I sometimes feel that we cannot win when promoting cultural tours within South Africa! People come to us with such differing cultural perceptions of their own that it is hard to please everyone.
Some people are expecting to see village life such as it might have been in the 19th century. In the days of David Livingstone and the colonial explorers… They are somewhat disappointed to see that people actually wear contemporary dress, have access to TVs, cellphones and use tinned food, alongside the more traditional staples.
Do they really believe that people haven’t changed their customs and behavior in today’s global world??
Others are very keen to understand what it’s like to live in the modern South Africa. They don’t just want to interact with the waiters in their 5 star hotels. But also meet ‘normal’ South Africans going about their lives. Some positively DON’T want a historical or ‘packaged’ experience. They want the real facts. (more…)
The Serengeti is ‘a wilderness’ only to the extent that no commercial roads cut through it. There are virtually no roads in the adjacent village lands either. So it certainly seems that animal movements are much as they would have been for millions of years. Endless plains dotted with only a few flat topped acaias and wooded koppies…
But, in reality, this apparently virgin bush is far from having been untouched by human hand. On the contrary, before the national parks and reserves were gazetted, local people had been utilising the Serengeti for livestock and hunting in a way that allowed both wildlife and people to thrive.
For more than 200 years, Maasai pastoralists migrated large distances with their precious cattle and left the landscape to recover between periods of grazing. This was much to the advantage of the wild plains game. But it’s only quite recently that this conservation role has been fully appreciated.
The Maasai ’empire’
The Maasai of East Africa are the descendants of Nilotic people. They moved south in the wake of the desertification of the Saharan ranges. These Maasai speakers once controlled about 60% of what is now called Kenya. They spread out in all directions from the Great Rift Valley, into Uganda and into Tanzania. However the Maasai were not looked after when they were ousted from their ancestral lands to create the wildlife sanctuaries.
The cattle-keepers were viewed rather as hooligans in the 1950s. And they are still seen as stubborn and anachronistic by the present authorities. Tourism has brought their communities mixed benefits and, unfortunately, a very unequal distribution of the economic rewards.
Increased competition for scarce resources between increasing populations of both wild animals and people is causing friction. New thinking is that the only way forward is to reconnect the needs of the wildlife with those of local communities. So we need to recover the old interdependence. It’s increasingly clear that some of the best managed wildlife sanctuaries are Maasai-owned.
Free Guide to Tanzania Safaris
Check out our photo-rich Insiders Guide to Tanzania & share with family & family!
One of the best ways you can support both the threatened culture of the Maasai, as well as wildlife, is to spend time in one of the Game Controlled Areas in Tanzania. Or one of the Conservancies in Kenya. Here you will be able to see cattle and game co-existing. And talk to the Maasai about the future as they see it. . .
Throughout Africa, tourism plays a vital role in sustainable development and the conservation of wildlife and the environment. (Relatively) wealthy visitors contribute directly to local economies to create jobs and infrastructure. With huge pressure on scarce resources and wild habitats it is often only this value that visitors place on the natural environment and its wildlife that makes it viable for governments to conserve some of the world’s most special places.
The real win-win here is that by choosing to stay with the Maasai for some of your Serengeti migration safari. You’ll get a better game viewing experience. And there is less chance that the wisdom of the Maasai will be swept aside.
Activities include morning and afternoon game drives. All day game drives with a picnic lunch are also on offer. This is especially popular for guests who wish to delve deep into the Masai Mara National Reserve to witness one of the famous river crossings. Bush walks with Masai are another highlight. Being on foot offers a completely different perspective on the game and the flora.
Dome tents not for you? Check out Porini Safari and Diani Beach which features the rather more upscale sister camps from the same safari outfit. Or check out Chem Chem which puts walks with the Maasai at the heart of the safari experience. Or just ask us about which camps focus more on working with the Maasai people.
Cedarberg’s Top 10 Golf Courses elsewhere in South Africa
Here we focus on the top Sun City golf courses as well as courses in the Kruger, Kwa Zulu Natal and Johannesburg. Though some of the Cape Town courses are the most popular for our golfing guests. But they are not necessarily the highest ranked in the country!
We have used the recent Golf Digest SA rankings for your interest. However our list differs from Golf Digest in that some of those golf courses, though immaculate, are not readily available to the overseas golfer. Either because of their location in Johannesburg, or other cities, rather than in an area of natural beauty, or their club membership. So our Top 10 golf courses for the rest of South Africa focuses on those easily accessible to the golfing visitor. We have put the Golf Digest Rankings at the bottom of each description for your reference.