This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Zimbabwe & Zambia vacation
Of all the countries we operate in across southern Africa, it is in Zimbabwe where conservation needs are perhaps clearest and most focused. The economic crisis in which the country has been held in recent years has in some areas resulted in unprecedented pressure on wildlife and natural resources, a situation that has been worsened by periodic drought conditions. Accordingly our conservation initiatives in Zimbabwe have been tailored to address the most pressing threats to the survival of wildlife with fruitful partnerships and encouraging successes very evident.
On either side of Mana Pools National Park lie hunting areas in which a number of lion hunting permits are sold annually. We are providing extensive logistic support and data toward a Lion Research project aimed at determining the long-term effects of sport hunting on lion populations, with specific reference to the Mana Pools population.
The study is led by Norman Monks, Warden of Mana Pools National Park. Since hunting concessions surround the Park, there is concern that the killing of male lions - who wander where they like, in and out of the Park - is having an adverse affect on the general lion population dynamics in the region. Monks therefore collared certain lions and tracked them, seeking to build up a clearer picture of where lions go and what happens to them. Because one person can't be everywhere at once, the camps can help out in very practical ways here, contributing time and logistics. Staff members at Ruckomechi have been caught up in the saga of lion lives and have thrown themselves into the study with verve and enthusiasm. In their free time they have tracked the various collared individuals and have even taken part in actual collaring operations. What is becoming increasingly evident is that when males are killed in one place it causes ripple effects and upheaval in the larger area. If the results of the study can prove this, it will provide significant weight behind the drive to help end sport hunting of these magnificent beasts in the area.
With every booking, we donate funds to Helping Rhinos, our charity partner. Helping Rhinos have been set up to create awareness of the issues threatening the global rhino population and raises funds to help protect them for future generations.
This donation goes towards training for members of the local community to become rangers and ensure that there are more local people trained in the fight against poaching. This is important from a conservation perspective in order to preserve and protect one of our most important and prehistoric species, but also from an educational perspective as members of the local community are trained and offered jobs and a career - as well as educated about Rhino conservation.
As camps have expanded in the Kafue National Park, more opportunities have arisen to partner with the local people in caring for and learning about our environment. Employment opportunities have been the first step in this process; initially in construction as more than 150 casual labourers from remote surrounding villages helped to build the new camps, and then later in the open camps where upwards of 130 men and women are permanently employed in eco-tourism positions. With permanent employment has come training and skills development. Rural income is such that those employed in the 5-month construction period earned more than 8 times the annual average income for rural Zambians.
Zambia camps, including Busanga Bush Camp, have pioneered the use of innovative energy-saving systems, which are being used as a model to lower the environmental footprint across camps in all regions.
Crucially a presence has now been established in the remote areas of the Park year-round . Prior to our presence, poaching was known to occur especially in the wet season when the area is largely inaccessible and visitor activity is low. Kafue saw significant poaching in the 1980s and game numbers declined before beginning to recover in the 1990s with the growth of ecotourism in Zambia. Today in Kafue, Busanga Camp and its partners' employ eight game scouts seconded from the Zambian Wildlife Authority who are based at the camps and conduct anti-poaching patrols from these bases year round.
Additional measures taken in Kafue National Park have been the secondment of a tertiary student who, aside from learning skills useful in the ecotourism industry, has conducted grass surveys of the Busanga Plains and examined the role of fire in this unique ecosystem, so contributing to our understanding and thus management of it. Further fish surveys are planned with future students in an ongoing capacity building programme in order to determine the role of traditional fishing in the area. An aerial census conducted in September 2007 has provided baseline data of the ungulate population of the Busanga Plains that is useful in comparison to figures from the 1970s; these calculations will allow us to chart the ongoing revival of the area.