After finishing my fieldwork about agroforestry farming in Kitale, Kenya I decided to witness the savannah by myself. Thanks to a local person I had the opportunity to arrive at the gate of Masai Mara without the help of any tourist agency. Further, I camped legally at the site and went with a photographer in his rented car. We escaped the crowd and kept a safe and humble distans to the big five.
If we want to conserve wildlife eco-tourism is a great conservation method. To keep it “eco” however it a complicated thing because as long as tourists complain and expect to get close to the animals the more likely are the guides to break rules and get to close to the animals.
We actually decided to leave a site when there were to many people around a lion. It didn’t feel right. But if tourism can contribute to jobs and are willing to pay to see the animals, the more economic incentives are there to conserve the ecosystems.
I was lucky to see all the big five and it was most of the time just three people in the car peacefully observing one of the most beautiful things I ever seen. I hope we keep on protecting these animals.