African safaris impacting lives through Pro-poor tourism strategy.

Engaging with thriving destinations in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo to discover a range of attractions while immersing yourself in traditional and local flavours.

Tourism with no doubt is considered to be the currently global largest industry, we look at the livelihoods and level of prosperity it can bring due to visitations in multiple destination.A well-planned tourism is seen as a fortune for local people in remote rich wildlife villages of Africa. This needs a great sense for people in the tourism industry to work together e.g. tour operators, hotel owners, lodges, guest houses, safari guides, conservationists, consultants, NGOs, governments and development workers. We find these local communities living in highly preferred touristic places defined as poor, this is due to a number of factors attributed by the Locality, Remoteness, and lack of world class infrastructure in such local places, and they are socially and culturally rich.

Their resources are often of key interests to tourists in off-beat trails experiences which becomes a great source of opportunity to raise their house hold income. For example the local communities in the Bakiiga homesteads of western Uganda are known for their rich conservative back ground identified by extended family bonds of kinship, generosity, welcome smiles and cultural entertainment for celebrations and events full of folktales, rhymes, traditional dances, local art and crafts making, weaving, basketry, curving all of which are an amazing way to discover these areas for an eco-friendly safari style. We don’t take this to be another form of tourism as more think but put in place best approaches that seek to involve and utilize all the mentioned as a key strategic tool to alleviate poverty. Through utilizing this tourism wealth, both tourists and tourism practitioners are able to assist the economically poor by stimulating local economic developments hence increasing livelihood opportunities.

Through our tailored eco-safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo local people are able to define this form of tourism approach basing on the increased economic benefits and enhancing non-economic benefits which we have managed to implement through;

Employment opportunities: For example our 10 members at Instinct safaris staff are comprised of local members from local and indigenous communities adjacent to conservation areas in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo. Only our chief marketer Niels is one with an European origin but qualified after spending two full years operating deep in the local communities of western Uganda in Bwindi and Mgahinga conservation areas encouraging active community participation in responsible eco-tourism.

Training and presentation: We emphasize this through holding training, workshops, seminars for community capacity building and encouraging active participation in responsible eco-tourism through our implemented and supervised eco-projects in the southern sector of Bwindi. Members are enlightened on environmental challenges and mitigation issues, green project planning and event hosting. They come to understand how to adapt to the best operating techniques to a well desired collaboration for cultural and eco-tourism experiences. It’s the mandate of instinct safaris to train local community members as, site and safari guides, hoteliers, conservation wardens and these after the course are recommended to work with our responsible team or coordinate with other companies for more job opportunities.

Encourage tourists to take local excursions:  Instinct safaris started as a small village based walking safari in the year 2000.With close proximity to the Albertine rift valley the panoramic natural harbor of the currently endangered mountain gorillas, the rugged terrain of the verdant swathe of Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park, the volcanic chains of the virunga massif bordering three countering of Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo some of which are still active today. This place is a true paradise for all safari goers. Our two members on the team started collaborating with tourists on community guided walking tours connecting to these destinations and after this relationship came the birth of Instinct safaris. We harmoniz and still maintain two versions of these walking eco-trails on our current safaris i.e. Nyandwi and Nshozi trails with great day walking excursions through villages, forest adventures, dugout canoe trekking on the volcanic lakes of Bunyonyi, Mutanda and Murehe, volcanic mountain hiking and hill climbing to the top highest point at the Garden of Eden in the Bwindi region.

During these days tourists interact with local communities like the indigenous Batwa people, learn from them, join one family for lunch and participate in various green activities for the carbon neutral impact e.g. planting indigenous trees with pupils of Nombe primary school who becomes the trees’ ambassador, planting bamboo in our Rubuguri bamboo grove or joining the team to prepare the field for a tree nursery bed and a vegetable kitchen garden. Through our Bwindi Green world club pupils will be taking care of the trees like watering, mulching, pruning and monitoring, your ambassador on the ground will keep you posted about the health and other information about your tree and should you feel want to visit your tree and the ambassador you are welcome!

Sale of goods and services to tourism practitioners: During our tours we provide safe drinking bottled mineral enriched water, endemic fruits and tropical roasted nuts, all these are bought locally from the local farmers not big suppliers in cities of Kampala in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda. We try our level best to support organic farming and purchase locally while leaving the impact of a tourist dollar in the community.

Direct market for local goods and services to tourists: We encourage our tourists to buy local products direct from locals during our course of an itinerary, eat local sometimes getting a stopover at a green restaurant and order for local ingredients and even tasting delicacies. All this will furnish the experience with best approach for pro poor tourism however most of the hotels have a souvenir shop inside and the managers convince the tourists the shop sales produce on behalf of the community. This practice is highly condemned and at Instinct safaris we still emphasize local produce must be bought from direct links to local people with a smile not at any other place, during the course of your itinerary just ask your guide he will be able to allocate one or two curio local shops owned by the community to you like Rushaga women craft group, Batwa craft shop for the indigenous Batwa people around Bwindi southern sector or Bigodi women craft making group at Kibale national park on your visit to the chimpanzees or sometimes the locals will be waiting at the trails on your return from the mountain gorilla track. If time allows your guide will take you to a demonstration site where you are free to interact with locals as they demonstrate curving, weaving, basketry etc and you are free to buy from them as well.

Infrastructure development: Due to tourism business we have witnessed extension of infrastructures to rural communities like roads, accessibility to clean water, hotels and lodges, network connections for example before the habituation of mountain gorillas in the southern sector of Bwindi there were no telecommunication signals however currently there are seven habituated mountain gorilla groups readily available for tracking daily by tourists and MTN network connected the entire region. In the due course this pro poor tourism is seen as a hand for the opportunities which enable these economically poor locals to engage and benefit from our operations.

Tourists’ dedication for pro-poor tourism beyond the daily safari life.

Contributions from our potential tourists to the maintenance of natural and cultural heritage are received through our Instinct safaris fund. Sometimes tourists have been able to appreciate the local stake holders’ roles in tourism and feel can contribute towards a running project, for example our Australian four tourists contributed to the renovation of Rubuguri Museum while other have contributed to Batwa shelters during their walking safaris with us.

In kind support: Should a tourist feel giving out anything in form of donations like scholastic materials, home ware, capital etc. from your heart this is much appreciated and welcome. We applause our potential tourists who have been able to impact our communities with small spaces in their luggage pack through our pack for the purpose campaign, schools have been able to get books, sanitary pads for girl teenagers and more scholastic materials for the pupils.

We can’t forget to mention that pro poor tourism is our core approach of our operation in tourism,this is currentlyprovideing net benefits for these economically poor communities. The losses which are involved like loss of livelihood opportunities associated with this tourism approach for example during our course of operations we identified Loss of agricultural land to conservation, animal Crop raiding, Lack of access to natural resources like national parks both hindering the life styles of locals.

It’s true that one side gains while the other loses and when we talk about the net benefit we make sure the negative side of it is not ignored and we emphasize these benefits are real counted and demonstrated. We appaluse every body who has been quite supportive for us,the results are clear to be witnessed and tangible gains.As local supplies in the tourism chain we help in market advantages while contributing to more tourists in our operating destinations, raising product quality and staff morale.With our green operating policies we find ourselves not only reducing uncessary costs but reducing Global risks.Karibu to Africa!!