Challenges and Opportunities Facing Ecotourism in Sub-Saharan Africa from Climate Change Desertification


  • Thomas Mullikin University of South Carolina, USA



Sustainability, Ecotourism, Climate Change, Desertification


This study explores one aspect of the macro-atmospheric phenomenon of amplified climate change that is causing significant micro manifestation challenges in one of the most fragile ecosystems on earth, sub-Saharan Africa.  The micro manifestation of desertification impacts humans, flora, and fauna all of whom already struggle to survive in these areas. Desertification in turn effects ecotourism. Desertification is a type of land degradation in which biological productivity is reduced and where fertile areas become arid. Desertification causes the loss of vegetation and food for livestock and humans and a decrease in drinking water reserves. Our examination researches the extents of desertification in the area and the effect it is having on ecotourism.  We explore the strategies for proper ecotourism management and planning that are being utilized to offset these effects and explore how these strategies can and are being utilized to offset these effects and even supply numerous economic resources for government, private sector, and local groups to help improve living conditions and quality of life. Ecotourism in these unique ecosystems that are impacted by climatic changes provide a meaningful opportunity to enhance the lives of host communities and protect the environment.  During a recent visit to Namibia, I found residents who are utilizing innovative strategies such as solar energy, rainwater collection and other innovations to protect the ecosystem, wildlife and environment and allow them to continue to continue to host ecotourists and provide services. Resources for ecotourism in deserts are made of the mutual effect of topography, climate, water, wildlife, plant type and density. Previous studies have shown that if ecotourism is properly managed and planned, it has the potential for numerous economic resources for the local community.  We examine the extent of desertification in these semi-arid deserts, the planning and management of ecotourism activities, and the role that education of these ecosystems could provide for additional economic resources and ecological protection.  

Author Biography

Thomas Mullikin, University of South Carolina, USA

PhD, JD, Professor of Practice at the University of South Carolina, School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management and the School of Law. Additionally, he is a research professor at Coastal Carolina University (School of Coastal Environment) and visiting professor at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito - Galapagos campus.