An eco safari is a form of travel based on ecology that allows tourists to experience wildlife and places rich in heritage, culture, and natural beauty. There are many companies offering the opportunity to take a safari, but only companies that conserve the resources, travel responsibly, and benefit local communities can be considered eco-friendly. There are different rating systems of companies providing tours in natural environments, and the ratings should be checked carefully to ensure that the safari is environmentally-friendly. Tours can last from one to 15 days depending on an individual’s budget and destination preferences.
The phrase "ecotourism" is based on the words “ecosystem” and “tourism” and involves travel to areas of natural interest for the primary purpose of conserving them. More often than not, an eco safari allows the traveler to observe animals in their natural environment. Sometimes eco tours provide travelers with an opportunity to assist with environmental projects in developing countries. Tours to these natural environments are usually guided by an environmentalist or naturalist.
Eco safaris are offered all over the world. In North America, the State of Florida offers various tours by boat to the Everglades, as well as safaris by foot and horseback. South America allows travelers the opportunity to experience a jungle safari. India is another popular destination with a variety of tours throughout various National parks and sanctuaries. For its abundance of wildlife, Africa remains one of the most popular and expensive destinations for travelers who wish to experience an eco safari.
In order to maintain the integrity of the phrase eco tourism, many countries have developed a rating system. The rating system ensures that those providing eco safaris are reducing strains on the environment and guaranteeing the welfare of local villages. Each country has different schemes for rating tourism companies and hotels. For instance, the rating system in Kenya has three levels, including bronze, silver, and gold, with bronze providing the least amount of benefits to the environment.
Tourists have just as much responsibility in maintaining the environment as the company providing the tour. Tourists should refrain from feeding the animals, which can cause an unnatural dependence on human beings. On an eco safari, it is advisable not to disturb the ecological balance of the environment in any way, which includes the removal of items for souvenirs, handling the animals, or altering the natural environment. Individuals should follow the instructions of their guide, as safaris may be dangerous.