African safaris are an exhilarating experience, face to face with nature at its finest. Throw in a little hands-on conservation and community interaction, and you have a recipe for a truly rewarding travel experience.
Our newly introduced safari in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park offers guests the perfect mix of comfortable lodgings, wildlife in abundance and an opportunity to contribute to both the environment and local community.
Hwange National Park is known for it's large herds of Elephants. It is also known for being one of the largest national parks without any major lakes or rivers. As a result, wildlife congregates in huge numbers around the waterholes. During the dry season (May to November), the elephant population in particular relies on man-made water holes supplied by diesel operated pumps. These pumps need to be manned, maintained and fueled. The staff of the lodges selected for our safari have committed to maintaining these pumps throughout the dry season, by hiring attendants from the local community, supplying fuel, filters and lubricating oil. Safari guests are invited to join the staff on "pump-runs" where supplies are delivered to the pumping stations, meet the locals who maintain the pumps and witness the fruit of their labors in the wildlife who depend on the water.
In addition to hiring pump attendants from the local community, the staff take on a number of further commitments to the local community. The lodges are part of Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE initiative. CAMPFIRE is an acronym for Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources. This natural resource management project looks at local community involvement in tourism and wildlife conservation. The project is designed to ensure that local communities are best placed to manage natural resources and should reap the benefits when doing so in a positive way. This ensures that local community involvement in tourism and wildlife conservation is mutually beneficial.
In addition to CAMPFIRE, our lodges have contributed over $1.5 million in projects that span clean drinking water, health care and education. By combining funds donated by visiting guests with concession fees, the lodges have managed to build classrooms, provide furniture, electricity and water, improve the school's accommodation and salary for teachers and raise the academic performance. Visiting guests have an opportunity to see the success of ongoing efforts and interact with the children in unscripted visits, while school is in session.
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