As part of the enormous restoration and regeneration projects that Peace Parks is committed to in southern Africa, sustainable tourism is an important component. At the moment, due to conditions on the ground, tourism experiences are most often polarised into the adventure or luxury end of the market. In many areas the infrastructure is still challenging, with dirt roads that become treacherous in the rainy season or areas that have no access to electricity or running water. For the adventure traveller, this is all part of the excitement. Camping out under the stars with only an oil lamp is an experience many adventurous travellers cherish here in Africa. The luxury traveller is often able to side-step much of the hassle of travelling by hopping in a helicopter, which then gifts incredible views of the terrain from the air too. However, for more mainstream tourism, which is vital for the long-term regeneration of these areas, there are as yet only a few offerings.
But this is set to change over time, as the Peace Parks’ vision, set in motion over 20 years ago, starts to bear fruit. The Peace Parks team is driven towards one single purpose – to restore a tomorrow for life in southern Africa. Although biodiversity loss is lining up to be one of the greatest man-made crises ever, the mass species die-off and loss of functional ecosystems can be stopped. Peace Parks Foundation recognises the importance of conserving and developing core areas, corridors and keystone species, irrespective of political boundaries, to secure biodiversity conservation, which in turn is the most important foundation to ensure maintained, healthy and functional ecosystems – essential for the survival of all fauna and flora on the earth, including humankind. Peace Parks also acknowledges the right of human beings to join other species in responsibly using the natural resources present in these ecosystems.
Responsible, low-impact tourism is a vital part of the future of southern Africa, whether adventure, luxury or mainstream traveller. Enabling a balance between conservation and consumption, between humankind and nature, future tourists to these regions will be able to experience Africa like never before.