Sinai Safari are nature lovers and are obsessed with preserving the desert and combatting such trends as littering, graffitti and other incensitive acts. Any study on eco-tourism or sustainable development will define different types of environment in travel destinations. The simple division is physical, social and cultural environment. Because we do not aim to produce a thesis here, we will combine social and cultural environment as one.
Physical environment: nature.
South Sinai has a unique and rich physical environment. From the beaches and an incredibly varied underwater world to the deep desert with its land animals, insects, reptiles, birds, flora and geology. Everything is linked, by cleaning up plastic bags in the desert, we are also preventing them from being taken down to the sea in a flash flood.
The importance of preserving the physical environment is obvious for numerous reasons. Most travelers enjoy visiting beautiful locations and prefer them to be rubbish and graffitti free, it would therefore promote more tourism when natural resources are preserved.
Our primary objective on any safari is to keep the desert and sea clean, and leave all our visited sites as clean or even cleaner than when we found them. We also urge all visitors of the desert to NOT scratch their names on any rocks or canyon walls as this only spoils a natural design much greater than anyone’s handwriting.
Social and cultural environment: the Bedouin
In South Sinai, the local inhabitants for the last 1300 years have been Bedouin. In the last 30 years, there have been an increasing number of Egyptians from other parts of the country and foreigners who have made South Sinai their home as well, but the initial and permanent people of Sinai are the Bedouin. They have no other home and very few, if any, have options for a life outside of their homeland. For this, it is crucial to keep a balanced social environment by enabling the local population to be integrated into the tourism industry, since it is by far the main source of income in South Sinai.
All our safaris are organised and guided by Bedouin. For many, the desert is all they have left after a lot of the seaside areas have been developed into resorts. Some shrewed business men have established themselves in the tourism industry and neglected the local inhabitants. Sinai safari is based on a fair pay system where every person involved is aware of what the other is receiving and everyone is happy and therefore works with pleasure and a positive feeling.
By employing Bedouin only, we also try and preserve some aspects of our traditional Bedouin lifestyle, which is living in the desert! The main mass tourism agencies employ drivers from other parts of Egypt. Personally, I have no idea why. Bedouin are by far the better guides and have infinitely more knowledge about every detail of the Sinai desert. If even work in the desert is no longer in their hands…then what can they do? Survival instinct suggests that they will search for other means of income, surely drifting them away from the roots and traditional way of life. Preserving this cultural environment is also part of ecology.
Our future projects include continued participation in the organisation of the Dahab Bedouin Festival to promote Bedouin culture and Bedouin in the tourism industry. We also organise charity work to help out those most in need of assistance by collecting warm clothes or donations with which we buy clothes that are distributed in the villages in the desert. We also hope to assist in reviving the tradition of farming and helping Bedouin live independantly from tourism as another alternative.
If you would like to explore the desert with us and promote Bedouin in the tourism industry, or would be kind enough to help us with our charity work, please contact us.