Tag Archives: Responsible Tourism

Masai Mara – more than just game viewing

There are not many people who have not heard of the Masai Mara Game Reserve for its incredible game viewing, abundance of wildlife, large lion populations and the Great Wildebeest Migration, after all it was just voted again as Africa’s premium game park.

However not many know, the Masai Mara Game Reserve hosts a number of vital research projects that are contributing to the conservation of several species globally. Some of the well-known research projects include hyena, lion, cheetah and elephant. The research is not just about the life span, reproductive cycles and behaviour of the species but also looks at human-wildlife interaction, impact of agricultural and grazing as well the impact of tourism on specific species.

This research is vital to understanding how we as humans impact on a species. The more we understand the better we can manage and act to protect species. This recognises the importance of finding ways for humans, who often impact negatively on a species or several species, to co-habitat in a way which protects and supports resident wildlife.

So next time you are game driving and stop to watch a pride of lions hunting, cheetahs sunning themselves in the warm winter sun, hyenas roaming the savannah or elephants taking a mud bath, stop to think that out there, somewhere, vital information is being gathered ensuring these animals are around for generations to come.

Check out www.africaexpeditionsupport.com or email info@africaexpeditionsupport.com for more information.


Africa is a Continent – not a country!

With the Ebola virus dominating the global press I thought I would share this article from the Washington Post about the geography of Africa.  It is far too easy to refer to Africa as if it is a country, I even find myself doing this sometimes and I live in Kenya!


Go Green, Go Solar ……. Napenda Solar Community

For the past few months our focus has not always been on our overland safaris and guided self drive expeditions but on Napenda Solar Community.

What is that I hear you ask?  For those who have been on a safari or expedition with Africa Expedition Support and have met Thiemo or I probably recall at least one conversation about solar power with us.  Yes, solar power, this is not a misprint.  This is a topic we are pretty passionate about, we believe in it and proved that it works time and time again.  After all we could not run our workshop or office without solar power.  You see we are based only 1 hour from Nairobi, Kenya yet we don’t have any mains power – so for us to run our business we rely on the sun – solar power.

In addition to our guided self drive expeditions we also run a number of, what are called, “service trips” for school, university and teen groups.  These are tailored trips with all the usual Africa bells and whistles (game parks, beaches etc) with service projects – projects where students have the opportunity to give something back to less fortunate communities while learning about their culture and experiencing their lives.  It is not uncommon for families and couples to also want to participate in a community service project.

Our area is pretty underdeveloped in every way, there are very few schools, dirt roads that are lucky to see a grader once a year, no electricity, no clean water and the list goes on.  Hence Napenda Solar Community is a way to bring solar power to our local community by involving students and tour groups in solar power workshops that result in solar power systems being installed by the students and tour groups in poor rural homes, schools and clinics.

teens hard at work building a solar power system

teens hard at work building a solar power system

A clear win win for all.  Let’s face it, with the depleting world resources, there is a strong focus on clean renewable energies.  Throughout the USA, Australia, UK and Europe there is a push to go green – the recent People’s Climate March was testimony to this.  In Africa there is no choice, with very limited infrastructure and high cost of mains power the most economical way to go is solar power.  Although not expensive the costs of setting up solar power even in a small home are  prohibitive especially for those living on less than USD$2 per day.

Napenda Solar Community heavily subsidise these costs enabling communities to get connected to power.  A way for tourists and student groups to experience and learn from a local Masai community, go back home with greater understanding and appreciation of renewable energies; and valuable skills to set up their own solar power system if they choose to.

Who would have thought you could come to Kenya to learn amazing new skills?

For more information on our solar power workshops check out


If you would like to add a solar power workshop to your safari or expedition email me, Debs, at info@africaexpeditionsupport.com or Anne at solar@africaexpeditionsupport.com

Don’t forget to like us on http://www.facebook.com/napendasolarcommunity (tell your friends to like us also!) The more who know about Napenda Solar Community the more poor rural communities in Kenya will benefit!

Livingstonia – Off the beaten track

No I have not made a spelling mistake – Livingstonia is not the town of Livingstone where Victoria Falls are located in Zambia but a little town hidden in the highlands of Malawi overlooking Lake Malawi.

This is just one the little gems off the beaten track we travel to on our guided self drive expeditions. Most people have never heard of Livingstonia, which is a pity as it is an incredibly beautiful place with a rich history. High up on the escarpment overlooking Lake Malawi it is not an easy location to get to but it is worth the effort. The road is a narrow dirt track winding its way up to the little town; although passable all year round (in the right vehicle) it can be a little tricky in the rain.

The road to Livingstonia is every 4x4ers dream, dirt road, switchbacks, and steep ascents

The road to Livingstonia is every 4x4ers dream, dirt road, switchbacks, and steep ascents

Known as “little Scotland”; originally a Mission built in 1894 by the Scottish doctor, clergyman, academic and explorer Dr Robert Laws. However this is not the original Mission. The Free Church of Scotland originally built the Mission near Cape Maclear in 1875. However it was found the area was too malarial so it was moved to Bandawe; after which it was decided to move it to its now location.
The Mission is named after Dr Livingstone as a tribute to his work throughout Central Africa. Most people only know of Dr Livingstone the explorer, but his true passion was the Church and Missions. Dr Livingstone opened up Central Africa to missionaries and initiated education and health care to local communities. He was instrumental in the abolishment of the slave trade and at times a thorn in the side of the British government. Dr Livingstone was very respected and held in high esteem by many African chiefs. It is understandable this place was named in his honour.

Dr Robert Laws

Dr Robert Laws

Dr Robert Laws shared many of Dr Livingstone’s passions. His dream was to establish not only a Mission but to introduce Malawians to university education, high standard of health care and technical training. He believed university education was essential to develop a self-sufficient Malawian population with well-educated ethical leaders. Although he led the Mission for 52 years and established one of the best schools and colleges in all of Central Africa he was unable to see through his dream for a university. It was not until 2003 that Dr Laws dream became a reality with the establishment of Livingstonia University.

However during Dr Laws time he transformed the Mission into a small town, overseeing the establishment of schools, hospitals, houses, post office and workshops. The David Gordon Memorial Hospital opened in 1911, at the time it was the biggest and most well equipped hospital in Central Africa, today it still serves a catchment of 60,000 people.

David Gordon Memorial Hospital

David Gordon Memorial Hospital

While Livingstonia is still today an education hub of Central Africa it is also a living museum and worth at least half a day exploring the little town. The Museum is an obvious first stop, the exhibit tells the story of early European exploration and missionary work in Malawi. There are still original artefacts belonging to Dr Livingstone on display. Near the Museum is the church dating back to 1894, with a stunning stained glass window of Dr Livingstone and his two companions Guze and Juma; nearby is the very English looking secondary school, the post office (now a small bookshop), clock tower, the Khondowe Craft Shop selling carvings and clothing made locally and David Gordon Memorial Hospital.

A full day can be spent wandering around the town and exploring the little shops and historic sites, there is also Manchewe Falls approximately 4kms away which is well worth the walk, a spectacular waterfall 50m high with a cave behind it where local people used to hide from slave traders.

For some locally grown and brewed coffee, light refreshments or hearty lunch head to the Mushroom Farm or Lukwe organic restaurant.

Jan, one of our drivers, standing next to the Livingstonia Synod

Jan, one of our drivers, standing next to the Livingstonia Synod

We visit Livingstonia on our Dr Livingstone 4 week and Africa Discovered 8 week guided self drive expeditions. For more information contact Debs info@africaexpeditionsupport.com or peruse our website http://www.africaexpeditionsupport.com

Working in partnership with The Born Free Foundation

Check out this short video of Africa Expedition Support and The Born Free Foundation working in partnership to save lions in Kenya.  This program gives students a rare and unique opportunity to work side by side Masai and to be involved in a project that is effective and sustainable.


For more information about this project or how you can be involved contact Debs info@africaexpeditionsupport.com or have a look at http://www.africaexpeditionsupport.com


Down and Dirty in Africa – Cairo to Cape Town Part 1

Petra was a highlight in Jordan

Petra was a highlight in Jordan

Anyone who travels overland through the African continent has to be a little crazy.  To do it several times – totally mad.  Then again I am from Adelaide, Australia …. Maybe that says something.  But to anyone who has ever travelled Africa will understand the old saying “you can take a (wo)man out of Africa, but you can never take Africa out of the (wo)man”. With all its bad press, reputation for danger, death and poverty there is a side to Africa most never see nor experience – the wild diversity of terrains from unforgiving deserts to tropical rainforest to intimidating mountain ranges. The people, languages, dress and customs is a melting pot making this continent one of the most unique places on earth to travel overland.

The 18,000km overland journey from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa is one of the most popular routes for those wanting to cross the continent from North to South through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.  We were prepared to go for days on end without showers, relieve ourselves in the bush, cook on open fire and sleep under the African stars all for the satisfaction in achieving the epic overland journey – Cairo to Cape Town.

getting acquainted with our vehicles.

getting acquainted with our vehicles.

With 5 expedition Land Rovers, 3 Aussies, 5 Kiwis and 1 German we set out on a 4 month expedition from top to bottom of the Africa continent. We were on our way.

We started in Jordan due to its so-called ease in shipping vehicles.  Ones definition of ease totally depends on ones threshold; the ship was 10 days late, the paperwork rivalled Mt Kilimanjaro in height; port opening and closing times appeared random – possibly dependent on the weather!


While in Jordan we took the opportunity to explore the Lost City of Petra, the desert of Wadi Rum (Lawrence of Arabia’s hideout) and soak in the salty waters of the Dead Sea.  But it was the African continent we were itching to reach.

The adventure started in trying to board the ferry from Aqaba to the port town Nuewiba, Egypt just over the Red Sea.  The best way to describe the ferry port is chaotic.  There are no signs (not even in Arabic) and no indication of process.  The only rule is not to board the ferry until vehicle papers and passports are stamped.  A random desk indicating immigration simply by the amount of people pushing and elbowing trying to squeeze passports through a small circular hole in the window manned by a gentleman in official uniform.

The ferry, an old Danish channel ferry, transported us to Egypt but not without a 3 hour delay left sitting on the docks while semi-trailers with turn table trailers expertly reversed onto the ramp and through the seemingly narrow cargo hole.  4 hours later we set foot on the African continent.

Egypt is not really Africa; it is merely positioned on the Continent but is still classified as an Arab nation.  Nonetheless Egypt is a warm and welcoming country, the Egyptians are masterful at making you believe you have received a bargain of the century only to walk away and realize that same item costs half the price at home.

Our first challenge was to complete the mountains of paperwork simply to get our vehicles into the country.  Egypt has strict rules and regulations; if anyone knows exactly what they are I would love to know!  It is not as simple as just having the Carnet de Passage (vehicle passport) stamped, Egyptian customs is like a maze; a local driving permit, local insurance, Egyptian number plates, hundreds of photocopies and a lot of backsheesh (bribes) finally saw the formalities complete and us on our way to the shores of the Red Sea.

The desert is nowhere like anything in the World.  In one way it looks like nothing can survive but once you look closer you will see it never sleeps.

The desert is nowhere like anything in the World. In one way it looks like nothing can survive but once you look closer you will see it never sleeps.

Egypt is dry, with the exception of the Nile at the very north near the Delta.  The landscape is mostly flat and rocky, a dull sandy colour sweeps the landscape with the occasional brilliant grey rocky outcrop breaking the mundane colour scheme.

Driving through Egypt is a unique experience to say the least.  Drivers on their horn during the day, yet at night they drive without head lights although still reaching speeds of 120km per hour! The road system is overall pretty good and not much traffic with the exception of Cairo (which resembles the driving skills of hundreds of thousands of drunk drivers … only they are sober!) Horns, accelerator, brakes are all you need, the odd fist out the window is also a handy driving skill to become accustomed too, not a rude gesture by any means, it merely means I am first.

Travel in Egypt is restricted.  There are few roads tourists can travel and most have police escorted convoys.  Leaving times are secret – for our “protection” – so secret it is only the day before the convoy leaves exact departure times are known.  Our first convoy from Safaga to Luxor departed at 7am, 320kms under police escort with over 100 tourist buses, taxis, and a hand full of independent travellers.  Anyone who is not familiar with convoy etiquette quickly becomes accustomed to the chaos; convoy quickly turns into a race between coaches and drivers.

We took the time to visit the key tourist attractions, the Great Pyramids, famous Egyptian museum, vibrant markets of Cairo, very relaxing felucca cruise up the Nile, explored the tombs of the great pharaohs in Valley of the Kings and Queens, spotted hieroglyphics at Karnak and Luxor temples to name a few.

While in Cairo we needed our Sudan and Ethiopian Visas.  Not a difficult process, if the paperwork is all in order.  The most wonderful thing about the Sudanese Embassy in Cairo is it does not look like an Embassy.  The Sudanese have taken a very different approach, there is a sad looking flag out the front of the old, well-worn, un-maintained building, two open entrances taking you into the heart of the Embassy and hub of activity without books to fill, ID to show, no metal detectors, no searches, no passes to apply for.  What you face when entering are about 70 people crammed into a small space with a few staff placed in semi-random places.

After completing mountains of paperwork, countless photocopies and several department stamps covering the application forms our visas were approved in less than 24 hours.

Alcohol is banned in Sudan, so before leaving Egypt I enjoyed my last Coopers Pale Ale while sailing on the Nile

Alcohol is banned in Sudan, so before leaving Egypt I enjoyed my last Coopers Pale Ale while sailing on the Nile

After a bit of overload of history it was time to move on.   Our next destination; Sudan, here we enter real Africa; as all overland routes are closed we must ship the vehicles on a barge while we take a regular passenger ferry service to the small port town of Wadi Halfa across Lake Nasser.Entering Egypt in your own vehicle is an adventure in itself; however it is nothing on actually trying to leave this ancient world.  There are stamps on bits of pieces of paper required from different police departments, mountains of paperwork to complete, ferry tickets to collect, lengthy customs process, police clearance, surrendering number plates and local license, and finally loading the vehicles ………  the maze is thick, process confusing, and everything is done on Egyptian time over many cups of sweet black tea.

Loading the vehicles onto the well-used platform is an artform;  50 well-meaning Egyptians simultaneously yelling directions on how best to load; forward, backward, to the left, to the right …….. it was not long before we stepped in and took control of the loading process.

Loading the vehicles onto the ferry in Aswan.  The next we will see the is in Wadi Halfa, Sudan

Loading the vehicles onto the ferry in Aswan. The next we will see the is in Wadi Halfa, Sudan

The vehicles left 1 day before us; normally it takes 3 days for the barge to cross and about 24 hours for the passenger ferry – the Captain assured us although the vehicles left a day later than scheduled he would be in Wadi Halfa before us.

As we were about to step onto the passenger ferry a small local Egyptian politely asked if he could pass …. I swiftly moved aside as he shuffled by.  He was carrying a full size household fridge neatly packed in its original box on his back!  As we pushed and shoved our way onto the ferry dodging hundreds of sacks of onions, TVs, stereos, boxes of fruit and veg, furniture and of course hundreds of people; we were relieved to finally drop our bags in our cabins.

We woke in the morning to the familiar Middle East call to prayer crackling over the ferry speaker.  After a tasty breakfast of beans, flatbread, lentils, fruit and cheese we gathered on deck as we gently sailed past the famous temple of Abu Simbel and into Sudanese territory.

A few hours later we caught our first glimpse of Wadi Halfa; we were relieved to see, in the distance, the cargo barge with our vehicles waiting patiently for our arrival.  The Captain was true to his word; arrived before us and guarded the vehicles over night – of course now he was waiting for his generous “backsheesh” we had promised prior to leaving Aswan.

Once again entering a country like Sudan requires mountains of paperwork, stamps, more stamps, and 3 officials in different offices also needing to stamp the stamped paperwork. The vehicles need to be checked, searched for illegal items, and engine and chassis numbers clarified against the Carnets and of course a stamp to say this was done!  After a quick search of the vehicles we were finally ready to exit the customs compound.

What people do not see nor hear about Sudan are the kind-hearted, ever willing to assist, smiley faced friendly people.  “Welcome to Sudan” echoes everywhere, horns hooting, random people stopping to greet us and kids on the side of the road waving their tiny hands while exhibiting large toothless smiles.  We felt nothing but safety and security; a genuine feel local people wanted tourists in their country.  Sudan is in a terrible state; but like all war torn countries there are millions of people living a normal life trying to survive in uncertain times; it is these people that make a country.

Northern Sudan is like a breath of fresh air compared to the hustle and bustle of Egypt.  The north is desert and we chose to take the off-road route to Khartoum, over 700kms of which 340kms off-road through the Nubian Desert.

One of the rare times we were all together for a group shot

One of the rare times we were all together for a group shot

The desert is deceptive; the ground looks flat – but it is not; in the distance the sun reflects giving the impression of watering-holes (mirages) but there is nothing but sand; the colours change minute by minute as the sun reflects – one minute the distance is a pale cream colour; 10 minutes later is deep orange; at night the sky comes alive with millions of stars as dozens of shooting stars dart across the sky line.  The moon light ignites the sand and even in the middle of the night you think it is twilight.  The desert is its own world; with its own rules and speaks a language only a few ever master.  It is no wonder travellers often find themselves lost, confused and scared in such a vast hostile nothingness.

With the windows down and sand blowing in our hair we took off into the desert.  The rules were simple – drive with your eyes, and look out for each other and if you get lost head for the railway line.  We spread out but never completely lost sight of one another with the lead vehicle leading the way. The most wonderful thing about desert crossings are even with 7 vehicles (2 independent vehicles asked to join us) it felt like we were all alone.

It took 3 days (and only four bogging) to reach a brand new tar seal road near the town of Abu Hamed, 300 or so kms from the capital Khartoum.  We pumped up the tyres and continued on our way.


Fred taking up an offer to ride a camel to the ancient pyramids of Meroe

We stopped at the ancient pyramids of Meroe, where we camped up for the night behind one of the many imposing sand dunes.   The following morning there was no wind, the desert oozed it’s eerie silence when from out of nowhere the first “camel” man arrived, followed by more “camel” men, and “donkey” men and tens of kids on foot.  The souvenir shops had come to us and as we unzipped our tents and opened our eyes to see a bright new day we were greeted with a toothless smile and a hearty “welcome to Sudan, come and look at my shop”.  Before long over 20 locals had come to greet us and offer to sell everything from jewellery, clay pots, hand-woven mats, old coins and camel rides to the Pyramids.

After rummaging through the souvenirs we departed for a look at the Pyramids.  It was not long before the sun was beating down and it was time to make our final 250kms or so to the Capital, Khartoum.

In Khartoum we stayed at the Blue Nile Sailing Club on the banks of the Nile, it dates back to colonial days; the centre piece are the remains of Lord Kitchener’s Gun Boat which was moored in Khartoum; during the great floods the boat was beached and has remained ever since.  The Sailing Club is a popular place for well-to-do Sudanese to mull away their weekends cruising in their expensive yachts.

Lord Kitchener's boat, still moored in Khartoum, Sudan

Lord Kitchener’s boat, still moored in Khartoum, Sudan

After stocking up on supplies it was time to bid farewell to Sudan and continue to Ethiopia – the Land of Dungeons and Dragons; the place St George fought and won battles with mythical characters, the believed birth place of the Queen of Sheeba; the home of coffee beans and Daschen Beer.

Part 2 to follow …

Article was printed in Overlander 4WD magazine in Australia and Land Rover World, United Kingdom.

For more information email Debs info@africaexpeditionsupport.com or check out www.africaexpeditionsupport.com


Responsible Travel Policy Into Practice – How Responsible Are We When We Travel?

Responsible Tourism has become one the most important marketing tools for Travel Agents and Tour Operators globally. In every brochure there is undoubtedly a section on how companies employ Responsible Tourism strategies into their tours. When push comes to shove; how many of these Travel Agents and Tour Operators actually enforce and support these strategies on the ground? Or has competition for the tourism dollar resulted in turning a blind eye.

Critically endangered Rhino

Critically endangered Rhino

A clear indication that Responsible Travel Policy is not translating into practice is in Game Parks throughout Africa. Big Cats, like lions and cheetahs, having to change their routine. Instead of hunting in the evening or very early morning they are starting to hunt at midday. This is not a natural wonder nor an adaptation from Mother Nature but simply a matter of survival.

Safari vehicles stalk wildlife. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a lion or cheetah stalking gazelles or zebra in the early morning light. It is not uncommon for one safari vehicle to spot this and drive as close to the action as possible, unfortunately every other vehicle that sees this knows there is something good nearby. Before long there are tens of vehicles crowded around the poor unsuspecting hungry Cat – the prey is alerted and the Cat wanders off; hungry.

The saving grace for Big Cats is that tourists get hungry too; at around midday all the safari vehicles head back to their lodges for a feast while the hungry Cat stays hungry unless she too decides to hunt in the middle of the day.

Leopards are one of the hardest animals to spot and one of the most vulnerable of all the cats

leopards are one of the hardest animals to spot and one of the most vulnerable of all the cats

Hunting during the hottest part of the day is particularly risky for Big Cats. They exert far too much energy, become dehydrated and if they miss this kill may be too weak to try another. Further, with the hot sun beating down they do not have shadows not shade to disguise themselves. There ability to sprint in hot exposed conditions is halved from hunting in cooler conditions. The chances of Cats being successful in their hunt are less than 50% from hunting early morning or evening.

The Cheetah is the fastest mammal on earth. It carries very little reserves and therefore must hunt regularly to keep energy levels high. A cheetah has a 1:2 hunt success rate. If the cheetah has a lesser rate than 1:3 hunt success rate it doesn’t have enough energy for another chase and will starve to death.

Why is this happening in this day in age? Surely humankind has learnt something over the past 100 years about protecting precious species.

A simple answer would be to blame the local operator. Obviously, if you book your safari through a Travel Agent the contract is passed to a local African operator. It is far too easy to blame the little guy – the African driver/guide who only wants a great tip at the end of the safari for getting you close to a lion kill. However, it is far more complicated than that.

The tourism industry is very competitive and each Agent and Operator is looking for a way to outdo his competitor. The magic words Responsible Tourism plays straight into the hand of the consumer. Everyone wants to feel the product they purchased will do some good or at very least no harm to the environment, people or culture.

Marketing and advertising are directed to play on the consumers inner emotions and feelings, over and above conscious thought processes.

Even with responsible travelers intentions being nothing but honorable at time of booking their African safari there seems to be a monster that unleashes itself when face to face with the perfect photo opportunity. Often this is a subconscious reaction to the environment. Try to remember since childhood how many wildlife documentaries you have seen. Impossible. But what you can recall is that in every documentary there was the animal kill – the lion taking down wildebeest in the Serengeti; Leopard taking the jugular of a gazelle in South Luangwa and Cheetah sprinting at incredible speed to outrun the springbok in Chobe. As a society we have been conditioned that Africa means Kill and no safari is complete unless we have seen one.

This pressure is placed on the driver/guide of the safari. If you ask anyone fresh off the plane in Nairobi about what their number 1 desire to see in Africa – a kill is invariably the response.

Walk with lions is a great conservation and education strategy.

Walk with lions is a great conservation and education strategy.

Local operators are constantly placed under massive stress to deliver the product and ensure clients have a once in a lifetime experience. Contracts are too easily won and lost over such trivia as one client complaint to the Agent that the safari did not deliver the goods. Excellent service, food, facilities and organisation do not count for much if the clients do not see the Big 5.

Agents and Foreign Tour Operators place enormous pressure on local operators to deliver above expectations. Resulting in local operators breaking fundamental rules like following Cats while hunting, driving off designated paths and driving far too close to wildlife – all in the pursuit of the perfect photo and all in breach of Responsible Tourism policy. This dilemma local operators face is simple. Break the rules and keep the contract or stick to the rules and lose it.

Booking tours through Agents has been the norm for many years and smaller operators selling their product through Agents have become more and more popular for maximum exposure and ultimately bums on seats. However, when a tour is booked through an Agent the consumer rarely knows who the actual Operator at the other end is. The Agent is there to make sales and often, sadly, will give miss-information to the potential client in order to sell that safari. Empty promises are made about the animals that the client would see and of course may even promise a lion kill in the Masai Mara. The client is nothing but disappointed at the end of the day.

Way Forward
The simplest solution to ensure Responsible Tourism Policy translates into Practice is not to expect to see the Big Cats in full flight. If you see one stalking potential prey… drive away. It is important for consumers to take responsibility and not insist or put undue pressure on local tour operators or their driver/guides to deliver the ultimate. African game parks are a natural refuge for wildlife, while everyone wants to see a lion kill, or a leopard up the tree or cheetahs hunting down a gazelle, what we must never lose sight of are game parks are there to protect wildlife for generations to come. Unless tourists and agents start taking an active role in responsible tourism we risk losing these already critically endangered animals forever.