Responsible Tourism

At Photodestination we aim to encourage people to get "outhere" and experience the natural world around them. Whether it is through the viewfinder of a camera, the eyepieces of a pair of binoculars or simply through their own eyes. We encourage an ethos of;

"Take only pictures (or memories) and leave only Footprints"

There has been much information published on the internet that deals with responsible tourism and ethical behaviour when visiting, photographing and birding. Many of these topics have been widely debated and argued, but at the end of the day, you as an individual must be satisfied that you have "behaved appropriately". Below we offer some guidelines and extracts from various sources on the web dealing with resposnible tourism, ethics and code of conduct.

The source of each is credited below the information.

Cape Town Tourism Responsible Tourism Tips

10 tips towards being responsible in our communities

  1. Research the culture of the area you intend to visit before arriving at your destination.
  2. Talk to locals, employ local tour guides and stay in accommodation establishments that have invested in the local community.
  3. Learn some of the local language – a simple greeting and a “thank you” in the languages of our people will see you embraced as a guest and not just a visitor. 
  4. Respect the dignity and privacy of others – please ask permission before you take a photo.
  5. Rather than giving money to beggars and street children, make an effort to donate to a local charity that supports community projects. Ask Cape Town Tourism to recommend a reputable charity.
  6. Purchase souvenirs directly from community markets and crafters so that the money goes directly to local businesses.
  7. Experience local and regional cuisine, gaining an insight into the culture of the area. You will also be supporting the local economy.
  8. Practise safe and responsible sex.  Be vigilant about protecting children from exploitation and prostitution. 
  9. Question establishments where children of school-going age are working.
  10. Bargaining for goods may not be appropriate behaviour but if the price is negotiable, pay a price that is fair for the seller and maker.

10 tips towards being environmentally responsible

  1. Please use water as efficiently as possible. Drink tap water. South Africa’s tap water quality is ranked as third best overall in the world. Do not leave your towels in your hotel room to be washed if they have only been used once. Try to use biodegradable shampoos and soaps.
  2. Dispose of matches and cigarette butts in the bins provided to avoid starting fires in ecologically sensitive areas.
  3. Please use electricity as efficiently as possible. Switch off the lights, electric fan, air conditioner and television when you are not in your room.
  4. Do not approach or feed baboons. They are wild and potentially dangerous.
  5. Do not take natural keepsakes such as shells and indigenous flowers when spending time outdoors.
  6. When driving or hiking, stick to marked paths and roads.
  7. Make sure the seafood you want to buy and eat is not on the list of endangered species. Text (or SMS) the name of the fish to +27 (0)79 499 8795 and you will receive an answer within seconds.
  8. Dispose of rubbish carefully, recycle where possible and reuse your beverage bottles and shopping bags.
  9. Use of public transport when possible or take a walking tour.
  10. Holiday closer to home, offset your carbon footprint by planting a tree, or buying local produce – support some of the great local organic markets in Cape Town.


Natural History Photographers

We natural history photographers adhere to a certain Code of Ethics. These guidelines are designed to ensure no harm is done to wildlife or their natural habitats. This is accomplished by the points below and by inquiring into and abiding by the rules and regulations of the area (national park, wilderness area, etc.) you are visiting. Be aware that the ecosystem you visit may be fragile, so tread gently and practice “leave no trace” principles

Wildlife Code of Ethics

  1. First and foremost, view wildlife from a safe distance for both you and them. Respect their spatial needs. If the animal interrupts its behavior (resting, feeding, etc.), then you are too close and must distance yourself.
  2. Never force an action. Be patient! The most beautiful photographs result from natural action.
  3. Never come between a parent and its offspring. I’ve seen tiny bear cubs distressed, treed then separated from their mother by a throng of tourists eager for a closer look. This is unacceptable behavior.
  4. Never crowd, pursue, prevent escape, make deliberate noises to distract, startle or harass wildlife. This is stressful and wastes valuable energy in needless flight. The impact is cumulative. Consider that you may be the 65th person to yell “hey moose” at that animal that day while it’s attempting to tend to its young.
  5. Never feed or leave food (baiting) for wildlife. Habituation due to handouts can result in disease or even death of that animal and injury to you.
  6. Never encroach on nests or dens as certain species will abandon their young.
  7. Never interfere with animals engaged in breeding, nesting, or caring for young.
  8. Learn to recognize wildlife alarm signals and never forget that these animals are NOT tame no matter how docile or cuddly they appear. No one would argue that you should not try to pet a bull yet there have been numerous instances where a tourist attempted to have his/her photo taken next to a bison with disastrous consequences.
  9. Do not damage or remove any plant, life form or natural object. Do pack out trash.
  10. Acquaint yourself with and respect the behaviors and ecosystems of the wildlife you may encounter. By doing so, you will enrich your experience tremendously.
  11. Finally, and most significant, remember that the welfare of the subject and habitat are irrefutably more important than the photograph.

Source: Digicam  by Deb Tappan

More Sources  Nature Photographer Ethics & Code of Conduct