The term ecotourism referring the Mount Kilimanjaro Trips tends to evoke images of enlightened travelers treading among the beauty of nature. During this Adventure Travel, they are guided by a local guide who reveals the treasures buried on the Mount Kilimanjaro.
These guides take on many forms:
- Sometimes they are genuine people moved by the need to preserve their environment, or maybe not most of the time.
- At times, it is clear that your local guide is as ignorant of the environment as you are. His interest is in getting back to town as quickly as possible, and in the 25% tip that they should collect at the end of every expedition.
In some cases, it pisses people off. While on other occasions, they prefer not to acknowledge it. Or they just accept it as a fact of life and get on with it for having a good time.
Ultimately, It is not about the tourist but the guide and the porter. Destinations like Kilimanjaro, the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, the Mount Kenya in neighboring Kenya are situated in the highland regions with adjacent areas of tropical forest supporting to a certain degree large indigenous populations.
Confronted by poverty, diminishing resources, and limited opportunities, these people often have no choice but to sacrifice the long-term sustainability of their area for the sake of short-term survival. This is part of the Kilimanjaro Facts and it often takes the form of:
- Slash and burn agriculture.
- Hillside cultivation.
- Illegal logging.
- Bushmeat and destructive land clearing.
Yet, to meet our desire to see the Mount Kilimanjaro and its associated preserved ecology, it is vital to provide some sort of tangible, edible and, disposable alternatives to those for whom the forests and surroundings are their sole source of sustenance.
The Ecotourism Holidays are the modern panacea for this.
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Regional Mount Kilimanjaro Facts
One of the pioneering facts of sustainable ecotourism was developed in Zimbabwe. The name of that project was Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE). It involves the areas of vital ecological importance, or under commercial hunting concessions, within the dual management of commercial Ecotourism Tour Operators and the community leaders.
Through the latter, a large share of the revenue generated by the Ecotourism Projects is claimed on behalf of the community. Often in the form of facilities such as schools, libraries, and clinics.
It has been so in South Africa. The corporate leases of large tracts of wilderness from local and tribal communities have enabled the development of sophisticated private game reserves and game lodge safari structures. In recent years it has generated huge revenues for both parties, ensuring the long-term sustainability of an Environmental Protection.
The famed South African Wild Coast is another great example. With the use of sensitive and shrewd resource management, the local communities have fended off the commercial property developers and tourism entrepreneurs. Indeed, there is a local tourist-based village along the coast. This ensures a large degree of community involvement and benefits.
The Case of Mountain Kilimanjaro
It takes the form of an insistence by the authorities in Tanzania for a legal entry requirement. As well as the use of the Best Kilimanjaro Guides and Kilimanjaro Porters. While for many climbers it wouldn’t be absolutely necessary.
The fact is that these people are part of the structure About Environment. The Mt Kilimanjaro belongs to them, if they were to be excluded completely from the tourism bounty, they would seek more direct ways to benefit from.
The standard of the Kilimanjaro Climb training guide is not particularly high and the net is thrown wide for maximum inclusion. Through exposure to the system, some local guides have achieved a top-rated level of skills. They might be both respected and sought among the Best Kilimanjaro Tour Operators.
These are usually not men with any particular academic background. Yet, what they may lack in technicality they are more made of instinct and anecdotal experience.
A Word Of Warning About the Kilimanjaro Trip
Corruption is an embedded phenomenon in East Africa, whether it is in the tourism or any other aspect of commerce in the region. Sometimes it is the nasty foreign operators who exploit the innocent local tribesmen. It is the Kilimanjaro Trek Companies who are making use of the local desperation. This quite often results in the unpleasant scenes of inexperienced guides and porters.
Remember that you are in Africa, and the standards are lower. Hence, It is vital to know your Kilimanjaro Guides, and insist on acceptable standards. For not getting into a confusing imbalance of anger and anxiety.
Kilimanjaro is a destination, but it is also a resource. There are many people claiming their share of it. Those at the bottom of the heap are the porters and guides.
Look for the ones with relevant skills and dedication to climbing the mountainside!
Photo by: Afrika Travel