ECO TRAVEL GUIDELINES
THE FOUR ECOTOURISM COMMANDMENTS
1. Wherever you go, do not litter. Please keep your rubbish with
you until it may be disposed of properly. If you bring it into the area, take
it out when you leave.
2. Water is a precious resource. Please use water sparingly wherever possible,
using simple actions such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth.
3. Electricity is expensive and in short supply. Please switch off the lights
if you are not using them or if you leave the area.
4. Never touch, chase or harass the wildlife or marine life.
You can help protect the natural resources when you travel.
a. You can help support the Marine Park Rangers, build school
classrooms, fund local community medical clinics and sponsor children through
school. (More information can be provided upon request). However, simply obeying
the rules and regulations within each protected area and respecting local traditions
and cultures makes the greatest contribution to local community and conservation
b. Local cultures vary tremendously throughout East Africa. With
over 60 different tribes, each with their own traditions, beliefs, language and
culture, it is impossible to learn all the cultural taboos during a short vacation.
However, there are a few general "Dos and Don'ts" that will ensure you do not
offend local custom throughout the region.
i. Nudity or semi-nudity is not permitted. It is especially offensive to the Muslim
Community on the Coast. Visitors are expected to wear a bikini or swimsuit when
swimming; topless sunbathing is illegal. Shorts, t-shirts, trousers, skirts and
dresses are suitable for all other activities. Africa tends to be casual, and
western dress is perfectly acceptable.
ii. Do not take photographs without permission. Photography of airports or any
government buildings is illegal. Save your film for the wildlife and cultural
villages where photos are encouraged!
iii. The elderly are very respected in East African culture and when introduced
to a local family, addressing the eldest member first generates an excellent rapport!
c. The flora and fauna within East Africa is often fragile and
endangered. You are requested not to collect any form of flora or fauna when on
your safari, whether inside a National Park or not. In particular, do not purchase
any form of handicraft or souvenir that requires the death of an animal, such
as shells, starfish, ivory, animal hides, bird eggs etc. Within the National Parks
and Reserves, there is a published "Wildlife Code". Obeying these rules and regulations
helps to ensure everyone's enjoyment and safety, while protecting the area for
d. Animals on the CITES protection list are numerous in East Africa.
Trade in products made from these animals is illegal and will result in prosecution.
Purchasing these products also encourages the illegal trade and leads directly
to poaching. Ivory, rhino horn and animal hides are all prohibited items. If these
items are offered to you at any time, please report the matter to the authorities
Many local handicrafts are hand carved from indigenous trees.
Please ensure that you purchase carvings made from woods such as mango, neam and
jacaranda. Avoid the hard woods such as ebony and bamba kofi as these trees take
centuries to grow and are now endangered through extensive forest cutting.
e. When purchasing your souvenirs and handicrafts, choose the
work of local craftsmen and artisans. Woven baskets, beadwork, jewelry, woodwork
and cotton cloth are some of the more common handicrafts. Most tribes have traditional
designs, shapes and sizes providing a wide variety from which to choose.
f. East Africa is known as the Cradle of Mankind. There are a
number of extremely important pre-historic archeological sites in both Tanzania
and Kenya, including Olduvai Gorge and Koobi Fora. These sites are still being
excavated and the National Museum staff are generally very happy to show guests
the sites. Please ensure that you follow the paths and guidelines and do not venture
into the excavation sites without permission.
It is very easy to step on and destroy the artifacts! Along the
Coast, there are numerous ruins, such as Gede Ruins near Watamu, which are excellent
examples of the old Swahili trading culture. These areas are managed by the National
Museums and are open to the public. Lamu in Kenya and Zanzibar in Tanzania are
also sites of great interest for any East African history buffs!
g. KiSwahili is the language spoken by most people in East Africa.
Originally developed on the Coast from a mixture of the African Bantu languages
and Arabic, this ancient trading language has become the common language for all
the tribes in the area. Learning a few words of Swahili allows better communication
and helps build a rapport with the people you meet on safari.
Jambo - Hello
Habarigani - How are you?
Habarizenu - How are all of you?
Nzuri sana - Fine
Kwaheri - Goodbye
Sawa Sawa - OK
Asante - Thank you
Asante sana - Thank you very much
Tafadhali - Please
Ndiyo - Yes
Hapana - No
Pesa - Money
Duka - Shop
Moja - One
Chakula - Food
Maji - Water
Pombe - Beer
Kahawa - Coffee
Chai - Tea
Nyama - Meat
Samaki - Fish
Mkate - Bread
Sukari - Sugar
Chumvi - Salt
Moto - Hot
Baridi - Cold
Haraka - Fast
Pole Pole - Slowly
Sasa - Now
Matatu - Bus
Wapi? - Where?
Nini? - What?
Nani? - Who?
Kwanini? - Why?
Kidogo - Small
Nkubwa - Large
Jina langu ni... - My name is ...
Jina lako nani? - What's your name?
Wapi choo? - Where is the toilet?
Ngoja kidogo - Wait a bit.
Hapa napenda - I like it here.
Hoteli iko wapi? - Where is the hotel?
Njia hii inaenda wapi? - Where does this road go?
Tafadhali nisaidie kusukuma gari - Please help me push this car.
Pesa ngapi? - How much money?
East Africa is proud of its heritage. Thousands of visitors enjoy the unspoilt
beauty of the land, scenery and wildlife living. East Africa's parks and reserves
were created to preserve and showcase the often delicate and endangered eco-systems.
Please follow the rules and regulations below to ensure everyone's
enjoyment and the continued safety of this natural heritage.
1.Please do not disturb any animal. Making noises, flashing lights
or making sudden movement to frighten animals is regarded as disturbing it. Animals,
if continually harassed, will avoid human contact or could become aggressive.
Never chase animals and keep noise to a minimum. Too much noise disturbs the wildlife
and can antagonize other visitors.
2. Where there is an existing road system, do not under any circumstances drive
your car off the road. Vehicles leaving the road can damage the habitat; oil and
fume pollution and plant disruption can seriously affect the eco-system by altering
drainage patterns, soil erosion and pollution.
3. Do not discard any foodstuffs or litter; it is dangerous for the animals, disrupting
traditional feeding patterns, creating fire hazards and potentially maiming or
killing wildlife. Do not light a fire and never discard a burning object. Bush
and forest fires cause enormous damage to vegetation and the wildlife itself.
4. Please do not stop your car in a position or behave in any way likely to inconvenience
or annoy a fellow visitor. Consideration must be given at all times to the wildlife
and other enthusiasts keen to enjoy the same experience.
5. In the interest of the wildlife and of other visitors there is a limit of 20mph
inside the National Parks for all vehicles. Drive carefully at all times. Speeding
results in accidents to wildlife, as well as degradation of the road surface.
6. For your own safety please stay in your vehicle at all times, except where
a signboard indicates that leaving the car is permissible. Many of the parks and
reserves have designated picnic sites and nature trails.
7. The animals are wild and can be dangerous. Do not stand up in your vehicle
unless you have adequate protection and supervision from a professional driver
8. Visitors should only enter or leave the park at an authorized park entrance
9. Please do not collect any form of fauna or flora from any parks or reserves.
10. No person may remain in the parks or reserves between 7p.m. and 7a.m. unless
accommodation is provided. Visitors must remain inside their accommodation overnight;
night game driving is generally not allowed inside the parks and reserves.
11. Please do not damage vegetation or any fencepost, gate or signpost in the
park. Plant damage can be irreparable, resulting in loss of feeding and breeding
12. Do not travel on a road that has been closed to the public as indicated either
by notice or barrier. There may be unusual obstacles or dangers in the area.
13. Do not attempt to enter any area of the park, which has been closed. A barrier,
a notice, or even a line of stones across the road will indicate closure.
14. Pets, i.e. dogs and cats, are prohibited inside all parks and reserves; they
attract predators and may carry diseases or pests, which can prove fatal to certain
15. Local conditions may vary. The Kenya Wildlife Service wardens and rangers
are there to assist and advise you; please comply with any order or direction
given by the warden or any other officer in the park.
AT THE COAST
1. Do not damage or remove coral. It is a living organism host to many rare and
endangered species, which takes many years to form.
2. Do not remove shells, starfish or any other sea-flora and fauna. Removal seriously
disrupts the eco-system and is illegal. The areas outside the parks and reefs
are threatened by excessive shell collection. Empty shells provide homes for hermit
crabs and some fishes.
3. Do not buy shells and other marine animal products as souvenirs as this encourages
further plundering of the reefs and beaches.
4. Do not discard litter into the water; it is environmentally unfriendly and
illegal. Marine turtles can confuse clear plastic waste with jellyfish and will
die if they eat it.
5. Hand feeding of fish is discouraged. Certain species are dangerous and it disrupts
traditional feeding patterns.
6. Hook and line fishing is allowed in the marine reserves, never in marine parks.
Spear guns are not permitted.
1. Please respect culture and tradition. Insensitive behavior, such as taking
photographs of people without their consent or failure to observe local customs,
can cause offense.
2. Please note that being nude or semi-nude in public is unacceptable in Kenya,
especially in villages or towns. Nudity is culturally offensive to the Muslim
Community prevalent in the coastal region.
Copyright Melinda Rees of Eco-resorts