Tanzania is the focus of this short report on the new wave in cultural tourism. Tanzania has something to offer everyone; many attractions have become a magnet for tourists. Kenya seems to running a poor second to Tanzania over the past two years. Tanzania is a peaceful paradise for the tourist, boasting no tribalism and a nation where hospitality is a tradition. Truly the Tanzanian culture is gentle and peace loving; welcoming visitors into their country and homes.
Many claims are made over destinations around the world being safe and friendly; however, I believe Tanzania is unique in Africa in being precisely what is claimed; a peace loving welcoming culture; a jewel in the crown of Africa.
The new wave in cultural tours has begin in Arusha – the north of the country. Here, many tourists want to see more than the animals. The culture and the people are the destination; they are what make Tanzania so special. Not the plastic, dull, staged cultural experience offered in a lukewarm attempt to get more business; but a true experience of life in Tanzania.
The ideal way to experience this is to spend a few days in a Town or village; away from the hotels. To stay in a Tanzania or an Ex-pat home and spend some time getting to know how life works in Tanzania. Many people are starting to do this and then from this home-stay base organizing a safari. To coordinate a safari from Arusha yourself is cheaper, safer and offers more flexibility. More time can be spent in Tanzania and at a relatively low cost.
If you have some time to take a long break then this is a great way to learn and understand another culture. There are a few organizations that are beginning to offer this help. Community focused organizations and even a few tour operators will offer these services.
Responsible tourism should be a two way learning experience. You the tourist will learn about the culture [and much about yourself] and the culture you visit will benefit from your interaction. Friendships and bonds can reach far into the future. An American friend of mine visited the Usambara Mountains before her safari in 2001. This visit affected her so much she has returned to us after four years to come and live and work in Tanzania. She is busy organizing the building and staffing of a primary school.
This is an extreme case and certainly not the norm, however, to experience a genuine cultural safari then the home stay is the way to go. Other benefits of the home-stay will be to give you chance to organize a safari from within Tanzania at a cheaper rate than you would get from organizing it from outside the country. I would urge you to consider this as a way of getting to know Tanzania, being able to afford an extended time here and also helping in the communities of Northern Tanzania.
For more information on Tanzania Culture look at http://www.tanzania-info.co.uk and for safaris look at http://www.betheladventure.co.uk - Support responsible tourism and change lives.