African wildlife safaris: Bad for Africans?

That’s the question addressed in a new Slate piece by Brendan Borrell, a journalist who recently went on safari in South Africa’s popular Kruger National Park. The park itself, Borrell notes, was created and has flourished partially because South Africans, mostly black, have been evicted from their land and denied resources like water and firewood.

Although the official policy of denying blacks entrance to South Africa’s national parks ended with apartheid, Borrell finds that few blacks actually visit it due to rampant poverty, which has often been exacerbated, not alleviated, by Kruger, the country’s only profitable national park. Writes Borrell:

“The Kruger tourist dollars aren’t doing much to lift blacks out of poverty, either. More than 15 years after apartheid, the most profitable tour companies, lodges, and private game reserves surrounding the park are owned and operated by whites. Some displaced tribes are now getting a sliver of those profits, but the less fortunate farmers who live nearby must deal with rampaging elephants and roaming hyenas.”

Head on over to the full Slate article to learn more about this little-discussed side effect of wildlife safaris.