It’s Friday and you know what that means: Flashback Photo Fridays, when I share a photo with a story, anecdote and/or explain why the photo is meaningful to me.
On an early morning wake-up call during a 3 day safari in Serengeti and Ngorogoro Conservation Area (Crater), Tanzania I was eager to enter the Crater and see what all the fus was about. Our safari had just begun and with an overcast day, I knew I wouldn’t get too hot in our 4X4 Toyota landrover.
Our guide paid our entrance fees and I soon noticed, not only is there a lot of talk about this place, it’s crowded with landrovers, tourists from different lands eager to see the BIG 5: rhino, African elephant, Cape Buffalo, leopard and lion. Binoculars around their necks and cameras in front of their faces, ready to impress everyone back at home, just what they saw on a trip of a lifetime. I no longer felt I was in nature.I questioned if I was at Disneyland. And then I saw why everyone was crowded around. Two cheetahs. After we snapped some photos we veered away, in hopes to get away from the crowd.
Our guide continued on the typical tourist circuit within the crater on the dirt roads already navigated by many guides years before. He came across a n overgrown green bush, stopped the car, leaned out his door as if that would provide more insight if there was an animal in the bush (literally).
He killed the engine. I stood up on my seat and peered out the sunroom. The sound of silence. Anticpation. Was there an animal chilling in the bush?
Without much more time to ponder and enjoy my setting, our driver and guide, opened his door, grabbed something on the ground and tossed a big stone into the bush. “Holy Shit,” I thought. What the Heck? Moments later a beautiful beast appeared.
Angry and impressed at the same time, I gave my guide the evil eye as I saw my life potential flash before me. The male lion could have jumped into our landrover instantly and enjoyed tossing us in the air like cats do until he got tired of us.
I snapped as many photos as I could as the lion lay quietly, nibbling on grass and changing position a few times. I enjoyed watching nature before my eyes but also felt a pang of guilt. Despite being in the “wild” how many other guides before me have thrown rocks to impress tourists and show us what they know most “expect” to see. One of the negative impacts of tourism most of us don’t often think about…how we have a big role to play when we visit foreign lands, even when we have no idea just how much of an impact we have.
Have you ever been on safari?
Have you ever been on a tour, guided-trip or experienced something that made you question the tourist industry in a country?
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