Africa stands proud as one of the world’s most biologically diverse continents. Our biodiversity supports the supply of resources to industries such as tourism, fishing, horticulture, agriculture and mining as well as providing critical ecosystem services such as the production of clean water, erosion control, carbon storage and clean air. In addition, our biodiversity contributes to people’s wellbeing through the provision of food and recreational, aesthetic, cultural and spiritual needs.

Our natural heritage is our continent’s greatest tourism attraction and as such the tourism industry and every tourist, both local and international, should be encouraged to become integrally involved in the protection and conservation of our biodiversity.

Tourism and biodiversity are mutually dependant. Some of the top reasons why tourists visit Africa, include wildlife viewing; taking part in adventure getaways; and of course visiting our unique cultural and natural heritage sites such as Tunisia’s Amphitheatre of El Jem, Ethiopia’s ruins of Aksum, Egypt’s Ancient Thebes, Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park, the Aldabra Atoll of the Seychelles, Namibia’s Twyfelfontein’s rock engravings, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mali’s Old Towns of Djenne, Cameroon’s Dja Faunal Reserve, South Africa’s floral kingdom in the Western Cape and Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Tourism is a major source of employment across the continent and Africa’s economic development cannot do without it.

Wildlife-based tourism activities can have both negative and positive impacts on biodiversity and the conservation of species. Wildlife-based facilities such as zoos and game reserves can play an important role in educating visitors about conservation programmes and projects. They can also educate tourists about the threats facing the various species, for example: illegal wildlife trading, poaching, urban development, deforestation, pollution, illegal removal of animals from the wild and the negative impacts of poorly managed game viewing activities. These facilities should stress the role they can play in contributing to and ensuring the conservation of our biodiversity. Visitors to the continent can then go on to spread the word about the beauty of Africa while emphasising the importance of responsible tourism and the need to support only those organisations that operate in accordance with the highest ethical standards and best conservation practice.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust is one the largest conservation NGOs operating throughout southern and east Africa and works tirelessly to preserve the region’s vast natural, wild heritage. We fill the key niche of on-the-ground conservation action by identifying the key factors threatening biodiversity and developing innovative methodologies and best practice guidelines to reduce these and promote harmonious co-existence and sustainable living for both people and wildlife. We achieve our goals through specialist programmes, and our skilled field staff work across the region. We engage in campaigns and partner with organisations that support responsible tourism and encourage you to enjoy the magnificence of the African continent whilst acting responsibly.

Thank you for your purchase of this book, which has supported further Conservation in Action that will help to keep Africa’s wild places alive. To learn more about us visit www.ewt.org.za

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