Community Based Tourism
Wildlife and flora and traditional
cultures are under threat as never before in the face
of shrinking land resources, population growth, and
external pressures. The Maasai have followed a traditional
lifestyle but in the process have been left behind mainstream
Tanzanian development. Exploitative rather than Eco-friendly
development all too often replace the sustainable traditional
ways of life.
The casualties are the communities
that have through their traditional lifestyle and cultural
taboo against harming wildlife secured for mankind some
of the best and most spectacular concentrations of wildlife
left on the planet. In addition Maasai rangelands offer
one of the few remaining relatively undisturbed dispersal
areas for wildlife and have great bio diversity.
Therefore population increases
and the pressure to turn to alternative land uses threaten
Biodiversity, corridors and the dispersal zones that
are integral part of the survival of National parks.
The National parks are islands that cannot sustain large
populations of wildlife year round as seasonal rainfall
patterns determine that some areas are completely dry
while others might be wet so that large migrations occur
The Maasai predicament
People in Maasailand are amongst the poorest in Africa
with a very low per capita income. Cultural norms are
strongly held and cattle and livestock are not easily
disposed of for cash. However it is the access to clean
drinking water and poorly ventilated homes and poor
hygiene that are responsible for an infant mortality
rate above the national average. Poor access to decent
education puts the Maasai at a disadvantage with other
ethnic groups and urban dwellers. Numerically the Maasai
are a minority and they have little political clout.
They inhabit mostly arid and semi arid areas that are
a particularly special ~ a unique blend of scenery,
culture and wilderness and in most areas plentiful wildlife
, thanks to the Maasai taboo against killing and eating
the met of game. Most Northern Parks in Tanzania and
the famous Maasai Mara Game reserve and Tsavo West park
in Kenya have been created on land formerly inhabited
by Maasai (the core area of the Maasai Mara is not habited,
but the rest is, so that Maasai and wildlife co-exist).
Where Hoopoe operates
We have entered into Community Based Tourism Agreements
with a number of Maasai villages that are becoming a
means for them of escaping the poverty trap they have
been in and thereby helping to secure wildlife corridors
and dispersal areas. Each of these areas is scenically
superb and exclusive core areas which we like to call
Private Wilderness Areas.
At this time our efforts are concentrated
while in other areas like Loliondo
our involvement has been reduced for the time being
because of current land use policies.
Exclusivity & Wilderness
Exclusivity, wilderness, cultural interaction and plentiful
wildlife offer a unique and intensive experience. For
the first time visitor to Tanzania these can be a far
richer experience than a ‘normal’ safari.
For the seasoned Africa visitor these areas can be an
entire safari in their own right.
A couple of days can be spent hiking
and fly camping away from the normal tourist routes,
being led by Maasai guides and seeing a unique perspective
to Tanzania (request fly camping from Kirurumu Under
Canvas for these options).
How do communities and wildlife
Our exclusive areas are exclusive because we pay a significant
annual fee to secure sole access to those areas. The
annual fee is part of a larger contract, and within
these contracts are agreements to work towards the protection
of the local wildlife and environment through protection
of certain areas and restriction of certain types of
activity, such as agriculture. The communities then
receive direct benefits in terms of employment and 60%
of our camp staff at West Kilimanjaro are local Maasai
and include local guides, scouts, & guards. In addition
we pay the community direct, per guest per day fees,
which all go towards the local community and their chosen
development projects. Hence, there is a positive and
ongoing relationship between non-consumptive tourism,
conservation and community development.
Why should I visit these areas?
- To experience Pristine wilderness
- Cultural interaction with the people
that live in these lands
- Contribute to the ongoing sustenance
of fragile inter relationships between conservation
and community development
- To have a unique and special safari
- To put something back
Also see our company operating policy
For more information on development efforts see here.