Preserving the Islands of Kenya & TanzaniaPosted By : admin | December 7, 2013 | 0 comment(s)
In Issue 1 of The Eco Gypsy we have included two of the busiest tourist islands in East Africa. Lamu and Zanzibar, both known for their rich cultural pasts. Beyond that lie some of the most beautiful islands in the world, droplets of perfect azure and turquoise, suspended in the Indian Ocean. Underneath this glistening surface there are coral reefs teeming with a plethora of fish, turtle, dolphin and whale shark.
The preservation of a history, culture and the environment have a symbiotic relationship. By preserving the past you preserve traditions and many traditions are tied to the land. Also when people think of conservation they are more inclined to think of the jungle and mammals, rather than conservation of architecture, people, ways of life and communities.
Both Lamu and Zanzibar towns are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites ensuring their old architectural past and arabesque meandering streets are preserved for, hopefully, eternity. Lamu Town is actually Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town and one of the original Swahili settlements on the east coast. Zanzibar’s Stone Town is said to be the only ancient town that is still inhabited and a working city in East Africa today. Within the narrow streets and towns of these two island towns is a rich tapestry of history that has shaped the traditions.
Both are also traditional maritime environments with many residents surviving on fishing for a living. Off the coast are hundreds of tiny azure droplets making up thousands of islands. Our Ecoescape Chumbe Island is off the coast of Zanzibar and is a pristine example of an eco island. They bring over the next generation of schoolchildren and educate them on the ecosystems through field trips. All the rangers here are from the area. In Mike’s Camp on Kiwayu Island they also have there first local turtle conservationist, Athman Bwana, who was supported through his training by the camp.
Both islands work closely with the local community, therefore ensuring an enduring relationship between the people of the most ancient settlements with local knowledge, conservation of the marine life and preserving the environment through ecotourism. A generation who visit these islands will grow up with the balance between the towns on the main islands and knowledge of conservation with the new business of tourism. This exposure to the preservation of the towns and the environment will hopefully lead to a healthy balance of tourism development in the future leading to a new understanding of how preservation and conservation is vital for securing these islands and surrounding habitats through another millennia.