Africa safari travel experience - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-13-2005, 11:34 PM
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Curious how many vegetarians have been to Africa to see the herds of wildebeest, lions, etc...whether that be Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, etc...
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#2 Old 05-14-2005, 07:43 AM
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i've been to kenya. i went to study environmental law and trade with my law school (between first and second year) and interned with the UN environmental programme. i generally enjoyed the photo safaris, but there were aspects of it that i didn't like.



1. whenever we would come upon an animal doing something interesting, the drivers would radio other drivers and the whole area would be swarmed with vans full of tourists, which put stress on the animals.



2. i felt like i was living behind a lense, unconnected to the earth and the animals. this was partly due to my companions. we would ride in the van, they would take more pictures than they would actually look at the animals, and there was a consumer aspect to looking at the animals. seeing little birds was not enough for them--we had to always see the big five--so the driver would drive around like mad looking for the big five so we could check list at the end of the day: saw this, saw this, saw this. It's not a great way to observe and explore animals in their natural habitat.



similarly, people spent more time taking pictures than actually looking at the animals--and would say to me 'if you're not going to take a picture, would you move so that i can get one?' basicly pushing me away from my little spot of observation.





the best tours i did were the walking/riding tours. i was able to do one brief camel tour/safari (about 2 hours total) which was really interesting. I did three guided hikes--just me and the guide because no one else wanted to hike ("it's not likely you'll see the big five!"--well, that's not the only thing that lives in kenya, thank you! i did see some really interesting plants, insects, reptiles, and birds). And i was able to do one horse-back safari.



these were the best because the groups were small (4 camels, one with guide on it; me and guide for hikes; five people on horseback, one with guide--and no one took pictures, talked much, or did anything stupid like throw things at the babboons).



if you're going, i highly recommend going on these sorts of safaris in addition to the ones in the big vans/jeeps. i also recommend going to the various little private preserves where you can help feed the different animals. I was able to feed giraffe, wildebeast, rhino (baby), elephant, juvenile lions, etc. these are not zoos, but places that take in rescued orphaned animals and strive to release them. it was really neat to be that close to the animals, to learn about them, and to learn about the work that the various preserves were doing.
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#3 Old 05-14-2005, 08:56 AM
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While I was in Ghana I went to an animal reserve. It was a lot of fun. The people I went with had this big red van, and the tour guy rode around in that with us. We never ran into any other people, so it was nice.

We saw crocodiles, elephants, baboons, and many different kinds of birds.
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#4 Old 05-14-2005, 09:24 AM
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Thanks for the replies thus far. But, there is a reason I am asking this question as it relates to being a vegetarian. While on your safari(s), did you ever see an animal kill another animal? I have an IMAX DVD of Serengeti and there is a famous place where the Wildebeest cross a river and are attacked by alligators. It is vicious and raw nature. I hope to go there soon.



So my question then is - if you saw one animal hunt down another - as a vegetarian - what kind of thoughts went through your mind? If you didn't see a group of animals attack and kill other animals...well I guess the question isn't so relevant.



But maybe you could answer my other question then - what is your opinion of zoos after going on a safari? and before.





For the record -

While I have traveled to many countries around the world, Africa is my biggest hole. Having only been to S. Africa - and only for a day - business trip. I did go on a safari while there as I didn't have to work while there, only on board the aircraft. It remains one of my life changing experiences. Especially the run in with wild African elephants.
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#5 Old 05-14-2005, 09:40 AM
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I didnt see any of the animals attacking/eating another animal, but if I did I probably wouldnt have thought much of it.



Before I went on the tour I didnt think much about zoos. I didnt really have an opinion on them. Even afterwards I didnt really think much of them. I really enjoyed seeing the animals out there in the wild, though. After becoming more interested in animals and becoming a vegetarian (and later a vegan) I realized that zoos are pretty much wrong. I think every animal should have the right to live in its natural habitat.



And yes, the wild elephants were just amazing.

Someone threw elephant poo at me while I was there, too. How can it get any better then that?
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#6 Old 05-14-2005, 09:36 PM
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#7 Old 05-15-2005, 11:06 AM
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i did see a lioness take down a camel.



it didn't bother me. it is natural for a lionness to kill a camel (or whatever else). i don't see why it would bother me as a vegetarian (i'm not against hunting anyway).



i've never been fond of zoos, but i understand their importance for ex situ conservation. i think that in situ conservation is more important, and my experiences seeing any animals in the wild gave me a greater desire to help protect wildlands and to find ways for humans and wild lands to co-exist.
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