Supporting Africa Series
Chiawa Safaris are a fantastic independent safari operator with camps located deep within the Lower Zambezi National Park; they have recently added to their portfolio with a superb property in the South Luangwa National Park, Puku Ridge, also in a fantastic location that is situated perfectly in an area with high game density but away from the ‘busy’ area. Their two original camps Chiawa and Old Mondoro have been personal and client favourites in the Lower Zambezi for the last decade of my work within the Africa tourism sector.
Any regular readers will already know my love of the South Luangwa so I will focus more on the work of Chiawa Safaris in the Lower Zambezi which is, in my view, one of the most rewarding safari destinations in Africa. There are so many activities that it’s impossible to get tired of being in this beautiful and scenic National Park. It works brilliantly for longer stays in a single location due to being able to enjoy Zambia’s famous walking safaris, driving safaris and trips by canoe and motor boat as well as an activity unique to the Zambezi, catch and release Tiger Fishing.
“Chiawa Safaris has, since its inception, always understood its responsibility towards wildlife as the natural heritage of mankind: to live in harmony with the natural environment we have to help in deepening the commitments towards sustainable development at all levels, from local to global. “
Chiawa and Old Mondoro were also the first Carbon Neutral camps in all of Africa, on this point Grant says “Carbon Neutrality through our association with BioCarbon Partners is also high on our priority, not only are our camps carbon neutral but in achieving this we are actually supporting the protection of those vital buffer zones around the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi NP’s.” This is no small feat and in this it is undersold, Chiawa Safaris are hoping to make Old Mondoro Africa’s first “climate positive” safari camp when it reopens to the world post Coronavirus.
Every year Chiawa Safaris reinvests large amounts of revenue and resources gained through its tourism operations back into conservation activities undertaken by partners such as Conservation Lower Zambezi.
Chiawa Safaris owner, Grant Cummings, who was a founder of Conservation Lower Zambezi and is still a big driving force behind an organisation that has developed from grass roots habitat and wildlife protection to one of the most successful and replicated in Africa. When speaking to him about the impact that a lack of tourism funding will have on conservation operations and the costs of these, he told me;
“We are trying to raise funds for Conservation Lower Zambezi to help maintain effective anti-poaching activities during this crisis, information follows below:
- 10-man Rapid Response Unit (reacts to specific intelligence leads and acts of poaching) – US$1,550/week
- 5-man K9 Unit – US$1,550/week
- 5-man 10-day anti-poaching proactive patrol (community scouts where CLZ pay salaries) – $780/week
- 5-man 10-day anti-poaching proactive patrol (Govt.National Park’s scouts) – $400 /week“
These expenses are usually covered by regular donations that come from various tourism organisations in the Lower Zambezi as well as personal contributions from individuals globally. Unfortunately during this crisis the tourism organisations are not in a position to continue the same level of payments and while many, such as Chiawa Safaris, are making payments where possible, it is important to remember that these companies are also trying to support their staff as much as possible through the COVID-19 pandemic.
To see ways in which you can support the raising of funds for conservation in the Lower Zambezi see links at the end of this blog.
The geographical situation of Chiawa and Old Mondoro is in itself important to conservation, as with many of my favourite properties in Africa they are located far inside the wilderness, away from roads and settlements. Simply the presence of these tourism outfits is a huge deterrent to opportunistic bush meat poaching which often employs snaring, an indiscriminate and exceptionally brutal practice, without game viewing vehicles traversing these areas and with decreased employment it is hard to see that instances of poaching will not increase without investment in patrols and a presence in these locations.
While we understand that this is a challenging time and many people are being impacted emotionally, financially and in other ways it is true that every little helps. It is important to come together in this time to support causes both locally within our own communities and also in the global community that is in vital need of our support at this time. To donate please visit the below.
A snippet from CLZ:
“If you were going to visit the Lower Zambezi and have postponed your trip, please consider donating the money that you were going to spend on insect repellent, sun cream, walking boots and other safari accessories to help us make sure that we and the wildlife in the Lower Zambezi will still be a thriving landscape for you to visit in the future.”