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Protecting Our Wildlife Through Tourism in South Africa

Protecting Our Wildlife Through Tourism in South Africa

Thousands of animals die each year from poachers, changes in the environment, and man encroaching on natural habitats. More and more of our precious wildlife is on the verge of extinction and we need to prevent this from happening. Do you want majestic animals like elephants, lions, rhinos and others to only be seen in zoos? If something isn’t done to prevent this tragedy, one day this will be the only way to experience these magnificent creatures.
south african animals
South African National Parks are working to fix this, and the SANParks have been established since 1921 in hopes to educate people on the importance of the conservation of our wildlife. They also do scientific research as a leader in the world, trying to maintain indigenous natural environments. How do they do this? With community relations, conservation, and with Eco tourism. What is Eco tourism you might ask? There are a number of different things that this entails.

For starters, people who come to the SANParks are offered a unique opportunity. They are able to have a base camp in one of the many different conservation parks here where they will learn about conservation and the ongoing struggle with poaching, wildlife encroachment, and many other serious problems affecting wildlife. From these base camps tourists are able to plan trips into the park, whether it is game viewing, self driving safaris, or even guided adventures like sight seeing wildlife from a safe distance, bird watching, hiking along trails and even safaris on four wheel drive trails.

protecting our wildlife - elephants

SANParks also provide a variety of accommodations. These range in price according to the type of stay you are looking for. There are tent camps, rustic campsites, cottages, huts, and even luxury bungalows fully equipped with every amenity you can imagine for a safari in Africa. These are known as Golden Kudos, and you are pampered from the time you enter until you leave. Any place that you stay unless it is at the rustic campsites is serviced daily by a cleaning staff. Most parks that have rest camps have restaurants and retail facilities. Some of these include meals as well, but you have to be sure when you make reservations. Except at the campsites, all of your bedding is included along with cooking and eating utensils and electric stoves and refrigerators.

The activities available are different for each of the SANParks, so you may want to find out what is offered where you are going. There are however many different adventures to choose from. You even have beach access at Addo Elephant, Table Mountain, West Coast, and Namaqua Parks, to name a few. There are guided game sightseeing drives at many of these locations and it doesn’t matter if you like to go during the day and see elephants, buffalo, and lions, or at night to see many animals hunt.

There are canoeing opportunities as well as river rafting, mountain biking, and even Bungi jumps, if this appeals to you. You can do just one, or a combination of different adventures.

While there is all of this, there are some other special trips you can also book. If you want to let someone else plan and guide you, there are several different safari adventures that await. These trips are from 5-14 days long, and you will be able to not only see a variety of wildlife including the big five, elephants, lions, buffalo, leopards, and rhino, but many of these adventures even include trips to the coast for whale and shark watching. Not only that, but you will be able to spend time lodging in the park itself or with one of the native tribes learning about their cultures and daily activities.

How do your tourist dollars help with the conservation of these parks? Part of everything that is spent goes to conserving wildlife, education, and reforestation. Some of this goes into maintaining trails, extra security against poaching, and many other things. You can rest assured that part of the money you spend will be used to help save these endangered species as well as educate the people who live here on things they can do to help. Some may even go toward creating and maintaining alternative energy sources such as wind generators and solar power grids.

banded mongoose family

You can contact the SANParks website to set up your own adventure or through many other safari websites. Prices vary greatly and a lot depends on the trip you book, how long you will be staying, whether it is self or fully guided, what kinds of accommodations, and if you are including meals. Your costs are going to average about a thousand to fifteen hundred American dollars per person. There are discounts for South African residents, children, and group rates are available.

There are also some things you should note about these trips, especially for longer excursions. While people of all ages are of course invited, you have to consider that some of these adventures may not be suitable for really small children or older adults that may have trouble with some of the strenuous exercise and long walks that may be required. You will also need an updated pass port for every one who comes on your trip, and it may also be a good idea to check with your local physician if you need to have extra immunizations.

It is important that we all do our part to conserve our planet’s precious wildlife, and even if you can’t go on one of these grand adventures and would like to make a donation, or would like more information about a working in one of these parks, there is an abundance of resources available online.

6 Responses to “Protecting Our Wildlife Through Tourism in South Africa

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