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The Multi-Environmental Society (MESO)

Tanzania Ecotours

Website:
www.meso-tz.org

Contact email:
mesotz@yahoo.com

Telephone:
+255 744 467472

Fax:
+255 272 505859

Address:
P.O. Box 229
Azimio Rd. Bondeni St.
Arusha, Tanzania


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The Multi Environmental Society is a non-profit organization working to improve the quality of individual and community life and that of the environment in which we live. MESO is characterized by programs reflecting a broad range of environmental dynamics, as well as the social, economic, and ecological implications they reveal. MESO was established in the mid-eighties as a loose association until its formal registration on January 24th, 1995. Our organization is authorized to operate in all areas of Tanzania however primary functions currently exist in three main areas:

(1) Arusha municipality: head office and main liaison office with administrative function, social/environmental clubs, capacity building and training programs, urban waste management, resource and publication center.

(2) Karatu: rural branch involved in community-based conservation, eco-tourism development, micro-finance, soil conservation & agro-forestry, land management & natural rehabilitation, resource & information center.

(3) Dar es –Salaam: sub-head office, liaison between government and international offices, early childhood education and youth development, research and publications.

Eco-Cultural Program

The Multi-Environmental Society arranges eco-cultural trips around Karatu and the Rift Valley regions of Tanzania. Our eco-tours serve as an alternative choice to traditional park safaris, however we are willing and capable to tailor our trips in order to incorporate popular game viewing attractions. The project’s main focus is to promote environmental and social responsibility, while providing the opportunity to visit to natural sites and learn about local culture and tradition. In addition to this, MESO offers the opportunity to participate in village homestays, allowing tourists to penetrate the lives of local individuals and observe numerous aspects of daily life in rural areas.

Eco-cultural tours offered through MESO are structured in such a way that environmental impact is minimized and the conservation of valuable resources is of primary concern. Furthermore we aim to re-establish natural areas and further provide our visitors with information to help preserve and protect these areas for generations to come. This process is facilitated through experienced guides who have acquired in-depth knowledge concerning the indigenous wildlife and landforms that exist in these areas. Surplus income generated through our programs is distributed among local residents to improve their economic power, or is re-invested into the organization to develop and maintain our programs.

Karatu is located on the plateau/highlands area of the Rift Valley with an altitude ranging from 1200m to 1900m above sea level. Geographically, the region has common boundaries with the Ngorongoro/Serengeti and Lake Manyara/Tarangire ecosystems. Serving as the gateway to some of the most renowned tourist attractions in Tanzania, Karatu is regarded as an ideal location to promote alternative forms of tourism in the area.

Prices

MESO sells its products and services in package form, meaning two or more complimentary services are combined into one-price with group rates available. MESO charges on average a fee of US$40 per tourist, per day. The price includes two meals, sightseeing and admission to the attraction, a guide, a guard and a village development fee. The price excludes transport and tourist accommodation, however it does include a village home stay if requested by the visitor.

It is recommended that tourists partake in the opportunity to experience a village homestay if it is able to be worked into the itinerary of their trip. Homestays provides tourists with the opportunity to penetrate the lives of local individuals and observe numerous aspects of daily life in rural areas. It allows tourists to learn about local customs, cooking, traditional medicine, forms of mixed cropping, agricultural methods, and other income generating activities.

EcoTourism Policies

Eco-tourism means travelling in a way that is both and culturally and ecologically sensitive. As leaders of eco-cultural tours, we believe that we are not only in a position to influence visitor behavior, but also to shape and enhance the type of experiences that are encountered. Policies adopted by MESO in order to ensure environmental and social responsibility are as follows:

(1) Employing experienced/trained guides who originate from the area and have an in-depth knowledge of indigenous wildlife and landforms that exist there.

(2) Encouraging community involvement by showcasing small businesses and other activities that can provide alternative sources of income.

(3) Participating in research and documentation that allows us to provide visitors with educational material pertaining to issues concerning environmental awareness, cultural sustainability, and poverty reduction.

(4) Providing opportunities for cross-cultural exchange that reach beyond simple observation and encourage complex interactions among visitors and hosts (ie) organizing home stays in local villages.

(5) Ensuring that profits are distributed among local residents to improve their economic status, or are re-invested into the organization to develop and maintain our programs thereby promoting community development.

(6) Supporting the local economy by using locally owned accommodation, restaurants, supply stores, etc.

(7) Minimizing group size so that the impact on wildlife, people and the environment will be reduced.

(8) Offering trips to areas that are not over-crowded or over-developed and avoiding the exhaustion of finite resources thereby ensuring their stability for generations to come.

(9) Ensuring that our activities do not drain local resources and infrastructure so that local people may potentially be deprived (water, electricity, waste disposal, etc.)

 

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