How green is ‘ecotourism?’ Taking apart the myth

By April 23, 2010March 19th, 20152 Comments


  • The writer knows how to dig deep..The Masai Mara is well known around the world because of the annual wildebeest migration but the road leading to this great reserve is in a pathetic condition.

    Clients do complain about its terrible state and the local authorities pass the blame around on who is supposed to maintain it yet the reserve rakes in a lot of money.

  • First, we have to give credit where credit is due. The efforts of the private ecotourism friendly conservancies and ranches near Masai Mara and other Kenyan game reserves have helped in conserving the wildlife and the environment. Poaching is less rampant in the conservancies, thanks to better security there. Previously endangered species are getting a second chance to thrive again (Re: The rhinos at Lewa and Ol Pejeta Conservancies – not near the Mara). The controlled numbers of guests allowed in the conservancies at any given time means less disruption to the animals. In the dry seasons, the conservancies enhance the survival chances of the animals by providing water artificially/replenishing the existing water holes. And so on.

    Of course, the government and public authorities ought to have been doing this in the first place, but they failed, and enterprising business people saw an opportunity that need to be filled. They may be using the ecotourism label to make a kill, but they are having a positive impact.

    If the locals are getting a raw deal from it all, the government and the community leaders are to blame. Unfortunately, the way it works here in Kenya, as long as you give a few corrupt public officials some kickbacks, you can get away with almost anything.

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