Conservation & Community
Zimbabwe has gone through some tough times in recent years but since the introduction of the US dollar and the stabilisation of the economy, Tourism is beginning to flourish again.
The most important effect this has is the impact on the Zimbabwe people, they are directly benefiting from the increase in tourists visiting the country – providing jobs and revenue in the shops.
We at Travel Wild Zimbabwe work closely with lodges and safari operators that have community programmes. We know that the money paid for our safaris goes directly to the operator and therefore benefits these communities. Below are some examples of our safari operators and their community programmes which they actively support. It is simple, if the operator does well, the community benefits. Support the Zimbabwe people by booking safaris to this diverse and fascinating country.
In Victoria Falls we support the ‘Pay it Forward’ scheme which is operated by Wild Horizons and offers support to the ‘Rose of Charity’ orphanage, the old age home, the local clinics etc.
Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust – all projects that are covered by this trust include Wildlife Research, Wildlife Orphanage, Wildlife Rescue Program, Wildlife Laboratory, Conservation Training, Community Outreach, Disease Sampling Program and they also have an internship program.
Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU) – The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of our local wildlife and natural resources and is very close to our hearts.
We encourage our clients to take the VFAPU Wildlife Awareness Tour which starts off with a presentation by a member of the VFAPU. You are given a full history of the unit and learn about many fascinating aspects involved in the unit’s operations, the challenges faced and the huge successes that VFAPU has achieved to date. Because you are paying for the experience it allows the team to visit areas that are not often patrolled.
Gorges Lodge & Zambezi Sands River Camp – Both support the local community and schools close to them. If you stay at one of their camps – you can do a visit to both a local village and community school to see some of the work that they do.
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
Concerned conservationists and stake holders of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park region have created a collaborative group that has come together and formed The Conservation & Wildlife Fund [CWF). The objective of CWF being to work together with the wildlife Authorities of Zimbabwe to raise awareness, adequately resource local authorities and promote the sustainable use & management of the precious wildlife resource.
By staying at any of the following participating Camps in Hwange you will be supporting the CWF: The Hide, African Bush Camps, the Amalinda Collection and Elephant’s Eye.
The Hide Safari Camp, Somalisa Camp, Ivory Safari Lodge, Khulu Ivory, Bomani Tented Lodge & Camelthorn Lodge all support the local community close to them and schools – with, which they work closely with.
African Bush Camps Foundation (Somalisa Camp, Somalisa Acacia, Somalisa Expeditions,)
This company is very involved in the community and supports several schools in the Hwange area, as well as the Vukani Project – which is a group of people who get together with the local community to start income generating projects for the unemployed. They have a jewellery making project – which they do with recycling magazines – this jewellery is on sale in camp.
They are also involved in The Thandanani Sewing Project; a group of 10 women that formed as a group in Dete. With only 3 sewing machines between them and no funds to buy material to get started and due to economic hardship all of the group were struggling to earn a decent living. African Bush Camps Foundation assisted with funds and they made their first sales with a year.
Due to the water shortage in Hwange, African Bush Camps Foundation is behind the Hwange H20 and raise funds to put up solar panels and drill boreholes to supply water in the Park.
Wilderness Safaris (Linkwasha Camp, Little Makalolo, Davison’s Camp)
Wilderness Safaris is closely involved with Children in the Wilderness which is a non-profit organisation supported by Wilderness Safaris – who facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa, including on the importance of conservation and its relevance in their lives.
They also have the Wilderness Wildlife Trust which is an independent non-profit entity which is associated with the group and supports a variety of projects across Africa. The trust focuses in 3 key areas, Research & Conservation, Community Empowerment and Education and Anti-poaching & Management. The goal of the Trust is to make a difference to Africa, her wildlife and her people.
We encourage a visit to the Painted Dog Conservancy whilst in the area. This projects vision is to protect this beautiful endangered species and increase their range and numbers. This project supports Anti-Poaching Units, a Rehabilitation Facility – for injured dogs and a visitors hall – which teaches visitors about the plight of African Wild Dogs.
The Project has also established Conservation Clubs in the local schools, as well as being involved in several community outreach/development programmes such as the Inganyana Arts Centre which creates some beautiful projects from old snares, a community garden as well as several hospitals and clinics.
If you stay at Inganyana Tented Camp, they donate a percentage of your nights stay to the project, as well as Vintage Camp.
MATOBO NATIONAL PARK
Amalinda Collection (Camp Amalinda)
The Amalinda Collection is the founder of the Mother Africa project. It was founded as a way to build a better future in Zimbabwe – with the vision to create a way for people to ‘give back’ to both the environment and people of Zimbabwe.
They aim is to source and channel resources for community and wildlife development and conservation linked to sustainable tourism. To support impoverished children, orphans, disabled individuals, rural schools, clinics and worthy conservation initiatives. They believe that for the project to have a positive impact, the project must run long-term.
Big Cave Camp
Big Cave Camp is involved in the Giving Back Community Project – where the majority of the children are orphans so attending school has it’s challenges. With this project you can assist in sponsoring a child.
GONAREZHOU NATIONAL PARK
Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is part of the CAMPFIRE project which supports local communities in Zimbabwe. The CAMPFIRE Association works with local communities to help them to manage their land and their wildlife for future generations and to help them realise financial benefits from effective resource stewardship. This camp also works closely with the Lowveld Wild dog Project.
The Save Valley Conservancy is a non-profit organisation, dedicated to protecting the region’s ecology for future generations. At the Save Valley Conservancy special emphasis is placed on preserving rare wildlife and their habitats in an effort guarantee survival and they are committed to sustaining local conservation.
It is one of the last few places in Zimbabwe, that one has a chance of seeing all of the Big 5 in their natural environment. The Conservancy is also home to the Lowveld Wild Dog Project , the Sango Leopard Project as well the Turgwe Hippo Trust commonly known as Hippo Haven. The Save Valley Conservancy also works very closely with the SAVE Foundation
Founders of the Mokore Anti-poaching, Conservation & Community Project, by staying at their camp funds go towards assisting with anti-poaching on the ground as well as when they can towards a local school that they support.
Sango Lodge/Tented Camp
Sango Ranch, home of Sango Lodge & Sango Tented Camp – is the founder of the Save Sango Rhino Fund. A project was started to assist in the protection and hopefully growing of numbers of both the Black and White Rhino. You also have the chance if you would like to – to ‘adopt/sponsor’ a new born Rhino.
MANA POOLS NATIONAL PARK
Wilderness Safaris (Ruckomechi & Little Ruckomechi)
Wilderness Safaris is closely involved with Children in the Wilderness which is a non-profit organisation supported by Wilderness Safaris – who facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa, including on the importance of conservation and its relevance in their lives. Therefore, Children in the Wilderness programme is an environmental and life skills educations programme for children.
They also have the Wilderness Wildlife Trust which is an independent non-profit entity which is associated with the group and supports a variety of projects across Africa. The projects and researchers that it supports address the needs of existing wildlife populations, and seek solutions to save endangered species as well as providing education and training for local people and communities.
The trust focuses in 3 key areas, Research & Conservation, Community Empowerment and Education and Anti-poaching & Management. The goal of the Trust is to make a difference to Africa, her wildlife and her people.
Vundu Camp & Little Vundu
Vundu Camp tries to assist the community by employing people from the area. They also support Hurungwe Children’s Home in Karoi with donations for the children toys etc. Their main efforts have been focused on the Parks rangers themselves, in assisting where they can with the endemic of poaching they have been facing in the Park.
They have started what they call the Bushlife Anti-Poaching Support Unit in which they assist with ranger deployments, ranger meals, vehicles as well as assisting with gathering the investigations team.
Many of these ops are done in connection with the Black Mambas and MAPP (Matusadona Ant-Poaching Patrol) with whom they work closely. By staying at their camp, you can find out more about their efforts against poaching, and if you would like to – you can donate to this amazing cause.
Nick – the owner of Vundu Camp, also works closely with the Wild Dog in the area.
MATUSADONA NATIONAL PARK
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa
The majority of Bumi Hills employees are recruited from the local communities living around the lodge, providing much needed income to the community as a whole. The lodge is also involved in various initiatives with the local BaTonga community providing assistance in education, healthcare and other areas mainly through funds raised by guests visiting the community on the Cultural Village experiences and external donations.
Bumi Hills also has The Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit (BHAPU) which is a privately funded and operated conservation task force that was established in 2009. Working in conjunction with the respective local authorities the unit operates on both land and water in the area surrounding the lodge to safe guard wildlife, aquatic species and the ecosystem against the destructive forces of poaching.
If you would like to go out with the team, as one of your activities at the lodge – to see what they do each day you can do this.
Rhino Safari Camp
Rhino Safari Camp works very closely with the Tashinga Initiative which is a non-profit organisation operating in the area assisting National Parks in the securing of funding and facilitation of donor funded projects including water at their field stations, upgrading radio links and various other projects.
As far as they can they also offer support to MAPP (Matusadona Ant-Poaching Patrol).
Musango Safari Camp
Musango Safari Camp was started in 1992 with a lease from the local council and was one of the first CAMPFIRE projects in Zimbabwe – and as a result are very involved with the community through CAMPFIRE project. They have continued their association with the community over the years and have started taking guests to the local villages as activity.
They assist the community with a variety of initiatives and projects – for example building of a community centre, a church and school, boreholes and water points.
They also have a ‘Pack for Purpose’ request this season for old ‘spectacles/glasses’ to assist the elder member of the community who are needing them to repair fishing nets etc.
Musangano Lodge is involved in their own community out-reach project Nuturing Communities. Shaping Lives. This programme offers genuine and meaningful insights into the lives of Zimbabweans today. The Lodge facilitates day and half day trips to the neighbouring communities, where visitors can experience life at a rural homestead, a commercial farm, a mission school and hospital or observe the work of local NGOs. This is a rare opportunity for inspiration experiences in authentic surroundings off the beaten track.