while choosing their safari destination??

 

~ @@johan db

 

As to affordability of return visits, I have no idea, as that seems to widely vary depending on individual circumstances.

I do take environmental issues into consideration when choosing safari destinations.

Both in Kenya and in South Africa the choice of safari destination has been directly related to my perception of the prevailing environmental situation.

What others may do is unknown to me as it never arose as a topic around campfires.

Tom K.

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Good question, Game Warden. I know for most people they have limited time and funds and so it's important for them to make the most of their trips. I totally get that. At the same time, I agree with you that tourists dollars often go further in less developed areas.

I have been lucky enough to be a tour leader so I was actually paid to take people to parks, including some lesser known ones. One of my favorites is Lake Mburo in Uganda. While you're not going to have the boatloads of wildlife there that you'd see someplace like the Mara, this park is special to me because of how far it has come.

A little about the park's history here: http://www.ugandawildlife.org/explore-our-parks/parks-by-name-a-z/lake-mburo-national-park

I always felt good about giving this park my money and I was amazed to see over the course of the 5 years I visited it just how quickly the wildlife has come back.

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Good question, Game Warden. I know for most people they have limited time and funds and so it's important for them to make the most of their trips. I totally get that. At the same time, I agree with you that tourists dollars often go further in less developed areas.

I have been lucky enough to be a tour leader so I was actually paid to take people to parks, including some lesser known ones. One of my favorites is Lake Mburo in Uganda. While you're not going to have the boatloads of wildlife there that you'd see someplace like the Mara, this park is special to me because of how far it has come.

A little about the park's history here: http://www.ugandawildlife.org/explore-our-parks/parks-by-name-a-z/lake-mburo-national-park

I always felt good about giving this park my money and I was amazed to see over the course of the 5 years I visited it just how quickly the wildlife has come back.

 

~ @@ellenhighwater

 

Thank you for this informative post.

As I'd never previously heard of Lake Mburo this is very helpful.

Reading such information from experienced Safaritalk members broadens one's limited perspectives.

Tom K.

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For me, part of what makes safari so appealing is to contribute to conservation -- even in a small way, whether it is paying some park fees or spreading awareness of a unique and amazing place. While I love areas that are well-visited such as Laikipia and Ndutu and will doubtless visit these sites many more times over the rest of my life, my favorite and most memorable safaris are those to places remote, wild, and off the beaten path - those that I'm playing an integral in protecting by visiting whether by providing essential funds to run the park or increase morale of the local people or some combination of both.

 

Personally, I would much rather visit remote and seemingly marginal areas that offer a wilder experience with unique, little-known, and infrequently observed wildlife than visit the same area of the Mara, Serengeti, or Okavango over and over again. There are some areas - Dzanga Sangha in CAR and Zakouma in Chad come to mind - where each and every tourist makes an integral contribution by providing funds to run the park on a daily basis and building the morale of the local people (especially in the case of Dzanga Sangha, where so many are hoping for tourism to restart to regain their livelihoods). That said, I must say that Zakouma and Dzanga Sangha are not truly "marginal" in the sense that they both provide abundant wildlife and fantastic, albeit totally unique, game viewing from other safari areas. With that said however, I would even visit truly marginal areas such as Ugalla or Lukwati in Southern Tanzania (blocks of miombo with low density game) or Bangweulu and Kasanka in Zambia ahead of major game reserves as I see the unique attractions of these game reserves as more rewarding than more Big 5/Cheetah/Wild Dog encounters. All wildlife is amazing to me and I'll treasure a trip when I see Roan, Sable, Sharpe's Grysbok, Meller's Mongoose, and Angolan Genet just as much as the one on which I observe Wild Dog, Cheetah, Lion, and Rhino.

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