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March 12, 2008


Kenya Holidays

"In Kenya, a company called Victoria Safaris offers not just the usual short tours of deprived areas, but multi-day trips visiting a number of Nairobi slums and shanty towns".

I last visited Kenya and Nairobi in November last year (2007) and, driving around the outskirts of Nairobi was shocked and saddened by the slums and shanty towns we passed through. But why any so called "tourists" would be wanting to visit and stare at other peoples' poverty and circumstances shocks me. Firstly that a tourism company should even think of the idea and secondly that there are supposed "tourists" willing to book such a tour. Crazy!

South African Adventure Tours

What is happening here in South Africa is that in many of the townships there are now guest houses where tourists can stay overnight. This helps them to get a picture of life in the townships, rather than just booking into a city hotel. However, from what I have read, this is more about getting a feel for the township vibe. It is not about gawking at other people's misery.

Holy Land tours

I don't think there's anything bad about slum traveling but the risks of crime and health, anyhow, going on a trip only for slum cities is not the most clever thing there is - try to go on a country which as that and other options...

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Like on a number of other such tours around the world, opportunities to buy locally handcrafted goods are seen as ways to encourage locals to make a living from making and selling goods.

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Do they limit the excursions to small groups, interacting respectfully with residents, maybe even using slum-dwellers as guides? Or do they travel in buses, snapping photos from the windows as if on safari?

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Victoria Safaris' manager Asudi, from the same Luo tribe which constitutes the majority of Kibera residents, insists the tour he offers of Kibera and other slums in Nairobi and Kisumu in west Kenya, are beneficial to locals.

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They raise awareness, and he hands his tourists back a percentage of their payment to donate to a cause they have seen on their walkabout, he says, such as a health or school project.

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Others see it as generating valuable insight into how others live, and encouraging a spirit of entrepreneurship among the residents of the township and favelas.

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