This trip was different from most of my other trips.
When I travelled Latin America I was backpacking, I used the same busses as the locals, I ate in the same restaurants. I booked services at small local agencies. I spent little money but it went directly to "ordinary" people. I had a lot of time and "drifted" through the countries. Meeting locals was a significant part of what made my journeys a great experience. The people I met took pride in their country and their culture.
This time we had little time. Everything was prearranged. Our money went to a chain of agencies and I assume that only little of it arrived at the people who actually took care of us. In just two weeks we spent an amount almost unimaginable for people living in Tanzania.
We had almost no contact to locals. Maybe it was only our imagination but we often felt jealousy. Locals were rather trying to avoid contact with us and felt abused and degraded to photographed objects, to symbols of their poverty.
We had great two week but we left with mixed feelings. Yes, we experienced the landscape, the nature, the animals but we could not get into touch with the culture, with the people. Is this possible for us as rich, white Europeans? I think it isn’t through such a two week Safari.
© Volker Umpfenbach