“Experiential tourism is an outgrowth of a global movement toward experiential learning, whereby people create meaning through direct experience” – Experiential Tourism – noto.ca
Perhaps its the cynic in me, but when Eleanor suggested that staying at their African Ivory Route Camps , Baleni and Fundudzi would change my life I couldn’t help but think “Yeah right” to myself, “what could possibly be life-changing about staying in a cultural camp in the middle of nowhere?”
I have been active in tourism for over 25 years and stayed at numerous community and cultural camps across they years. Most situated in obscure off the beaten track with not much to offer other than a place to overnight.
I couldn’t have been more wrong, off the beaten track yes, but both camps were well situated in community areas, well managed and although basic, they offered more than expected. ( In my opinion better than a number of main stream Lodge offerings). The staff knowledgeable, excellent hosts and eager to please. ( Even though we didn’t bring our own fire wood. *definitely worth noting).
From Baleni Camp, we met the remarkable women who harvest salt from the banks of the Klein Letaba River. A practice that has been taking place for over 2000 years.
From Fundudzi, we learnt about myths and legends, sacred forests and lakes, as well as witnessed the awe-inspiring Domba Dance ( Python Dance).
We just scratched the surface on what is on offer, and it blew me and my fellow travelers away.
The African Ivory Route Team works closely with each of the communities they operate in, providing the knowledge,and access to market that otherwise would not have been available. The pride oozing from the management and staff palpable.
I cannot wait to return to these Camps and explore the other destinations and camps on offer.
For more information on African Ivory Route click here
Was the experience life-changing? Most definitely.