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Ecotourism recognized as a Top Priority for Hoopoe Safaris

An East African safari operator based in Tanzania".

The 2004 Condé Nast Traveler's Ecotourism Award for Best Operator in the World goes to Hoopoe Safaris for their continued and outstanding community-based Ecotourism partnerships across East Africa and specifically Northern Tanzania. (July edition)

Throughout the ten-year history of Condé Nast Traveler's Ecotourism Awards, they have recognized properties, tour operators, and destinations committed to preserving the local environment, assisting and employing the people who live there, and educating the guests who visit. This year's winners were chosen from nearly 100 applications that were screened by their editors, after which a panel of industry judges voted on the finalists.

It is recognized with this recent accolade that Hoopoe Safaris [together with Kirurumu Tented Camps and Lodges] it totally dedicated to the protection of the environment and supporting effective community partnerships and sustainable tourism projects.

Headed by Kenyan born Peter Lindstrom, and Tanzanian Maasai, Steven Laiser, Hoopoe is an East African safari outfitter and tour company, owned and managed largely by Africans. The company has gained its reputation by offering the authentic "out of the way" African experience of the traditional safari camp which affords a close communion with nature, without forsaking important creature comforts of the timeless safaris under canvas. According to Lindstrom, fundamental to an enjoyable and rewarding safari is the knowledge, experience and interaction of the guide. Accordingly, Hoopoe pioneered the training of local guides in a much broader range of subjects, such as geology, anthropology, zoology, botany and, importantly, also in the rich cultural life of East Africa.

Hoopoe then went further, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say, back, in developing walking and trekking safaris away from the noise and distraction of motor vehicles, to feel, hear, smell and experience first hand the wonders of the African bush. From here, Lindstrom and Laiser recognized the significance of creating and developing sustainable tourism, which would allow visitors from all corners of the earth to witness this unique animal spectacle of the great plains of Africa, without spoiling the very thing they had come so far to see. This could only be achieved by offering low impact tourism on a sustainable basis and then only by engaging the local communities in areas where wildlife is still plentiful and environmental degradation has been minimal.

The Maasai pastoralists in particular had by virtue of their culture and traditional herding way of life, helped to preserve for mankind one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth. Maasailand provides huge areas that are essential dispersal zones and migration corridors linking National Parks and Game Reserves. Lindstrom went on to say it was essential to forge ties with local villages as genuine partners and help to empower them to share in the development of this particular ecotourism concept, whilst affording Tanzania's guests the opportunity to marvel at and appreciate this wondrous natural resource. The community-based partnerships which they and a few other like minds have helped to establish, will hopefully help to protect a fragile environment and the great herds of the East African Savannah ecosystems. Lindstrom says that the battle is not yet won and a combination of a growing population and pressure on dwindling land resources add up to a formidable challenge, but a shift has been made in the right direction.

The community earns much needed direct annual income in return for granting the rare privilege of a private concession area to Hoopoe for their safari activities. In addition, every visitor bed-night attracts a fee paid directly to the community and Hoopoe has engaged members of the local community as guides and as trackers and Askaris. The community assumes a responsibility to guard against alternative land use, such as agriculture and charcoal manufacture, and to prevent poaching. The income the communities earn from tourism, Lindstrom notes, has been used extensively for improving schools, building clinics and improving safe water supplies. This formula provides a truly win-win situation for all parties concerned. Lindstrom remains passionate about his vision that combines environmental care with pragmatic commercial goals that benefit the community and the national economy, whilst preserving the precious nature with which Tanzania is so well endowed.

Sustainability is the key.

For information and reservations regarding all safaris in East Africa, Mountain Climbs, Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast, contact your local tour operator and visit the Hoopoe Safaris website at www.hoopoe.com

"Conservation and Community Development through Sustainable

Eco-tourism Partnerships"

Hoopoe Safaris United Kingdom Marketing Office:

Rupert Finch Hatton, PO Box 278, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD19 4WH

Tel: +44 (0)1923 255462 Fax: +44 (0) 1923 255452

E: hoopoeuk@aol.com ..www.hoopoe.com...www.cntraveler.com.

Rupert Finch Hatton
Hoopoe Safaris
Kirurumu Tented Camps & Lodges
Telephone +44 (0)1923 255462
Facsimile + 44 (0)1923 255452

"Conservation and Community Development through Sustainable Ecotourism Partnerships"

India Street, Arusha, Tanzania.

Tel: +255 (0) 27 2507011


Wilson Airport, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: +254 (0) 2 604303