Beyond the Gloss

Morning bush walk. Simon Bloomhill
Even the most principled turn to environmental squander over time as the wilderness is colonized by the ‘new ideal'. Luxury lodges are competing for the pages of glossy design magazines. It is no more about the wilderness experience. It is now about how the décor inspires. Once proudly proclaiming the ultimate wilderness journey, companies are slipping into the fast flowing stream of materialism. Individuals who arrogantly proclaimed their principles were melded with the dust of Africa are succumbing to the sensuous flirtations. With their stamp of approval at each stage of development the river of degeneration flows faster. The wilderness experience is becoming a sterilized shadow of what it should be!The Real Africa: Journal - glossy tourist brochures offer an experience of the 'Real Africa' where you can feel the pulse of the Africa of old throbbing through your veins. Bouncing around in a landrover and then retiring to your air-conditioned room is a strange way of feeling the pulse of Africa.It is true to say however that many visitors are coming to Africa now because of the changes. In the past they were wary of visiting darkest Africa but with the changes they feel more secure in visiting the game parks.The majority of people cannot afford to appreciate these areas now due to the high price tag we have placed on visiting these areas - the price tag under the guise of preserving the areas for future generations. The reality is unpleasant and is not discussed, but in truth this promise of preservation covers up materialism and greed.
The people concerned are feted for their endeavours, but there is a hollow sound to it all as the truth is not pleasant to discuss. Money now dictates the future of conservation and it is the people with the money that have the final say in conservation matters.Philosophers say that we need to rekindle our link to the earth. We have put a price on this experience and developed the conditions as to how to experience it. It is realm of the privileged few whose philosophies are tied to their means [ability] to be there.

Leigh Kemp
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