I had an amazing time in Tanzania, but it also raised some disturbing questions.
When I came to Kenya on safari 10 years ago, we could go an entire day and only see one or two other vehicles. The other day when we got wind that there was a leopard basking in a particular tree in the Serengeti, we shared the experience with over 100 other people, with about twenty-five vehicles lining up to see the big cat. There is no regulation of the number of people or vehicles coming into the park.
I wonder when the situation changed, from being bubbles of human settlement surrounded by wildlife, to being bubbles of wildlife surrounded by human settlement. When did we stop trying to keep the animals out of our areas, and start trying to keep them inside theirs?
Another worry – the national park that encompasses Kilimanjaro apparently raised the price of a permit recently, to $120 a day. This has done nothing to reduce the number of people coming into the park. From what I saw, the footpaths are in danger of being eroded – especially on the main route (also known as the Coca Cola route due to its popularity).
How long before these places become victims of their own success, and the ‘wilderness experience’ becomes as contrived as a Disneyland ride?