Walk Luangwa 2020
Nick and the first group embarked on the 17-day journey through the Luangwa Valley from the heart of North Luangwa, and continued for 365km (yes, a bit more than the planned 350km), ending at the Southernmost safari camp in South Luangwa.
Different people joined Nick for different lengths of the walk and a major part of the initiative was walking side-by-side and having conversations with key community, conservation and tourism stakeholders. These included His Royal Highness Chief Nabwalya, a number of Department of National Parks and Wildlife Police Officers, Robin Pope, our very own John Coppinger, Nick Aslin and Dani Rose from Zambian Ground Handlers, representatives from the North Luangwa Conservation Programme, Conservation South Luangwa, Zambia Carnivore Programme and the Chifunda community resource board. The local provincial minister, Honourable Makebi Zulu, also joined for the home stretch into Mfuwe, along with a host of Mfuwe residents.
It wasn’t all an easy stroll and the team built up lots of stamina during the trek with a few necessary breaks here and there.
Mana and Matt from Conservation Storytelling did the entire walk carrying camera kit, microphones and note books to record the story of the people in the Luangwa Valley. We will update you on when they release their outputs, which we look forward to sharing with everyone.
Alex and Amon, led the walk with Alex leading from Takwela to Tafika and Amon leading from Tafika to Sungani. It was a great experience for them and they enjoyed exploring different areas of the Luangwa.
During the trek the team had many incredible wildlife encounters – including seeing the big 5 on foot on the second morning in North Luangwa, being surrounded by 3 male lions while camping on their first night, and seeing good numbers of elephant, lion, buffalo and leopard consistently throughout the walk.
Though it was most enjoyable for those who were fortunate enough to participate, the walk raised funds (amounting to nearly $40 000) which will be distributed to various conservation and community organizations to make a difference on the ground in the challenging months which lie ahead.
Much of the Tafika Fund contribution from the walk will go towards sustainable cookers for our local community to reduce deforestation in the area.
Though the walk is done (before hitting the hot months), the cause remains and further support and donations would go a long way towards supporting the wildlife and people of the Luangwa Valley.
We know that many of you donated to the cause and for this we’d like to extend a very big heartfelt ZIKOMO KWAMBILI!
Funding recipients include 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 DIY in the bush continues (John will find any excuse to escape the office and use a fancy drill) and Takwela is taking shape nicely with Alex back at the helm in the North Luangwa.
The sitenje is big and breezy and now has a beautiful bar! Although the chalet design is similar to last year, we now have four chalets (instead of two) which are a combination of brick and grass with lovely verandahs looking out onto the Luangwa – Mwaleshi confluence.
The chalets are still very open and cool. The bucket showers have been replaced with running water and gas geysers for a hot shower throughout the day. We are looking forward to welcoming our first guests of 2020 in October!
Our grade 10s and 11s went back to school this month so it’s all go in Zambia again. Albeit with covid regulations in place schools and universities are moving from online studies back to the real deal. Thanks to so many of you who have donated to the Tafika Fund this year and ensured that these children can continue with their studies, we appreciate the support.
Game viewing temperatures on the rise
We’ve really enjoyed the company of a National Geographic film crew who have been at Tafika for much of September. Once the film is publicized we look forward to sharing the programme details so you can keep an eye out for it.
We’ve been supporting the Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) community game drive initiative and donating an additional vehicle so several people from different villages in our area, of all ages and walks of life, have been enjoying game drives and seeing many wild animals for the first time despite having lived their whole lives alongside the park.
Of course, it’s that magical time of year again when the banks of the Luangwa are buzzing with carmine colonies. We have a lovely colony just upstream of Tafika where we’ve built two perfectly placed hides where you can sit to listen, observe and photograph these breath taking birds.
Although we haven’t frequented the walking camp area much this year, during a walk on the west bank we ran into a pride of five lions. One lazy female didn’t want to move as we approached. It’s good to see that they are still pretty relaxed even with less movement in that area this year. Can you spot the lioness…?
…and what better way to end than with this spotty September special. The heat and a few flies had her twitching her impressive whiskers.
Welcome back to Zambia!
Watch our little welcome back to Zambia video. We’re certainly not professional presenters but it was a bit of fun to highlight the beauty of the Luangwa and many of it’s captivating creatures that are still here despite the pandemic.
As of the 21st of September, Zambia had 14 175 known covid-19 cases with 331 covid related deaths (Eco-Tourism Association of Zambia).
Airports remain open for business. All tourists are welcome and visas may be procured upon arrival or online (confirmed in Immigration press release from 23 Sep). Travellers must arrive with a negative Covid-19 test certificate conducted within 14 days of arrival and are required to fill out a health related form before landing. For more information please see https://www.zambiaimmigration.gov.zm/
Different airlines may have their own transit requirements so please check with your airline. Travellers are screened upon arrival and symptom-free travellers may continue without any quarantine requirements.
Kenyan, Rwanda and Ethiopian airlines are flying into Zambia as well as Emirates, which commenced flights into Zambia again at the beginning of September.