|The planet earth is not so beautiful or green any more. The alarming startling phenomena like climate change and global warming. Day by day the world is inching close to disaster with on species after another facing an increasing threat of extinction.
Approximately 500 million people travel for leisure each year. Most of them travelers visit the popular destinations major international cities, national parks, monuments and ruins and beaches. Statistics reveal that mass tourism has a wide range of effects on the environment, culture and economies of local communities. For example the seawaters bordering South Africa have become a popular location for whale and dolphin watching. Everyday, boatloads of tourists converge here to observe these incredible creatures.
In such a situation it would be worthwhile to devote your gap year to take part in ecotravel. In course of ecotravel you will get wonderful opportunities observe and get up close to some of the most fascinating creatures in the world, have a close look at the lives of creatures like whale and dolphins.
According to the International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.
Ecotravel offers an alternative to many of the negative effects of mass tourism, by helping conserve fragile ecosystems, support endangered species and habitats, preserve indigenous cultures and develop sustainable local economies.
So, as gappers, you must also endeavor to be a responsible traveler by following these principles:
So how do you go about it?
- Build cultural awareness and respect for the environment.
- Provide both visitors and hosts with positive experiences
- Make adequate financial arrangements/contributions for conservation and empowerment of local people.
- Raise the sensitivity to political, environmental, and social milieu of the
Select responsible tour operators and guides who are aware of environmental impacts and contribute financially to conservation and preservation efforts.
Go to local cultural events. Your money will help helps local artists and performers and encourages preservation of cultural heritage
Speak out and support ecotourism groups, nature conservancies, cultural preservation institutions and other organizations.
If you experience something that disturbs you, make your views known to the local/regional authorities and tourism office and tell your tour guide, operator and lodge owner what you have seen.
Think carefully about where you choose to go and how you can minimize the negative impact of your presence and instead do something positive so that the local community at large is benefited. For example, you can buy local goods from local people, not the mass-produced goods you find in many hotels and shops – and as a bonus you’ll meet some interesting people and learn about local trading customs like bargaining! As an ecotourism participant you are most likely to be provided comfortable shared accommodation among other things.
Finally, when you are back in your homeland, write in to the respective tourist offices or ministries and narrate your experience with other concerned travelers and what happened during your sojourn in their country.
The South African garden route & animal experience
This will tantalise the taste buds of the extremely hardy, dare devil and adventurous volunteers!!! The two-week extravaganza will begin in the Western Cape and move along the Garden Route which is named for the sheer beauty of its wild unspoilt coastline. The indigenous Khoi San, people called it Outeniqua, meaning "land laden with honey", alluding to the distinct smell of wild flowers that pervade the area.. The Garden Route is at a stone’s from beautiful, unspoiled beaches, great fishing , spectacular forest scenery, and fantastic dolphin and whale watching.Following the stunning Garden Route, adventurous volunteers will be able to sample sumptuous South African wines. If you enjoy monkeying around, you'll be able to go ape on the tree canopy tour. You'll spend 10 days volunteering at a wildlife conservation foundation – ideal for Big Cat lovers. You'll be able to lend a hand at saving endangered white Bengal tiger cubs, adult cheetahs and cubs, lions and jaguar. There are options for wallowing with the hippos or getting close to the deadly crocs with those horrendous teeth!!