From the humble bird feeder in our yard to the exhilaration of watching a herd of massive elephants from the back of our safari jeep, few feelings compare to those of having a close encounter with wildlife! There is growing evidence - Scottish doctors prescribing time in nature to their patients, the emerging disciplines of wilderness and animal therapy, and more - that landscapes and their biodiversity are good for our wellbeing. The growth of the safari tour, birding tours and nature-oriented travel back this idea up by their growth year by year, but how can we get the most out of the precious time we spend on our trip in these areas of natural splendor? Let’s dig into how we can learn about the natural environment, especially the wildlife, of the country you’ll be visiting on your trip.
When you think of travel, which words come to mind?
Adventure? Inspiration? Exploration?
Visiting another country always brings many new experiences, but at the same time, the experience can vary widely based on our approach to planning our trip. All countries that host travelers have attractions that have become famous, and usually for good reason: they are awesome! Natural or cultural, every country has features and monuments that the masses want to see. The response from the travel industry? Packaged tours that often cater to large groups and leave little decision making power of hands of the traveler.
When we add up all the different parts of the tourism industry (transportation, lodging, activities and many more), what comes together is one of the largest economic sectors in the world. International tourist arrivals - or, travelers arriving at a destination outside their home country for at least one night - have topped one billion, and this growth shows few signs of slowing down. Intercultural experiences are at an all-time high, but is that always a good thing? While the recent United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference “Tourism: a Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation” highlights tourism’s power for good, not all is well in the tourism world, as the emerging term “overtourism” describes.
Authentically connecting with the local people in the countries we visit is a central part of why many of us travel. At Global Basecamps, we emphasize the importance of “know before you go” in regard to the economic, environmental, and especially social, aspects of our destination countries. Learning about these topics greatly helps us better know how to build relationships with both the traditional and more modernized citizens.
Connecting with nature can be a big part of our international trip, and as the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon offers an unparalleled setting of adventure and biodiversity. Covering much of Brazil and extending into nine countries across South America, Amazonia draws visitors from all over the world seeking unique experiences of its cultures and ecosystems. New wildlife continues to be discovered, adding to the over 40,000 plant species, 427 mammals, close to 800 reptiles and amphibians, and many more.