Weʼre raising £200,000 to support our wildlife protectors and the remote local communities in Zambia's Luangwa Valley - one of the wildest places in Africa!
- Luangwa Valley, Zambia
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Zambia's Luangwa Valley is one of the most game-rich wilderness areas in Africa, centered around one of Africa's longest undammed rivers - the Luangwa River. The Valley is home to the largest hippopotamus population in the world, and very healthy lion, wild dog, leopard, buffalo and elephant populations too. Aptly, the Luangwa Valley has a number of labels: "Valley of the Leopard", the "Wildest Place on Earth" and "Africa as it used to be", to mention a few. It is also the origin of walking safaris.
Photographic safaris are a non-consumptive form of wildlife tourism which support local communities in areas adjacent to national parks. With this year's impact of Covid-19 on tourism travel to Zambia, the majority of operators expect very little revenue in 2020. The direct consequence of this is that conservation and community NGO's in the Luangwa will not be receiving their regular operational income from tourism bed night contributions. Communities which are dependent on tourism for more than half the year for their livelihoods will also struggle, and many will be left with little option but to turn to bush meat poaching.
Because this poaching is indiscriminate, iconic species such as elephant, lion, leopard and wild dog are caught in these snares unintentionally. These animals would regularly be picked up by the conservation NGO's which are now limited in their operational capabilities, or observed and reported by tourism activity presence. This walk is supported by major custodians in the Luangwa - the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Conservation South Luangwa (CSL), Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP), the North Luangwa Conservation Programme (NLCP), the Tafika Fund (Remote Africa), Community and Conservation (The Bushcamp Company), Project Luangwa and the Chipembele Wildlife Conservation Trust.
The objective is to walk 350km (~220miles) over 17 days, starting at the end of July 2020. The walk will be from North Luangwa National Park down along the Luangwa River to the southernmost camp in South Luangwa National Park. South Luangwa National Park is the home of walking safaris, so it is rather fitting to do a walk, in support of the challenge that the Luangwa Valley is faced with. This walk will go through a black rhino sanctuary, the entire distance to be walked is home to lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, hippopotamus, wild dog, hyena, crocodiles and buffalo.
The goal is to raise £200 000 to support conservation and communities across the Luangwa Valley by funding additional anti-poaching patrols, concrete community grain stores and chilli blasters (which will aid in food security and reducing human-elephant conflict), eco-stoves which will reduce demands on local wood harvesting, the annual Football for Wildlife League which supports 250 female and male players across 9 communities, conservation education and substantial food ration packs and food subsidies for homes across communities throughout the Luangwa Valley.
The NGO's that have been chosen already do brilliant work but require support now, for the months ahead.
- CSL Founder, Rachel McRobb, was Tusk Trust Convervation Finalist in 2016.
- CSL Law Enforcement Advisor, Benson Kanyembo, received the Tusk Trust World Wildlife Ranger of the Year award for 2019.
- ZCP has seen major gains in carnivore populations throughout Zambia. Visit their website to read their 2019 annual report.
- NLCP have a fantastic track record in North Luangwa, having recorded zero poached black rhino since their re-introduction in 2003 and they recorded their lowest number of observed elephant carcasses in 2019.
- All three of these organizations work incredibly closely with Zambia's DNPW.
- Project Luangwa currently does magnificent community work in the core areas around Mfuwe, but rely on tourism for 70% of their budget.
What about the communities - my fiance's parents have run a tourism operation, Remote Africa Safaris , since 1995. As part of the business, Carol Coppinger has run a fund called the Tafika Fund which supports numerous community initiatives each year. Being a remote, family-run operation, our relationships with the communities surrounding our camps are ones which we value highly and would like to ensure that these communities are cared for over the next year and, through ensuring that tourism and conservation remain existing hand-in-hand, that they will have job and food security for future years.
Project Luangwa is a charitable organization formed by some of the Safari Operators of South Luangwa as a part of their commitment to responsible tourism. They depend on tourism bed night contributions for ~70% of their revenue to support communities in the area around Mfuwe – the hub of the Luangwa Valley. We are very privileged to be working with them on this walk to support such a successful project.
- Was founded by three established safari operators in South Luangwa: Flatdogs, Kafunta and Shenton Safaris.
- has built infrastructure for 14 schools, equating to educational support for upward of 4 500 pupils, providing higher standards of numeracy training for 1 200 pupils.
- supports thousands of young women with safe, clean and washable sanitary products and education through their menstrual hygiene programme.
- sponsor around 150 children through secondary education each year, and 25 students through tertiary
- support and empower hundreds of young men and women, and help to break down barriers of inequality through their 20 gender support clubs across four chiefdoms
- are providing hygiene facilities in schools, and we are beginning to support through face mask production during this pandemic.
Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust is a registered UK and Zambian charitable trust, established in 1998. Their comprehensive and inspiring conservation education programmes create a new meaning and value to wildlife and the environment for local children and young people. Their hope is that these programmes encourage the young people of the Mfuwe area to be active conservationists and empower them to make the changes that are necessary to sustain livelihoods, conserve wildlife and protect the natural environment long into the future.The Conservation Education Outreach Programme operates has expanded the range of Chipembele’s impact further into 18 local schools and the wider local community.
- A Gender awareness programme
- Pupil sponsorship scheme
- Schools improvement schemes
- Are closely linked with Conservation South Luangwa's environmental protection focus.
- Has close ties with many research organisations and teams.
The Bushcamp Company, based in Mfuwe, have also made a major commitment to the wildlife and people of South Luangwa. They work with local schools and run several impressive community projects:
- Meal-a-day programme provides over 2000 meals a day at schools in Mfuwe
- Committing to clean water (borehole drilling and water provision)
- Tree planting projects focus on the issue of deforestation in wilderness areas, and helps bring an awareness and appreciation for the environment
- Conservation: The Bushcamp Company company believe strongly in supporting conservation in South Luangwa and provided an aircraft for aerial anti-poaching and research activities.
- Luangwa Conservation and Community Fund: by spending a night at The Bushcamp Company, you are contributing to these wonderful causes.
It is my dream to walk the full length (770km) of the Luangwa River in time, and 2020 seems the perfect year to start walking and to hopefully raise some awareness for this incredible wilderness that is the Luangwa Valley. We have come together to extend the walk to include a host of operators in South Luangwa National Park (see the map and walk schedule for more details).
If you are interested in finding out any more, please check out the Instagram or facebook account for the walk (@walkluangwa2020) and tag us as well (#walkluangwa2020), Remote Africa (@remoteafrica), Project Luangwa (@projectluangwa), Bushcamp Company (@bushcampcompany), Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust (@chipembelewildlife), CSL (@cslzambia), ZCP (@zcp_org) or NLCP (@north_luangwa). Otherwise, feel free to contact me and I can send through a PDF with more information.
Safari Operators in the Luangwa supporting the walk currently include:
Remote Africa Safaris
Time + Tide (formerly Norman Carr Safaris)
The Bushcamp Company
Puku Ridge (Chiawa Safaris)
Robin Pope Safaris
Gavin Opie Safaris
Please feel free to share this advert as widely as possible! Even though a funding goal has been set, any amount received will go a long way to helping the people, the animals and the place - no amount will be too little or too much and every bit will find a way of helping.
The walk is to be documented by conservation storytellers Matthew Blair (Rusty Mokoro) and Mana Meadows , who do great work in covering conservation issues and have worked closely with a number of conservation groups in Zambia. Media coverage and updates will be presented as often as is possible, given the remote location of the walk. We are very pleased to formally announce the involvement of this brilliant media group who will make sure that every piece of the story is documented for all to share and enjoy.
Thank you very much for your helping us support the Luangwa Valley, the wildest place on earth!
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Aug 14, 2020
Amazing effort team! Loved the updates along the way... what a way to explore the Luangwa
Aug 14, 2020
I wish it were more. God bless you all for what you do.
Aug 14, 2020
Congratulations on finishing your fabulous walk for such a good cause. I hope the donations help the many in need in these difficult times. Enjoy a well deserved rest
Aug 14, 2020
Aug 14, 2020
Huge well done for taking on this initiative for this essential cause. This could be an epic RAS Safari to join in the future?!
Aug 13, 2020
Aug 11, 2020
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