Tour Guide Training Manual

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Africa has the greatest variety and some of the oldest rock art on earth. With a total of between 10 and 20 million images spread across 30 countries, Africa has by far more rock art than any other continent. The importance of rock art as a medium for studying early cultures and beliefs as well as early morality and the development of imagination cannot be overstated. The art features different techniques and styles and much of it is magnificent and comparable to the work of modern artists of the last 150 years. It is thus irreplaceable.

The rock art draws many international researchers and tourists who come to study and see this unique creative rock art heritage done by our ancestors. This contributes significantly to the economy of the country through the fees that the visitors pay at museums and other facilities across the country. Communities should therefore the lead. Stimulated by the sight of tourists and growing support from government offices, development agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), communities should develop the infrastructure and services required for tourism.

This tour guide training module aims at empowering the communities that have rock art sites by providing competent and professional tour guides who in essence are the main representatives of the community to the tourists. It has been developed by TARA – the Trust for African Rock Art which is a non-governmental organization that aims to conserve and preserve the rock art heritage.

TARA – The Trust for African Rock Art

Our Mission

To create greater global awareness of the importance and endangered state of African rocks art; survey sites; monitor status; be an information resource and archive; and promote and support rock art conservation measures. TARA is the world's only organization dedicated to this cultural heritage, and as such it has received support and recognition from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the National Geographic Society, among others. TARA's singular contributions have also been widely acclaimed in the scientific and popular media including National Geographic, Time, Natural History, People and the London Times.

TARA was founded in 1996 by photographer David Coulson with the support of archaeologist Mary Leakey. Since 1996, TARA has recorded rock art in over 16 African countries; created an archive of over 80 000 rock art photographs; produced a major illustrated book, “African Rock Art, Paintings and Engravings on Stone”, by David Coulson and Alec Campbell; worked with governments of Niger and Kenya to conserve their rock art; helped to prevent destruction of 10 000year old rock engravings by oil prospectors; hosted an international rock art conference in Nairobi (2004); staged East African rock art awareness exhibitions in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala and Zanzibar; made videos; conducted lecture tours and generally promoted the conservation of African rock art around the world.

TARA’s goals are to create a permanent visual archive of Africa’s rock art before it is too late; to share this priceless archive with the world community; and to preserve today’s most threatened rock art sites.

Session I
1.0 Tourism and rock art

Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people who "travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for more than twenty-four (24) hours and not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.

When we speak of community-based rock art tourism, the most popular image tends to be a rural village far from the beaten path, and for good rea¬son. Examples include Kakapel in western Kenya, Kondoa in central Tanzania...
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