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Dinder Shall not Die

KHARTOUM (SUDANOW)—Professor Bernhard Grzimek produced in 1959 his famous documentary film titled (Serengeti shall not die) which won him the Oscar Award. But first of all he succeeded in presenting a global definition of a reserve park and its fabulous resources. Since then he has made people protect it and has succeeded in attracting millions of tourists to the park, making tourism as a basic factor for its protection and development. The question is: Can tourism succeed in revival of the Sudan’s Dinder National Park which was not inferior to Serengeti in the past?

 

The total area of the Dinder National Park is 10,291 square kilometers with 10 villages of local populations, other than those living around the Park who all practice farming and breeding of livestock and who are not allowed to attack the wild animals or hunt them.

The Park, until the 1980s, was characterized by a wide diversity of thousands of wild animal species, including elephants, rhinoceros, leopards, tigers, lions, hyenas, giraffes, ostrich plus different kinds of deer and other big mammals.

The water basins administration of the Eastern Nile organized a scientific journey for those who run the Sudan’s natural parks, including the wildlife rangers and people who live in and around the parks, to Tanzania which is regarded Africa’s and the world’s richest country in wildlife and which possesses a wide experience in management of its wildlife.

The trip was aimed at enhancing the skills of the participants in running the reserves, having an insight into the Tanzanian policies and experience in management of the parks and the surrounding communities and identifying contributions by the localities to the economic and social development and to the environment protection and participation by the community in the tourist and economic activities.

 

The water basins administration project which organized the journey, according to its Sudan’s general coordinator Ibrahim Balilah, is one of the components of the water basins project of the eastern Nile which comprises the Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt, as part of the Nile Basin Initiative, and is implemented by the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources under the World Bank supervision.

The project aims at upgrading application of the experiences of sustainable management of the lands and water of the river basins in the Nile Basin member states. It was planned that the project, which began in 2010, would last for five years, ending in 2014, was extended until 2015. It is run in the Blue Nile, Upper Atbara River Rahad River regions.

Major-General Abdul Hafiz Osman al-Jack, Director of the Wildlife Administration, indicated that one successful method in the Tanzanian experience in management of the reserves, was its reliance on the wildlife tourism and proper promotion thereof. The Tanzanians have developed an integrated and efficient tourist sector, starting with the infrastructure, hotels, commodities and services provided by the local people for the tourists to attract them.

Participation by the local inhabitants in providing services and administration of tourism made them appreciate and take care of it as a source for their income and welfare. Al-Jack points out that about 7% of the proceeds of tourism go to the local communities which therefore contribute to its development and promotion.

The wildlife official said the Sudan can do likewise and was not ignorant of this in the past but what it needs is more money and the private sector can contribute to this. The state can carry out some leading projects for investment in the wildlife tourism in order to attract the private sector to the field, he said.

 

In fact,tourism in the Sudan in general and in particular the natural reserves, being at far distance from urban areas, suffers from a number of crises and problems, minimizing its impact on development and its contribution to the rates of growth and national income, in spite of the available, diverse tourist attractions.

According to the latest Bank of Sudan report for 2014, tourists in all parts of Sudan to all tourist attractions numbered 683,618 who spent 855 million US dollars.

Al-Jack said there are many sanctuaries and other attractions beside the wildlife and virgins regions in the Red Sea and Radoam in Darfour and antiquities which can all offer rich tourist attractions. In order to avoid the high temperatures, tourist activities can be activated during winter, he said, adding that internal tourism can be encouraged, particularly during the school vacations.

The Dinder National Park Director, Maj. Gen. Jamal al-Dinn Adam al-Basha, said tourism supports the local populations, provides them with jobs and thus offer them sources of income, lessening their reliance on animals and other natural resources. This makes them reserve those animals because they provide them with good money, he said.

Well-trained and qualified personnel must be provided for running activities of tourism so as to make it competitive in the global tourism industry, al-Basha said.

He added that the tourist companies in Tanzania play an important role for reserving the wildlife and other natural resources in the parks. Al-Basha said he had noticed that the driver prevents the tourist from climbing down so as not to disturb the wild animals and also prevents him from throwing garbage in the park and if the tourist did this, the driver would get down to collect the thrown garbage. Thus, the companies have become effective in preserving the wildlife parks, despite the large number of tourists.

 

The Assistant Director of the Projects and Investment Administration of the Ministry of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife, Maymounah Ahmed Mohamed al-shafe’i, said: The basic element which characterizes the Tanzanian experiment with regard to the wildlife parks is ensuring participation by the local communities in protection and development of the parks. She noticed a high concern by the state with development of the tourist industry, especially with the Safari tourism. The government concern is reflected in development of such infrastructures as roads and bridges and such ultra-structures as numerous hotels, rest-houses and multiple companies for tourist services, the Assistant Director said.

She suggested that, in order to have a tourism industry that is conducive to a sustainable development, tourism awareness must be raised among the populations around the parks and those populations must be encouraged to participate in running those wildlife parks, like employing them as guides, guards and literary and cultural activists.

The Assistant Director noted that the Sudanese local communities possess high technical skills and what they need is the provision of markets to display those skills. If the states participated in providing those markets, the local inhabitants can be trained in tourism activity which can be run by the private sector, she said.

The official went on to say that local components and materials can be used for creation of tourist products to be presented in a proper way; even the solar energy can be utilized for the purpose as the case in Tanzania. She remarked that the Sudanese private sector possesses the money which enables them to utilize the local resources in a way that is profitable and beneficial to the public.

Blue Nile Native administration Omdah Abdul Aziz al-Amin Idriss said the private sector is more qualified than the government for upgrading and reviving tourism. This sector has succeeded very much in running tourism in Tanzania, Idriss said, adding that the hotels in Arusha, a small town in Tanzania, are greater in number than the hotels in all parts of the Sudan. He said several investors in the private sector discussed with him a proposal for establishing tourist projects in the Dinder National Park as soon as security prevails there.

 

He said the local inhabitants can effectively participate in the tourist activity as they possess traditional skills that reflect their cultures. “Three-quarters of what we have seen in Tanzania is available in Sudan and those commodities can flourish in the presence of tourist outlets and markets that offer remunerative prices,” Idriss said.

The General Coordinator for Water Basin Projects in the Sudan, Engineer Ibrahim Bilaila, describes the frequent visits to Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara National Parks as “amazing and intensive”.

He said the chains of touristic cars which zigzag those reserves, were almost endless and uncountable. He added if Sudan could only create a flourishing touristic market for its national parks and secure similar services, then it would be able to preserve these sanctuaries against destruction and loss.

Reference : Sudanow Magazine

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