Ecotourism in Egypt
A Growing Trend
Ecotourism, or green travel, has become quite common these days with the increasing awareness of humanitys effect on the planet. With the understanding that every action we take affects, usually negatively, the world, ecotourism is aimed at attempting to reduce these negative effects as much as possible.
Nowadays, nearly every action we take has a negative effect on our environment. From taking a flight for vacation, driving to work, even heating up your lunch in the microwave it all produces a carbon emission, though certainly some are higher than others. While there are steps to be taken in your everyday life to limit carbon emissions since it would be impossible to cut out completely, most people dont want to have their vacations affect their destinations negatively. This is where ecotourism comes into play. Responsible travel, as ecotourism is also known, is all about visiting new places with as little negative effect, and maybe even adding some positive effect, as possible.
In Egypt, theres a big market developing for this kind of travel. There are different ecosystems in Egypt that benefit from tourism, but could potentially be inadvertently harmed by tourists who come to see those special places. Thats why locals and tour operators have taken more of an initiative in protecting some of the fragile environments so interesting to tourists. Eco-lodges, for example, have begun popping up along the Red Sea coast and in the desert oases.
Perhaps the most famous eco-lodge is Basata, located on the Red Sea coast between Taba and Nuweiba. This eco-lodge was built with natural materials and all waste is used at the camp as either fertilizer or building material. But Basatas not the only eco-lodge around. There are quite a few along the Red Sea, with Marsa Alam also being a choice destination with eco-lodges.
In the desert oases of Siwa and Bahariya, there are also eco-lodges that are quite beautiful and have high ratings and great reviews. The wonderful thing about these eco-lodges is that not only are they environmentally friendly, but they really benefit the local population. Local Bedouins are employed at these lodges, and some even sell items produced by the villages women as souvenirs.
Besides staying in eco-lodges, responsible travelers can also opt to go snorkeling or diving with an environmentally friendly dive club. In Sharm El Sheikh especially there are dive clubs that are environmentally friendly. These clubs take special care not to cause the reefs any harm while diving and give tips to divers on how to help with the preservation of the reefs and the natural wonders they are coming into contact with.
But Egypt is more than desert oases and beach resorts and snorkeling. Egypt is also history, and what better way to experience this history than by cruising the Nile. Of course, large cruises are plentiful, but not very environmentally friendly. If youd like to cruise the responsible way, you can absolutely take a felucca from Aswan to Kom Ombo before changing off to a bus to complete the rest of the trip. Feluccas are as environmentally friendly as sailing the Nile gets. Feluccas are sailboats found on the Nile River that operate without any motors, and are a really calm and relaxed alternative to large cruises, and even the small motor boats. Most feluccas are quite basic, though there are one or two more luxurious options that offer electronic adaptors powered by solar power.
If youre coming to Egypt as someone who is concerned with having a positive effect, or at least minimizing your negative effect on the environment, Egypt is a great place to visit. With the increasing options for eco-friendly accommodation, transportation, and activities, it just keeps getting better!
Last Updated: 10th of October, 2011