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SAF RI EDITION 37

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EXCLUSIVE LION KING PREMIERE WAS A ROARING SUCCESS Earlier this year, Disney’s ‘The Lion King’, was remade for modern audiences using incredible CGI. And what an impact it has made, becoming one of the highest grossing movies of all time, at $1.5bn so far. Kamageo hosted our very own exclusive premiere in the Odeon Leicester Square (where else?) and invited more than 100 tour operators, travel writers and dignitaries from African embassies and high commissions from across the capital. It goes without saying that the event was a roaring success (sorry), with the prosecco fizzing, the popcorn popping and the cuddly lions cuddled. Amongst many lovely comments, our favourite had to be from Mary-Ann at Close Encounters, “What a great idea to invite us such a wonderful film. Who else would this be other than Kamageo?”

S E N E G A L NOTRE NOUVELLE DESTINATION

From October onwards, you will start to hear more from us regarding Senegal - yet another exciting West Africa destination in our portfolio. Whilst it may geographical surround The Gambia, its French influences ensure it offers a distinctly different experience to its neighbour. With this in mind, the option to combine the two is all too apparent. Do contact us for more information, including fam trips, of course. 2


WELC O ME TO YOU R S AFAR I MAGA ZI NE 37

m A L AWI FO R WE L L N ES S pAg E 2 0

This is the 37th edition of our exclusive magazine, bigger and (hopefully) better than ever before. Do give us your feedback on what you like about it, or changes you think we should make.

c e l eb rat in g 40 yea r s in ta n za n ia

At Kamageo, we’ve not only expanded our portfolio of destinations, we have also increased the pagination, print run and distribution of ‘Safari’. Using paper harnessed from sustainable Scandinavian forests, the publication is also fully eco-friendly.

pAg E 2 0

ZAMBEZI white water raf ting festival pAg E 5 4

Since our last edition, we’ve begun to work with two more West African countries, to add to Sierra Leone in the form of The Gambia and Senegal. We’re confidently predicting that tourism to this ‘last unexplored’ region is set to rise sharply in the next couple of years. Our ‘headline-grabbing’ addition this year was Mauritius Tourism (MTPA and we hope that you will be looking to increasing your business to this fabulous island, which is officially in Africa (so we haven’t sold our souls, just yet!)

ZAM BIA’ S ‘BEST OF TH E WEST ’ pAg E 3 1 Safari is the industry’s only dedicated travel trade magazine from:

With WTM on the near horizon, we look forward to meeting with you there. There’s certainly plenty to discuss! Do you wanted adding in to the growing list of subscribers who have ‘Safari’ delivered to their doors? If so, simply email dessie@kamageo.com and hey presto, you’ll be added.

To contact us call +44 (0)1664 823 750

OFFER the gambia and You'll smile too. Kamageo is now helping promote The Gambia into the UK, targetting both the trade and consumer. Whilst most people know the Western African country for its relaxing beaches and fabulous winter sun (one of the UK’s favourite ‘fly-andflop’ destinations), it also offers outstanding birding experiences, aided by the wealth of expert guides. Away from the coastline, The Gambia offers even more in terms of colourful villages and culture, as well as some interesting wildlife areas and historical sites. So there is plenty to offer those needing a shorter or less expensive Africa-fix. We’re currently finalising trade fam trips to The Gambia for 2020 offering beach and/or ‘beyond the beach’ itineraries. If you’d be interested in joining in, do let charlotte@kamageo.com know.

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MCFLY’S DOUGIE TAKES FLIGHT IN ZAMBIA

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McFl y me mbe r, f o r me r T V ‘ King of the Jungle’, aut ho r a nd know n phil a nthro pis t, Do ug ie Poynter, re ce nt l y v i s i te d Z a mb ia o n his f ir s t- e v er safar i wi t h hos t s W il de r ne s s S a f a r is in no r ther n Kafue Nat i ona l Pa rk . T h e 1 0 - d a y t r i p s t a r t e d i n t h e B u s a n ga Plains , a n d i n c l ud e d t h e u s u a l s a fa r i g a m e d r i ve s as we ll a s a un i que h o t a i r b a l l o o n e x p e r i e n c e . Do ugie ga i n ed f i rst h a n d e x p e r i e n c e o f r e s e arc he rs in a c t i o n o n t h e p l a i n s a n d a l s o co n s e r va t io n w o rk. A s wel l a s t r a c k i n g t h e l a r g e r m a m m a l s , Do ugie en j o ye d ge t t i n g t o k n o w t h e l i t t l e g u y s that p lay a n i mpo rt a nt r o l e i n t h e e c o s y s t e m . ‘I ’m re ally i n t o i n sec t s a n d r e p t i l e s , e s p e ci a l l y t h o se o uts ide of t h e U K. I g o t s o m e g r e a t s h o t s w i t h my Mac ro l en s’ . Wi l d e r n e s s S a fa r i s ’ a c k n o wl edge the i mpo rt a n c e o f a l l cr e a t u r e s fo r a b a l anc e d and h ea l t h y ec os y s t e m a n d l o ve d h a v i n g Do ugie ’s en t h usi a sm fo r t h e l e s s o b v i o u s p l a ye rs in the bush . D o u gi e wa s a cc o m p a n i e d b y g i r l fr i e nd Maddy on t h ei r Z a m b i a n a d ve n t u r e , w h o a ls o to o k i n t h e i c on i c Vi ct o r i a F a l l s a s we l l a s a Rhino wa l k i n Mo s i -o a -Tu n ya Na t i o n a l Park. The c o u p l e f i n i s h e d o ff t h e t r i p w i t h s o m e c ultural exp eri en c es a n d r e l a x a t i o n a t t h e b eautifully qu a i n t I sl a n d s o f S i a n k a b a , l o c a t e d o n the ou t ski rt s o f L i v i n g s t o n e . 5


MY MISSION IS TO SHOW YOU THE REAL ETHIOPIA For many years, Mulugeta Muluneh happily ran an export business between his native Ethiopia and international markets including Europe and the USA. But increasing frustration with the false perceptions of the country would lead him to create arguably Ethiopia’s premier destination management company, Dinknesh.

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Mulugeta repeatedly heard how his customers believed that Ethiopia was little more than a barren wasteland with famine and drought, populated by starving children, with pencil-thin limbs, tear-stained cheeks and swollen bellies.

TODAY’S OPERATIONS Dinknesh has unrivalled in-house expertise and this has helped establish an outstanding reputation within the tourism industry, serving over 2,000 clients a year, with a total of 45 staff members, all dedicated to providing an efficient service.

Mulugeta felt he had a mission to ensure his homeland’s image was irrevocably changed, to one of breath-taking scenery, outstanding historical sites, unique wildlife and fascinating culture. So, what better way than to provide people with the opportunity to experience the country for themselves? So in 2002, he launched Dinknesh Ethiopia Tours, at a time when very few tourism visited the country

Dinknesh has recently moved into new purpose-built HQ in Addis. These spacious and scenic offices even include a relaxing and stylish client suite, where guests can be briefed whilst sampling legendary Ethiopian coffee. Other recent introductions include an excellent mobile camping option in the Omo Valley and the very latest V8 land cruiser, with all mod-cons.

Fast forward to today and Dinknesh has grown to become one of the biggest and most influential players in Ethiopia’s burgeoning tourism industry. As they did from day one, they organise group and private trips to all areas of Ethiopia.

Dinknesh recommends that UK operators visit Ethiopia on one of their heavily subsidised fam-trips to experience the wonders of Ethiopia for themselves. “We challenge anyone not to be enthralled by our country’s tourism offering, whilst also seeing us in action, to build confidence in Dinknesh”..

The key selling point for Dinknesh is its efficient, high quality service. “We believe we have the best organised operational system for an efficient service, with prompt responses. We focus on customer satisfaction and safety at all times, and I can confidently state that our guides are some of the best in the industry”. (Mulugeta Muluneh)

For more information on Dinknesh Ethiopia Tours or to find out more about potential future Fam Trips to Ethiopia, please contact paul@kamageo.com

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DRAMATIC LANDSCAPES OF

ETHIOPIA From the high peaks of the Simien Mountains to the harsh salt flats of the Danakil. Ethiopia is truly a land of breathtaking scenic variety and rich biodiversity.

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G R E AT R I F T VALLEY Africa’s Great Rift Valley landscape comprises numerous hot springs and beautiful lakes. The valley has a chain of seven lakes, each with its own unique features. For animal lovers, the Rift Valley is a paradise as the place is filled with wildlife. In addition, the warmth and humidity present a welcome break from the harsh highlands and the hot springs are highly recognised for their therapeutic purposes, with guests coming from all over the country to bathe in them.

DA N A K I L D EP RES S I ON In the north of Ethiopia, hours from any populated area, is a vast expanse of brutal landscape unlike anywhere else in the world. One of the most surreal and harsh places, the Danakil includes Africa’s lowest point, as well as one of its hottest; temperatures soar to over 45°C in summer. Visiting Danakil is a true expedition, guests can trek up an active volcano, camp on the crater rim and explore the landscapes of Dallol, with its rainbow coloured mineral deposits. It is an impressive area of geological fascination, with active volcanoes, hot springs, lava lakes and salted basins.

Around 30km downstream guests will find the Blue Nile Falls. Considered to be one of Ethiopia’s best-known tourist attractions, the Falls are estimated to be 45m high and are a real sight to witness.

L AK E TAN A & B L U E NI L E FA L L S Why not arrange for your guests to visit Ethiopia with help from Dinknesh Ethiopia Tours, one of Ethiopia’s premier tour operators. Providing exceptional itineraries to groups and individuals, Dinknesh assures attention to detail, experienced guides and excellent service standards, as they have decades of experience organising authentic itineraries. 

Bahir Dar is one of the biggest cities in Ethiopia, home to historic monasteries, exotic fish markets, beautiful lakes and, of course, is the gateway to Lake Tana and the famous Blue Nile Falls.  Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia. The islands of Lake Tana collectively house more than 20 churches, with each church holding an immense collection of historical and cultural treasures adorned with beautiful paintings. The islands are of great interest to wildlife enthusiasts due to them being inhabited by a variety of bird and fish species.

For more information on Dinknesh Ethiopia Tours or to find out more about potential future Fam Trips to Ethiopia, please contact paul@kamageo.com

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Taking a gander at Uganda “Uganda is such a great wildlife destination. What makes it particularly special is the diversity of wildlife experiences: everything from trekking with some of the world’s rarest great apes, world-class safaris, river trips, walking tours, exceptional birdwatching and seeing some very rare animals. The landscape comes a close second with beautiful green hills, crater lakes, the river Nile and the magnificent Murchison Falls. Without exception, the people are very friendly, welcoming and hospitable.”

Our latest group of tour operators embarked on an adventure across Uganda experiencing both the wellknown areas of the country plus the less trodden path. Activities included a chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale, Shoebill spotting in Semliki, tending to Ankole long horned cattle in Mbarara, and Kidepo National Park which was a surprising highlight and the favourite of many. Here is some of their feedback:

© Jonathan from Reef and Rainforest

© Fiona from Lusso Travel

Louise from A zure C ollection

Jo nat han , R eef a nd R a i nfor est Kidepo National Park – “I think what a lot of people weren’t expecting was how beautiful the park is: a wide grass valley, dotted with trees and framed by rugged hills. Great sunsets and dramatic skies. It has the potential to offer the same great safaris and wildlife encounters as the rest of East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania etc) but without the crowds. It feels like a real hidden gem and I felt very privileged to see a park that not many people get to see. Animal densities aren’t perhaps as great as some of its East Africa competitors, but we still had some great encounters including cheetah, lion, lots of buffalo and a pangolin. It’s certainly destined to be one of the great parks of Africa.”

“Semliki was a highlight because of the Shoebill. We were very lucky to see two together.” “Kyambura Gorge was really great! Even if we hadn’t seen the Chimps I wouldn’t have minded just walking through the Gorge. It is worth it just having that experience. The guide pointed out lots of small details – fungus, tracks on the ground. It was very cool to walk down to the gorge and we were very lucky to see the chimps. The guide was very good!” 10


Kidepo National Park - “The highlight and what a way to end the trip!! Stunning landscape and wildlife. I would always want to recommend this park as it is such a shame to go all the way to Uganda and not visit Kidepo.”

C l ai r e f ro m St u b b or n Mu l e T r av el “Seeing the gorillas was a life time ambition and something that I will never forget. I also enjoyed the walk in the local community as I learnt such a lot about the local people. “ “We went on a chimp habituation trek the next day which was amazing and physically very demanding. We found the group and followed them off and on for about six hours. They moved fast through the forest and the females and young didn’t come down to the ground but the males did. It was an incredible experience, especially when one of them stood up, stretched his arms out and did a mock charge. The guide was really great.”

“Uganda itself exceeded expectations, extremely varied and great trip for any slightly more adventurous traveller and excellent for birders. “

Fion a from Luss o Travel “I had high expectations of Uganda, but what I found there was even better than I was expecting. The scenery particularly and diversity of wildlife, the beautiful lodges, and the happy, kind people. I expected the highlight to be the gorillas, but I was surprised to find that my favourite part was Kidepo at the end of the trip- even though the gorillas were amazing.”

“I really enjoyed the boat trip on Lake Albert and seeing three shoebills was a real treat”

C hlo e f ro m T he U lt i mat e T r av el C ompan y

Murchison Falls National Park –“The game drives were also very good with lots of great sightings including the savannah monkeys, many elephant, giraffe and kob as well as a warthog eating a kob - he must have been hungry!”

“Kidepo National Park was my personal highlight – it must be the most beautiful National Park in Africa. We had great game sightings. In my opinion to go to Uganda and not include Kidepo is a huge shame…”

“Bwindi was even more beautiful than I imagined- the scenery is just incredible and the people were absolutely lovely.”

Murchison Falls National Park – “The boat trip to the falls was good – but definitely worth jumping off the boat and then walking the falls path – that really made the excursion and seems a bit of a waste to not do this.”

© Claire from Stubborn Mule

Fam Trip 2020 We will be releasing our 2020 fam trip schedule. For details, contact nadia@kamageo.com for further details. © Fiona from Lusso Travel

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FLY THE CRANE TO THE PEARL OF AFRICA Initially, Uganda Airlines will be flying regional routes within the East African Community. Routes include Nairobi and Mombasa (Kenya), Kigali (Rwanda), Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Kigoma (Tanzania), Zanzibar, Harare (Zimbabwe), and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).

The arrival of this brand new Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft into Entebbe International Airport marks the official comeback for Uganda Airlines - the country’s national carrier. With a planned fleet of six aircraft (Four CRj 900s and two A330-800), Uganda Airlines is expected to significantly boost tourism to the destination. Uganda Tourism Board’s (UTB) new CEO, Lilly Ajarova, expressed optimism at the benefits that this will bring to Uganda’s tourism industry.

“We are extremely pleased to see Uganda Airlines revived after 17 years. At UTB, we are ready and excited to work with them to ensure that both local and international travellers have a great customer experience aboard these aircrafts”. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni was the first passenger to disembark from Uganda Airlines maiden flight.

Commercial flights are expected to start in July 2019, with more planes set to be added to the fleet later this year.

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PROTECTING THE

Valley of the Apes THE KYAMBURA GORGE ECOTOURISM PROJECT

The beautiful Kyambura Gorge, also known as ‘Valley of the Apes’, is located in the far eastern corner of Queen Elizabeth National Park in South Western Uganda.  Roughly 1km across and about 100 metres deep, the gorge is drained by the River Kyambura.  It is home to a rich wildlife biodiversity that includes primates (such as chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys and black and white colobus monkeys) and over 100 species of birds, but until recently, these were under threat. Since 2009, the Kyambura Gorge Ecotourism Project has been safeguarding the eco-system.  Today, Volcanoes Safaris, a leading luxury lodge company in Uganda, and its nonprofit organisation, Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust are the single largest stakeholders, after the Uganda Wildlife Authority, in the project. Officially launched recently by Volcanoes Safaris, the Kyambura Gorge Ecotourism Project has over the last ten years, strategically assembled four adjoining sites next to the gorge to ensure it is protected for the long term.  Without the intervention of VS and VSPT, the future survival of the gorge and the chimps would have been extremely vulnerable. This pioneering work is the first of its kind in the area and through protection of the land around the gorge, aims to link conservation and community projects and will safeguard the fragile ecosystem for future generations.

For more information on Volcanoes Safaris or their projects, please contact nadia@kamageo.com. © All images rights owned by Black Bean Productions

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SAFEGUARDING THE WORLD’S TALLEST MAMMAL Uganda Tourism, in conjunction with UK based conservation charity Explorers against Extinction (EAE), is pleased to announce that it will be supporting the work of Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) in Uganda through its 2019 initiatives.

four giraffe species found in Africa. At present, fewer than 200 Nubian Giraffe occur in western Ethiopia, 450 in eastern South Sudan, 800 in Kenya, and more than 1,550 in Uganda. The Nubian giraffe can be easily identified, having no markings on its lower legs.

These funds will aid the translocation of critically endangered Nubian giraffe from Murchison Falls to picturesque Pian Upe in the north-east of Uganda. Working closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, GCF plans to move around 15 Nubian giraffes to Pian Upe, to establish a viable, freeranging population. Pian Upe is the second largest protected conservation area in Uganda, after Murchison Falls. Giraffe were wiped out in the 1990s, but the ambition is to restore the reserve.

Moving giraffe is a complicated and costly process involving large teams of rangers, veterinarians, drivers and researchers and takes many months to plan and execute.  It costs in the region of $6,700 US to move a single giraffe. In the past, GCF and UWA have successfully translocated giraffe to Murchison Falls, Kidepo and Lake Mburo in Uganda. As a result, significant increases have been seen in the population as well as boosting eco-tourism. EAE Trustee, Sara White, says: “Giraffe are unique, much loved and I cannot imagine an African landscape without them. GCF is the only NGO in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffe. We are proud to partner with them on this project. We aim to cover the cost of moving a pair of Nubian giraffe to Pian Upe while also raising significant awareness about the threats facing this iconic species”.

Based on the rate of decline, estimated at 95% in the last three decades, Nubian giraffe were, for the first time, added to the IUCN Red List and listed as Critically Endangered. Nubian giraffes are genetically identical to Rothschild’s Giraffe and are a subspecies of the Northern Giraffe, one of 14


EAE’s efforts will be supported by Tourism Uganda UK through a series of events and exhibitions this autumn. This includes the charity’s hugely popular annual touring wildlife art exhibition, Sketch for Survival which runs September to November at various venues across the UK. The exhibition features the work of award-winning, professional and celebrity artists, all united by a desire to make a stand against extinction. A photography exhibition, Focus for Survival, is a new addition to the tour and includes the images of professional conservation photographers including Will Burrard Lucas, Andy Rouse, Peter Chadwick and Robin Moore who has donated a striking image featuring seven Nubian giraffe.

For more information please contact Trustee, Sara White at sara@explorersagainstextinction.co.uk. 0780 143 9693 | www.explorersagainstextinction.co.uk © All images rights owned by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation from their Murchison Falls Project.

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150 years of freedom from slavery: a unique tour Florence worked with the Patiko peoples to create a peaceful and productive settlement. In the spirit of the Bakers, this tour will also support the communities visited.

The Victorian Explorer, Sir Samuel Baker, travelled to Uganda with his wife Florence, to explore the Nile sources, naming both Lake Albert and the Murchison Falls. Later, he suppressed the slave trade along the Nile, overcoming the slavers and setting up Baker’s Fort in Northern Uganda.

David Baker MBE FRGS has unique access to documents about the expeditions of Sir Samuel and Lady Florence. David is an accomplished lecturer on topics including Victorian Nile Exploration, Putting down the Slave Trade along the Nile; Florence Baker; and Gordon of Khartoum.

In January 2020, you can join his great, great, grandson - David Baker - on a unique tour to capture the history, to experience the magnificence of Uganda, and understand the challenges his ancestors faced in finding such dramatic places. ​ he tour visits key points on the recently established Sir T Samuel and Lady Florence Baker Historical Trail, mapped out by African explorer and anthropologist Julian Monroe Fisher and David Baker. There will be exciting safari experiences, a boat trip up to the dramatic Murchison Falls and a visit to the famed Gorillas. So, if you are interested in African explorers, anti-slavery, geography, history, the military and have an understandable fascination with the African landscape of Uganda, its abundant wildlife and its welcoming people, then this tour is especially for you! Sir Samuel White Baker (8 June 1821 – 30 December 1893) was an English explorer, naturalist, big game hunter, engineer, writer and abolitionist. He served as the Governor-General of the Equatorial Nile Basin (today’s South Sudan and northern Uganda) between April 1869 and August 1873, where his main task was to suppress the abominable slave trade along the Nile. The tour will visit Baker’s Fort where Samuel and

This unique tour runs from 25th January - 5th February 2020 and spaces are strictly limited.

For enquiries please visit www.bakertouruganda.com or email David via bakertour@mail.com 16


TAKE PART IN PREDATOR TRACKING PLAY YOUR PART IN CONSERVATION AT QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK BY JOINING UGANDA’S CARNIVORE PROGRAMME hard to find solutions for both the wildlife and the people of this area.

Beginning in the early morning through to the late afternoon you can take part in a Lion Tracking Research Experience in QENP. During this experience you will be with a researcher, off-roading and learning the habits of the lion prides in the park.

Are you ready for your very own Attenborough experience where you can meet Lioness: Anna’s pride, one of the famous prides in the park that currently comprises of 8 lionesses and 3 cubs?  They can frequently be seen along the Kasenyi game drive route, a famous kob breeding ground, and sometimes come dangerously close to the village of Hamukungu. UCP is continuously monitoring Anna’s pride’s movements and alerts villagers to their presence.

QENP is the only national park in Uganda where you can experience the monitoring, tracking and researching of lions first hand. Be assured that this is not just an activity created for visitors; it is scientific research that gives the researchers a better understanding of the habits of the lions. This crucial work aims to reduce and eventually mitigate human wildlife conflict and inevitably help increase the lion numbers within the park.

The situation with predators in Uganda exemplifies many of the issues facing predators in other parts of the continent. Growing human populations in enclave villages within the national parks, and many others just outside park boundaries, impacts on the wildlife population, resulting in human and wildlife conflict and sustainable development challenges.

To safeguard the predators this experience is limited to just a few visitors and you must book ahead of time in order to take part of the cost. A lion tracking permit is 50 USD (plus Park Entrance fee) and spaces are limited as you are with researchers and not on a game drive.

UCP is urging communities to get involved in its efforts to save these carnivores in Uganda by raising awareness of their importance. The programme’s day-to-day activities include monitoring of predators, radio collars, and travel to local villages for community conservation education and conflict resolution.

QENP is home to some of the most popular and charismatic mega fauna in the world. Lions, leopards, and hyenas are facing a number of uphill battles as the human population continues to grow in Africa. Their populations have declined significantly over the years, and a 2013 survey issued on the Lion Alert website gave a rough estimate of only 421 of these felines in Uganda.

It is also raising funds through educating tourists about its work with the once in a lifetime, behind the scenes experience where tourists can track these majestic predators with the projects’ researchers.

The Uganda Carnivore Programme (UCP) is dedicated to the monitoring, research, and conservation of predators in Uganda. Its current focus is primarily in the northern sector of Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, where it is working

For more information, please visit www.uganda-carnivores. org or email contact@uganda-carnivores.org 17


SPRINGING INTO ACTION IN THE COMMUNITY This retreat in the local community offers local women a place to stay, something to eat and a wage, so they are making a living while learning new skills and making it possible for their children to gain an education. The headquarters for this project is based close to Mahogany Springs and guests are able to visit if they wish. Mahogany Springs contracts Ride4aWoman to do lots of work for the property from curtains, mosquito nets, clothing, cushions, lamp shades and much more.

MAHOGANY SPRINGS GIVES BACK: AN ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY The Bwindi based lodge is committed to giving back to the community and following sustainable tourism practices, therefore the lodge supports a number of projects that make a real difference.

For more information about Mahogany Springs please contact Charlotte via charlotte@kamageo.com

FRESH PRODUCE & ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS At Mahogany Springs everyday fresh fruit and vegetables are picked from the lodge gardens and are ready to serve to guests. The Manager and Head Chef, Mahadev Subedi is originally from Nepal and joined the lodge when it first opened in April 2011. Subedi has been cooking in high end safari lodges for over 20 years and his culinary expertise knows no bounds. Subedi has the highest levels of experience in catering to all dietary requirements and food specialities from all parts of the world. Environmentally conscious, the lodge firmly believes in the importance of giving back to the country and the environment. Mahogany Springs not only grows its own produce, it also offers guests the opportunity to offset some of the carbon they have used on their trip by planting a tree or shrub within the grounds.

EMPOWERING THE WOMEN OF BWINDI, UGANDA Mahogany Springs also supports the local community project in Bwindi, ’Ride4aWoman’, a project set up to support women struggling with poverty, HIV and domestic violence. More than 300 women from 11 villages now use or work at the Ride4aWoman community centre, where they can learn to pedal sew, weave baskets, dance, sing and drum.

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What is the world’s most trafficked mammal? The sad answer is the pangolin.  Of the eight species, four are found only in Africa -the Black-Bellied Pangolin,  White Bellied Pangolin, Giant Ground Pangolin and Temmincks Ground Pangolin. All are protected under national and international laws, and two are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the last 10 years alone, over a million pangolins have been taken from the wild to feed demand in China and Vietnam. Here their meat is considered a delicacy, whilst their scales are used in traditional medicines to treat a range of ailments including asthma, rheumatism and arthritis. Yet despite their threatened status, there is hope for pangolins. CITES recently voted to end international commercial trade in all pangolins by listing all eight species in Appendix I of the Convention. Chester Zoo’s Africa Field Programme is currently researching in Uganda’s Ziwa Sanctuary, in collaboration with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Rhino Fund Uganda. This aims to highlight the plight of the Pangolin and help understand more about the behaviour of the species. A series of remote cameras have been set up to monitor pangolins in Ziwa and they have captured images including a baby pangolin riding on its mother’s back and an adult climbing a tree.  Being located in the Ziwa Sanctuary, the animals live alongside the protected rhinos and are protected from poaching.

UWA’s Sam Mwandha stated

“ These rare glimpses into the lives of pangolins are very exciting for those of us dedicated to protecting Uganda’s rich wildlife. It challenges us to ensure that we protect and conserve this highly threatened species for future generations. ” © Image by Tim Henshall

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Island Paradises of

Lake Malawi

budgets and interests. Options range from luxury lodges and yacht charters to rustic camps, and include the opportunity to stay on deserted tropical islands, each with their own piece of paradise and plenty of activities to keep you occupied. Equally, all offer a truly relaxing beach experience, often in complete seclusion. Here, we identify four amazing lodges found on islands in Lake Malawi.

Malawi is a hidden gem in Africa that is fast emerging as a complete tourist destination, offering safaris, scenery, beaches and rich cultural experiences. But the jewel in the crown of Malawi’s tourist attractions is Lake Malawi – the Rift Valley’s ‘Lake of Stars’. Home to the world’s first freshwater National Park and covering a third of the country, Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site (whc.unesco.org). Although a lake of crystal clear fresh water, its size and depth gives it a sea-like appearance, with one side rarely visible from the other, and a shoreline of idyllic golden sandy beaches lapped by gentle waves. The Lake is a real-life aquarium, home to up to 1000 species of brightly coloured tropical fish, many unique to the Lake. That’s more species than all the lakes and rivers of Europe and North America put together! Far from hiding away, these fish will swim around you, come up close, and boast their magnificence right in front of your eyes.

Blue Zebra Islan d Lodge, Marelli Islan d s (Lake Malawi N ation al Par k ) Found in the Central Region of Malawi and just a two hour journey from Lilongwe, Blue Zebra Island Lodge is a unique escape for nature lovers and adventurous travellers. This wild paradise is exclusively situated on Nankoma Island, part of the Marelli Island Archipelago. The three islands of this group are in Lake Malawi National Park and support diverse flora and fauna. This is an idyllic luxury retreat with eight en-suite safaristyle tented chalets and a superior family cottage overlooking the lake. Secluded Executive Chalets are set in an unspoiled environment, with private balconies boasting spectacular lake views. Packages include a tasteful menu with elaborate 2-course lunches and 3-course dinners.

This vast body of freshwater is not only a scenic wonderland, but it provides a wide range of water sport opportunities for those looking for something beyond sun, sand and swimming. In addition, international-class accommodation is dotted along its length, mainly small friendly lodges, that suit all

Guests can laze in the hammocks with that book they’ve been too busy to read, chill out with cocktails at the infinity pool or relax with a massage. The more active can explore by kayak, boat or trek the nature trails. Snorkel trips, sunset cruises, water-skiing, wakeboarding and tubing are popular with occasional yoga retreats and seasonal Scuba diving.

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M um b o Islan d Camp, Lake M alawi N ation al Park Mumbo Island Camp is on a pristine, deserted island 10 kilometres off the Cape Maclear Peninsula in the southern part of Lake Malawi and it lies within the Lake Malawi National Park. This exclusive camp offers barefoot luxury and tranquillity in what must be one of the most stunning locations in Africa. The camp is tucked away on the rocks and beaches of a serene bay and the crystal-clear waters surrounding Mumbo Island are protected, making for excellent freshwater diving and snorkelling. Lake Malawi National Park was established primarily to protect some of Lake Malawi’s very rich aquatic life and the park is particularly well known for its colourful cichlid fish population, which can be easily seen at Mumbo. Accommodation features tastefully furnished tents and family units with shaded decks, hammocks, en-suite hot bucket showers and ‘eco-loos’. The Camp’s construction adheres to the strictest principles of eco-architecture and its operations make an almost zero ecological impact on the island. A blend of exploration and leisure based activities are offered at Mumbo Island Camp. Kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, boat rides, scenic walks and birding are all available.

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Dom we Islan d Cam p, Lake Malawi N ation al Park Domwe Island is the Lake Malawi National Park’s wildest island. Its ancient forest supports several species of mammals and numerous birds, while the surrounding waters are home to over five hundred species of tropical fish. Domwe Island has never been populated and is still in a pristine natural state. The island is ideal for active guests and those that love observing nature. There are extensive and challenging nature trails that weave around massive granite boulders and giant trees; sea kayaking along the 11km shoreline will delight those who enjoy exploring; and the clean and clear blue waters around the island are perfect for snorkelling, swimming and Scuba diving. The camp on Domwe Island lies at a small beach on the island’s sunset side. The camp is simple yet exclusive, and allows for self-catering, with a fully- equipped camp kitchen (though there is also a cook on hand!) The accommodation consists of three fully-furnished safari tents and two tent sites, complemented by a dining area with bar and a water-sport deck. The whole camp is minimalist and eco-friendly, and is tucked into the lush foliage to create a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ atmosphere of rustic charm. 22


K aya M awa , Li koma I s l a nd Although not situated on its own deserted island, no roundup of Lake Malawi’s island lodges would be complete without Kaya Mawa, a lodge rated as one of the top ten most romantic places on the planet by Condé Nast. Likoma is Lake Malawi’s largest island and is home not only to a number of villages, but also a magnificent cathedral built by missionaries over 100 years ago that is equivalent in size to Winchester Cathedral. Meaning ‘maybe tomorrow’ in the local dialect, Kaya Mawa is a lodge of true luxury, situated on the southern tip of the island on a crescent beach. All of its rooms are handcrafted and designed to fit into the surroundings whilst taking advantage of the breath-taking views across the Lake. There is now a wide variety of accommodation from stone and teakthatched rooms and chalets to magnificent private houses (with 1-4 bedrooms). Each has its own feel and design and with private decks, plunge pools and direct access to the crystal clear waters of the Lake, all guests are well catered for and truly spoiled. There is a bewildering array of water activities including diving, sail-boarding, kayaking, snorkelling, paddle boarding, kite surfing, water skiing, sailing and wakeboarding, plus mountain bikes and quad bikes for those who wish to explore on land. With an award-nominated restaurant serving fresh innovative dishes using local organic produce and fresh lake fish, and a well-stocked bar with endless views of the Lake to the south, it’s very hard to leave! Maybe tomorrow…

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WELLNESS IN MALAWI WELLNESS TRAVEL IS NOW MORE THAN JUST YOGA RETREATS AND SPAS.

2018 and 2019 has seen the rise of wellbeing travel with the Global Wellness Summit’s Wellness Trends report stating that 2018 was a “new era of transformative travel.” In 2017, 691 million travellers took wellness specific trips that focused on the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing. The awareness and emphasis on wellbeing is on the increase, where travellers want to spend their time off investing in themselves. So, where better to invest in healthy travel than Malawi? It has many ways in which you can do just that - from walking trails, hiking, biking, horse trails, scuba diving and yoga retreats.

Luwawa Forest Lodge | H ikin g an d Bikin g Luwawa Forest Lodge has been operating now for twenty years as a tourist lodge and outdoor adventure centre. One of its most popular activities is the 4 day wilderness trail from the mountains of Northern Malawi where they are based, down to Lake Malawi. Get lost in this incredible trail, that passes through a unique wilderness area over Kawandama mountain through indigenous forest and down the Rift Valley escarpment to the Lake at Kachere Kastle. The lodge itself is ideally situated on the Viphya Highlands in the beautiful and tranquil Luwawa Valley overlooking Luwawa Dam which is well stocked with a variety of fish including wide-mouthed bream. The lodge specialises in outdoor adventure tourism and has a range of healthy activities on offer including horse riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling, trail walking, canoeing on the Luwawa Dam, fishing, birding, orienteering, forest fitness courses, table tennis etc. And, at the end of a tiring day you can retreat to the garden sauna. With locally grown organic produce on the menu and plenty of fresh mountain air, this is undoubtedly a very healthy place to spend a few days!

Zomba Plateau Views

Zo m ba Fo r est Lo d ge | Nat u r e T r a i l s Guests who come to Zomba enjoy hiking, which is a welcome break to sitting either in a safari vehicle or on a beach – though many are content with a gentle amble instead. The Zomba Plateau itself offers lots of different walks for different abilities and times, but immediately around the property are 3.5km of nature trails which guests love exploring, solo or with a member of staff. Guests can even join a walk with the lodge owner and her dog which enables them to explore places that they would not necessarily have gone on their own.

Luwawa Valley walking

Last year the lodge organised a Run4Reforestation which was a multi-distance running event with 5, 10 and 21km races, with all the proceeds going towards their tree planting project Zomba TREEZ. This is an annual event that you can find out more about at www.zombatreez.com

Bua River Lodge | Tap out The lodge is located just two kilometres inside the eastern boundary of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi. The lodge prides itself in not offering any driving safaris, as the main aim of Bua River Lodge is to have a break from everything, even from the internet, and to be totally immersed 24


in the wilderness. Enjoy the peace and great food on offer, all of which is made on site even the bread, jams and relishes. Walking safaris are offered, with a trained and armed game ranger. Walks are tailored to the wishes of the guests, varying from short strolls along the river to a nearby waterfall, to allday hikes, an ascent of Chipata Mountain (1,700 metres) in the west of the reserve and overnight safaris with fly camps. 

K a n d e Ho r s e | Hor s e r i di ng Ride through the forest, farmland villages and golden beaches of Lake Malawi. Enjoy stunning rides and home cooked meals while staying in beautiful accommodation. Packages are available and all ages and levels are catered for. Kande Horse is nestled in amongst the forest, allowing the trees to provide you with respite from the African sun. Take a one or two hour ride through the forest or down the beach ending in the unforgettable experience of swimming with your horse. Kande Horse is the perfect place for larger groups, with sixteen beautiful horses available, for all levels and ages. There are beautifully home cooked meals each day, with much of the produce sourced from its own vegetable garden. The closest beach is 3km away at Kande Beach Campsite. It is a short drive, a nice walk or a fantastic ride away. Occasional yoga retreats are also on offer.

Gorge on the Bua River

M a ku z i Beac h | Yoga r et r eats Makuzi Beach Lodge is located along the northern shores of Lake Malawi. Delightfully sited in its own private bay, the lodge is ideal for that perfect “Retreat to Paradise”. Makuzi Beach has three stylish en suite thatched executive chalets and eight standard en suite chalets all nestled in manicured gardens overlooking the lake’s warm, clear waters. The serene and tranquil setting of Makuzi Beach ensures the ideal location for Yoga and Meditation retreats, taught by lodge owner and also qualified Sivananda Yoga instructor and Reiki Master, Lara Pollard. Makuzi Beach Lodge promises a calm and relaxing atmosphere to find peace and practice Yoga.

Horse riding with Kande Horse

Bl u e Z ebr a Is l a nd Lod g e | S nor kel l i ng an d D i v i n g As well as featuring as one of our “Island Paradises of Lake Malawi”, Blue Zebra Island Lodge also makes it onto our Malawi for Wellness list too! Located in the Central Region of Malawi and just a two hour journey from Lilongwe, the lodge is situated in the Lake Malawi National Park on Nankoma Island, which forms part of the Marelli Island Archipelago. The three islands are home to a vast array of freshwater fish, including some of the most rare and colourful in the world. The islands support diverse flora and fauna and are a birdwatchers paradise.

Snorkelling at Blue Zebra Island Lodge

can cater for novice and experienced divers, with dive sites located all around the island to suit every level of experience. The dive centre is involved with a number of conservation initiatives to protect the island’s Cichlid fish.

The lodge also offers free use of snorkelling equipment to view the unique, colourful fish that inhabit every inch of the shoreline. The more adventurous can take advantage of other water sports including wakeboarding, water-skiing and SCUBA diving. The water sports centre is PADI certified and

For more information on Malawi, please contact kelly@kamageo.com 25


Dream Honeymoon? When it comes to planning a dream honeymoon destination, Malawi may not initially spring to mind, but it should. Malawi can offer you not only beautiful weather and stunning sandy beaches (Malawi may be landlocked, but offers some of the most pristine beaches in the southern hemisphere) but also exhilarating scenic, cultural and wildlife experiences as good as anywhere – a fabulous combination for a truly experiential honeymoon. Our very own Ryan Tyler, erstwhile webmaster, graphic designer and all round marketeer, got married recently and Malawi was the immediate choice for his honeymoon. So, we asked him for his round up of the top 5 Honeymoon Experiences that southern Malawi has to offer.  Here they are!

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Watc h the s uns et f rom Mu mb o I s l a nd After an enjoyable yet stressful time planning your wedding, a honeymoon is your time to relax and connect with your loved one as you share your life together, and there is nowhere better for that than Mumbo Island. Mumbo Island is a private island of untouched wilderness within the Lake Malawi National Park that has been delicately converted into a paradise hotspot. The rustic charm and lack of tourists allows you to relax without even trying. So much so that hearing the waves gently brush against the rocks as you sleep is like listening to a sleeping-aid soundtrack. One of the best highlights of a stay on Mumbo is its complimentary evening boat rides. As the sun is beginning to set, you meet one of the guides at the end of the jetty who will help you down into the little wooden boat resting on the water. As you drift away from the island into the vast Lake Malawi, look up and see the African fish eagles patrolling the skies from up high. As the sun begins to set, the guide will turn off the engine, so you can unwind and experience the stunning red sun drop beneath the horizon.

Get up clo se with th e Big 5 in Liwon de Nati o nal Park A safari in Malawi isn’t about tick lists and convoys of vehicles driving around the parks, as seen in some of its neighbouring countries, instead, you’ll head deep into the wilderness to get up close with the wildlife without disturbing their habitats, and most likely never come across another group of visitors. Liwonde National Park is most proudly known for its diversity of wildlife, giving thanks to the Shire river which winds through the heart of the park. Boat safaris are an alternative way to see wildlife and can be much more comfortable than a bumpy ride on the back of a 4x4. On a boat safari you’ll spot incredible bird life found only in Malawi, see and hear hippos as they parade through the water, watch elephants as they come down to drink and wash in the river, observe crocodiles resting on the banks as they prepare for their next meal, and so much more.

As Malawi sits on the west of Lake Malawi, you’ll be able to see sunrises all across the shoreline, but a sunset is best experienced out on the lake and nowhere better than at Mumbo Island, but it doesn’t stop there. If you time your honeymoon right, there are now yoga and relaxation retreats taking place throughout the year. Mumbo Island can be for the peaceful traveller, but also the adventurous. Kayaks are available to go gliding around the island spotting birdlife as you go. You can also snorkel in shallow waters around the island, discovering the underwater world of tropical cichlid fish, or head through the untouched wilderness and walk around the entire island in a couple of hours.

There are only a couple of safari lodges in Liwonde National Park but all offer inclusive activities.

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One of the most popular is the Njobvu Cultural Village, located just outside the Liwonde National Park. This is in a great location and can be easily visited before or after you go on safari, but all of Malawi’s lodges have great connections with their local communities and can arrange village visits for any of their guests.

Vi s it a lo cal v i l l ag e a nd meet M a law i an p eo p l e Malawi is known as ‘the warm heart of Africa’ because of its people. Malawians are known as the friendliest in the world and will share their lives with anyone who wishes to learn more. To truly find out about Malawian culture, a visit to a local village is one of the most memorable experiences you can have.

Walk th rough th e cloud s at th e top of Zomba Plateau

As you’re welcomed into the village you will be able to try their local food, learn about their way of life, get involved in their activities, watch their traditional dances and check out their ceremonial costumes. Getting involved with the community spirit will leave you with some of your fondest memories.

Zomba Plateau is one of Malawi’s hotspots. This great slab of rock towers over the historical town below. The steep winding road up the plateau will take you through thick forest and open up stunning views. As you walk through the plateau you will hear and see baboons and even though you’re high in the clouds, look out for trickling waterfalls, streams and lakes. You can also hire bicycles on the plateau and venture further afield to some of the plateau’s historical sites including Emperor’s view, named after Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia who visited in 1964. This site is a fantastic spot to take a picnic and look out at the stunning scenery below, including Malawi’s highest peak Mount Mulanje rising in the distance. As you head back, there are plenty of curio huts on each corner where locals hand-make fantastic creations including wood carvings, jewellery, pieces of art and other souvenirs – perfect for a gift for family and friends back home. There is a choice of accommodation on the plateau and in the town below, including small, friendly, family-run forest lodges and a unique low-rise hotel right on the very edge of the plateau.

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D i s c ov er w h y L a k e Ma l aw i i s know n a s the ‘ L ak e o f Sta r s ’ Lake Malawi is often said to be the ‘jewel in Malawi’s crown’, and there is no doubt it lives up to this title. This huge mass of water stretches two thirds the length of the country, offers incredible aquatic life, and sandy white beaches that rival any tropical beaches around the world. Coined as the ‘Lake of Stars’ by David Livingstone, a Scottish missionary who was one of the first Europeans to explore Malawi (previously known as Nyasaland) over 150 years ago, Lake Malawi is a spectacle at night. Although the clear skies offer stunning stargazing, it is the hundreds of so-called ‘stars’ on the water that leave you fascinated. As fishing is more successful at night with the cooler temperature and lack of predator birdlife frightening away the fish from the surface, hundreds of fishermen climb into their traditional dugout canoes, armed with their nets and a lamp that glitters through the night sky. It is this illusion that creates the beautiful scene of ‘stars’ across the lake. With many of the country’s lodges and hotels found on the lakeshore, you can dine out by, or even on, the beach and watch as the lamps glisten all around the lake. There really is nothing more romantic for your Malawian honeymoon.

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First timers in... NORTHERN TANZANIA

Kamageo’s Head of Trade Marketing Nadia Alam, ventured into Northern Tanzania with a group of tour operators with Takims Holidays to charge phones, tablets and cameras using the individual socket points and the pop-up roof ensured quality game viewing throughout the trip.

On an eleven-day itinerary, we visited a selection of the best national parks and attractions in Northern Tanzania including Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti and the exotic shores of Zanzibar. Along the way, activities included game drives, cultural and historical adventures, visiting a local Maasai village and Olduvai Gorge. If that wasn’t exciting enough, then a surprise balloon safari over the Serengeti topped it all off.

Taran gire N ation al Park We weren’t expecting the audacity of wildlife experiences awaiting us in Tarangire National Park. We entered the park we were greeted with a cacophony of different bird noises. This was not too surprising, as the park is famed for having over 500 species of birds, but as we were in the middle of the long rainy season in May, we were unsure how much we would see. During the emerald season, the rich greenery is a complete contrast to the thick brown and grey baobab trees, with the colourful vegetation being something that everyone in the group commented on.

The accommodation was a combination of luxury lodges, farm houses and camps each with their own unique charm and appeal and chosen to showcase the different options on offer for clients with different budgets, tastes and interests. They ranged from the intimate Mbali Mbali Tarangire River Camp and Gibb’s Farm to the luxury of Mbali Mbali Soroi Serengeti, a newly refurbished lodge on the Western Corridor.

On seeing a herd of elephants, we were struck by the fact that

“The standard of accommodation, food and service were all much higher than I expected. It was good to learn about the experiences available beyond the safari vehicle; such as the canopy walk across Lake Manyara and balloon ride across the Serengeti. Overall, I was really impressed with the huge variety of wildlife we saw. Our guide, Yusef was a credit to Takims Holidays and massively contributed to our great experience!” - Victoria Smith – Pioneer Expeditions On the first day of our trip we were warmly greeted by our driver-guide, Yusef. Experienced and knowledgeable, with over 15 years’ experience at Takims Holidays, his warm and patient personality instantly made the whole group feel at ease and in safe hands. The Takims vehicle was ideal for our busy fam trip, with everyone given a window seat and accessible fridge stocked with fresh, cold water. It was easy 30


Full of excitement, we drove towards the local Maasai village

there wasn’t another vehicle in sight. We happily snapped away on our cameras and they were so close at one point that you could see each wrinkle on their skin in great detail. Not long after this we were introduced to our first Maasai giraffe, a species which is much darker than Rothschild’s (found in Kenya and Uganda), with deep brown, intricate patterns and more of a contrast between the colours.

L ak e M an ya r a Nat i ona l Pa r k Our next stop on the itinerary was Lake Manyara National Park. A complete contrast to the rolling hills we had been passing, this thick, forest vegetation offered a completely different perspective, with vervet monkeys and large groups of baboons found between the trees. As we travelled around the park, we suddenly came to a vast, open area close to the soda lake which was covered in flamingos. The open areas also hosted a range of other birds including crowned crane.

Gibbs Farm

and were greeted by an abundance of colour with smiling faces, singing and dancing. We were introduced to the traditional dance and dress and encouraged to get involved ourselves. We were shown how they make fire and were welcomed into one of their homes to see how they sleep and cook food. Eager to answer our questions about their semi nomadic life, we were intrigued to find out that the women make the houses from the materials fetched by the males. We were also taken to the day care centre and village school where the children proudly demonstrated their English skills by reciting the alphabet. Shortly afterwards we drove around the rim of the Crater where we were amazed by the views of endless plains with the Crater lake right in the middle. It was one of the most picturesque areas we had ever seen, almost like something out of a dream.

“Lake Manyara had a much more varied landscape and I enjoyed the drive through the different terrains. It was quite different from the other parks and conservation areas we visited” - Victoria Smith - Pioneer Expeditions

As we descended into the Crater, it became clear that the black dots we had seen from a distance, were all animals. It felt as though we were in a Disney movie, wildlife was everywhere with zebras, wildebeest and antelopes stretching out before us. It wasn’t long before we came across a pride of lions with the two females stretched out, resting after a hearty lunch. On our arrival, one of the lionesses walked towards the vehicle and came so close we could see her tail brush against the window. The hairs stood up on the back of our necks as the whole vehicle fell silent in awe of how close we were.

Before we left Lake Manyara, the trip wouldn’t have been complete without experiencing the park’s new activity, East Africa’s first treetop walkway. Built in 2018, what better way to see birds and wildlife than from above the tree tops? Nerves kicked in as we slowly began to walk in groups of four across the first walkway. Knowing that they would only get higher, reaching 30 metres, it was scary at first, but as soon as you began to look around, you became distracted by the pure beauty of the surroundings. It’s a strange feeling being so high up that you can see the tops of trees and be close to the birdlife, but it is definitely an experience not to be missed.

“Loved Lake Manyara, some great changes of terrain, it’s so scenic and shouldn’t be discounted as just an add on park, it’s much more than that” - Helen Byron, Wildlife Worldwide

N go ro n go ro C r at er Having stayed overnight at Gibbs’ Farm, which offers a totally authentic farming experience, including bread making and milking cows, we headed off towards Ngorongoro Crater.

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Further on, we came across a hyena clan, one of which was enjoying a cooling puddle. We then came to the well-known hippo pool in the Crater where we saw a number of them casually bathing in the water, popping their heads up every so often for us to take our photos.

of wildlife and the diversity that we saw was incredible. It was like a cats paradise! The surprise balloon trip was really something special that I will remember for ever. At Mbali Mbali Soroi the staff were amazing and the lodge itself was really stunning. The views and the shower outside was a highlight.” - Jaqui Cranko, Cox & Kings

Despite everything we had already seen, the biggest moment had to be spotting a black rhino from afar. When you know there are only fifty in the entire Crater it makes you realise how lucky you are to catch a rare sight of them!

Something that was planned as a surprise for the group, by Takims Holidays, was a Balloon Safari across the Serengeti! It was a very special moment when we told the group of this surprise, as their eyes completely lit up and some tears were shed. It lived up to every expectation and was truly magical, from seeing the endless plains to spot the various animals from above. The 3.30am wake up was well worth it too, not just for the balloon ride, but for the night game drive on the way, where we saw a porcupine, hippo walking through the grass, a lioness and various antelope.

“The Crater speaks for itself, superb and world-renowned wildlife viewing, a must see” - Helen Byron, Wildlife Worldwide

S e re n geti N ati o n al Pa r k Having already seen a vast amount of wildlife, we were super excited to visit the Serengeti. Known as the crème de la crème of the safari circuit, we wanted to see what this park had to offer. It immediately didn’t disappoint as we saw a mini migration of hundreds of wildebeest all walking in a long line in between zebras. Being the rainy season, it was not the peak migration period, so we were fascinated to see this mini spectacle. It really made us think that there are different times of the year when you can still enjoy the migration without the crowds and it’s just as spectacular.

Zan zibar & Ston e Town By the time we came to fly to Zanzibar none of us thought the trip could be topped, but little did we know how special The Zanzibar Collection’s Baraza was going to be. From the beautiful, intricately decorated rooms, the special dining experiences on the beach, snorkelling in the Indian Ocean, to kayaking and paddle boarding, this would round the trip off perfectly.

As we headed towards the lodge for lunch, we came across that rarity of a tree climbing lion! Then, in one afternoon game drive, we were lucky enough to see four cheetahs, a leopard, countless giraffes, elephants and more lions.

“Serengeti was the highlight of the whole trip. The amount

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Takims Holidays continued to showcase their experience with a base in Zanzibar and tour guide, Ray, who showed us the very best of Stone Town. From the Slavery Museum to Sultans Palace, the winding, endless streets, the hustle and bustle of the local markets to the famous doors, it all enchanted us. We also took a spice tour that we found fascinating,.as we tasted and guessed all the spices and fruits that are grown in Tanzania, the tour very much lived up to Zanzibar’s nickname of the Spice Island! Takims Holidays is a family run DMC with over 65 years’ worth of experience of providing outstanding tours that showcase the very best of Tanzania and Zanzibar. Specialising in private, tailor made safaris, they always ensure complete flexibility. These true Tanzanian pioneers provide exceptional itineraries, experienced guides and high-quality service standards along the way.

To find out more about Takims Holidays for an introduction on Mbali Mbali and Zanzibar Colletion, please contact paul@kamageo.com.

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First timers..

SNORKELLING IN THE INDIAN OCEAN, ZANZIBAR *FIRST HAND FROM KAMAGEO* Hitting the water with a splash I put my head into the water, remembering to breathe, calmly in and out, through my mouth, as I had been instructed. I was completely mesmerised by the sheer number of colourful fish, I began to swim deeper following the guide to a ring surrounded by coral reef where he gently moved one of the stems and multiple coloured fish began to swim out, from surgeonfish, to Yellow Tang, and a Moorish Idol. I was fascinated, I literally couldn’t believe the sheer number of fish, it felt like I was witnessing my very own fish migration!

“The short walk from the villa to the Water Sports activity centre at The Zanzibar Collection, gave me time to think what was coming With a complete mix of emotions, adrenaline pumping and butterflies in my stomach - I was going on my first Snorkel Safari. I was met by Eide a keen watersports enthusiast and knowledgeable guide. After a short briefing I eagerly tried on various sized flippers, walking around like a penguin.

I soon forgot about any fears and began to swim further out looking for more colourful and interesting marine life. I felt like a mermaid swimming alongside various fish, stopping in particularly densely populated areas where you could find starfish, octopus, shrimps and lion fish. I started to realise exactly why they call it a Snorkel Safari, every time I turned my head slightly there was something else to see. The guide’s advice was great and for my first time ever snorkelling and in such deep waters I couldn’t believe how fast the time went by, before I knew it, I was back in the boat re-playing, in amazement, what I had witnessed. What an unforgettable experience. Zanzibar will always be the place I lived out my Wildest Snorkelling Dreams.”

Once I found the right fit, it was time to try on my snorkel and Eide assisted me throughout this process, tightening the straps to make sure no water would be able to slip through, Eide packed the flippers, snorkels and towels into a beach bag. After a short drive to Zawadi I walked down narrow, stone steps, onto the pristine white sand beach. A narrow pathway led straight to the ocean where a traditional, large boat was waiting at the end of the pathway. I sat down excited for the adventure that was to come, the boat began to drift further and further from the mainland, I looked down and could already see an abundance of fish through the crystal-clear waters.

For more information on snorkelling safaris with the Zanzibar Collection, please contact Paul at paul@ kamageo.com

Once in the blue lagoon, the guide told me and the rest of the group should begin to put on our equipment. With flippers and snorkel at the ready my stomach began to whirl as I clambered onto the side of the boat ready to jump into the stunning ocean beneath.

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GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCES AT THE ZANZIBAR COLLECTION On arrival at Baraza we were greeted with a welcome of crisp, citrus infused towels to wash our hands, as well as a freshly made passionfruit drink – just the tonic after an early morning flight. After settling into the room, it was time to explore the facilities. In the pool area, as soon as we sat on the sun loungers, we were greeted by a smiling waiter asking for our choice of drinks. Choosing fresh coconut water, little did we know that the staff actually climb the hotel’s palm trees at each request for this refreshing drink!

M u si ca l i n f l u enc ed di ni ng Our first experience of the Livingstone Terrace was in the evening, where we were greeted by a candlelit room, with pristine white curtains, table cloths and gold accents, which created a luxurious feel. The set menu showcased the quality of food, created using only local ingredients, the island’s famous spices and fresh seafood. Throughout our stay there were different musical treats that enhanced the dining experience including traditional Swahili dancing, with Arabic and Omani musical entertainment offered on alternate nights.

In tim ate beach fron t din in g After a long day in the sun, The Tides restaurant is the perfect place for private, beachfront dining, overlooking the Indian Ocean. Whilst advisable to book in advance, and with an additional charge, this restaurant offers something extra special, as you watch the sunset with your loved one, while your own private chef showcases their culinary talents in this most romantic and secluded setting.

M ea l w i th a v i ew Heading to where we assumed lunch would be served, we were informed that on this occasion we would be having lunch on the beach. What a lovely surprise to find a banda made of palm trees and a table set on the beach. With the sun shimmering against the differing shades of blue as the ocean lapped against the rocks, it was the perfect experience, as we dug our feet into the sand while enjoying a selection of seafood creations.

For more information on dining or staying at The Zanzibar Collection, please contact Paul via paul@ kamageo.com

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Ruaha’s Newest Bush Camp Hodi Hodi, which offers boutique villas in Zanzibar is now set to open a delightful camp in Ruaha and has begun helping the local community, even before its new property is complete. Scheduled to open in 2020, Hodi Hodi Bush Camp gives access to one of Africa’s most remote safari areas and is located on the edge of a ridge overlooking the park. The camp sits within 100 acres of land close to the farming village community of Maasai, which is 10 kilometres away behind the mountainous backdrop. Since securing the camp’s location, the family owners have focused on improving the lives of the villages nearby.  They have already helped to build a new secondary school and have raised money in the UK and across Tanzania to build a house for the village doctor, assisting the local clinic wherever possible. All staff that have been helping to build the camp are based in the nearby communities including the HeHe tribe and the Masaai. So far, four rooms have been fully thatched with the others set to be roofed over the coming months. Once the camp has opened there is an arrangement with the Makifu village to contribute $5.00 per person, per night towards local education and medical costs. The whole concept is that guests leave Hodi Hodi feeling like they haven’t just enjoyed their safari experience, but have also made a real difference to the local community.  Bringing a community focused approach to the unexplored Ruaha region is deep-rooted in Hodi Hodi’s philosophy, which, as a socially, culturally and environmentally responsible company, of course adheres to international sustainable tourism standards.

For more information, please contact Julia or Jake Bishop on info@hodihodizanzibar. com/jake@hodi-hodi.com or visit www.hodihodizanzibar.com

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Tanzanite, the heart of the ocean Not only can this rare blue-purple gemstone be found only in Tanzania, but it is also limited to a mere 20 square kilometre area at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, making this gemstone one of the rarest in the world. Indeed, the famous ‘Heart of the Ocean’ necklace given to Rose in the film Titanic was Tanzanite, which helps explain why it was so valuable – due to its size, pureness and rarity – and why it is 1,000 times rarer than diamonds. Tanzanite was created over 585 million years ago through tectonic plate activity and intense heat that also created Mount Kilimanjaro. It was first discovered in 1967 by a Maasai tribesman. This new gemstone soon caught the attention of Tiffany & Co who named the stone Tanzanite after Tanzania. It officially launched in 1968 and was described as “the most beautiful gemstone discovered in over 2000 years” and at that time there were only two places you could find Tanzanite, Tanzania and Tiffany’s. Blue is considered a sacred colour in Maasai culture and after their wives had given birth, chiefs would gift them blue robes and beads to bless the life of the new child. Legend has it that the Maasai discovered Tanzanite when a grass fire had turned brown-grey stones into bright blue gems. Since this discovery, their tradition has adapted with the gift being replaced with Tanzanite. This tradition has now spread into Western culture with Tanzanite becoming a favourite to gift mothers on the birth of their newborn child. It has also joined Zircon, Topaz and Turquoise as the birthstone of December. Tanzanite can be found in shops in the main cities of Tanzania, as well as museums which detail the history and formation of this unique gemstone.

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THE NEW

MBALI MBALI MAHALE

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Mbali Mbali Mahale sits on a stretch of sheltered golden sand, deep in the heart of the African interior.  Boasting a backdrop formed by the dramatic Mahale Mountain range and with the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika in the foreground, this secluded and romantic hideaway is the perfect blend of relaxation and luxury. Having received a comprehensive refurbishment in August 2018, the main building has been opened up with a new roof and a sundowner deck has been built in, so you can laze on the luxurious new furnishings to watch the sun go down.   The rooms have all had new furnishings too, as well as new roofs to allow the gentle breeze from the surrounding mountains to glide through your room. Sliding doors lead out onto a decking area with day bed overlooking Lake Tanganyika. Each well-appointed room has been strategically positioned to offer guests privacy, while still allowing easy access to the beach and communal areas. There’s a more neutral colour scheme throughout the lodge too. The price of comfort has not been at the cost of the environment.  Mbali Mbali Mahale is powered by solar energy and much care has been taken to reduce its carbon footprint. The primary activity in the park is chimpanzee tracking, which is carefully monitored so as to reduce human impact on the famous habituated M-Group chimps.  Take a gentle boat safari on the lake, or opt for a fishing excursion, where you may encounter crocodile, hippo and otter as well as an abundance of birdlife. Kayaks are available for exploring the lake at your leisure. Contact: General Enquiries, reservations@mbalimbali.com or Edwin Steyn, Sales & Marketing Manager, edwin.steyn@ mbalimbali.com www.mbalimbali.com or Mbali Mbali’s UK trade representative, Paul Doig at paul@kamageo.com

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Tarangire one of Africa’s hidden gems Kamageo’s Marketing & PR Executive, Kristina Harlow, reports on her first visit to Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. shrubbery, then, as if the experience couldn’t get any better, two of the elephants drew closer, so close I could look directly into their glistening eyes. I was totally overwhelmed, and, in that moment, nothing could distract my gaze.

As the DMC for our trip, Takims Holidays, drove us into the National Park, I felt a mix of emotions. Having previously discounted Tarangire from being a serious safari contender to its more famous rivals, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, I was about to be proved wrong.

The entire vehicle had never been so quiet, it was a real, pinch yourself moment and yet, they were just going about their daily life. As I watched the calves lean towards their mothers seeking reassurance and comfort, I felt extremely lucky to be watching them acting so naturally, just metres away from me.

Firstly, I was surprised by the sheer scale of the Park, but less than half an hour into the journey I had already spotted groups of impala, warthog and waterbuck. The endless savannahs and hilly landscape, surrounded by stubby branches of Baobab trees, reminded me of a painting that isn’t quite finished, as the different areas of the park each offered more diverse perspectives. By turn, Acacia woodland gave way to golden hills filled with ancient Baobab trees, which then changed to dense bush and swaying grasses.

I now know that Tarangire National Park is very underrated. A camera cannot capture what a totally immersive experience it is with varied landscapes and terrain, as well as providing some very rare and intimate wildlife encounters. This Park should be promoted as a hidden gem and I have no doubt that my experience in Tarangire will be a memory that stays in my heart and mind forever.

Taking in the dramatic and changing landscapes, all of a sudden, the entire vehicle fell silent as a number of grey shapes appeared from behind the vegetation. I was witnessing the most wonderful sight of a group of elephants, with three calves in tow. I sat in complete disbelief as they edged closer and closer and then a colossal herd of elephants began to wander across the rolling grasslands.

The group stayed at Mbali Mbali Tarangire River Camp, which is set within a 25,000 hectare concession overlooking the Tarangire River. To find out more about Mbali Mbali Tarangire River Camp, contact Paul at paul@kamageo.com

Tears began to stream down my face, I was within metres of a group of wild elephants! It was truly magical watching their ears flapping and tails swishing as they munched on nearby 40


MIKUMI’S COMMUNITY PROTECTS WILDLIFE Mikumi National Park has seen a reduction in the amount of poaching in the past year thanks to its focus on community participation and empowerment. The Mikumi National Park Conservation Programme brings together the community and TANAPA, demonstrating that the village community can directly benefit from the park’s resources through ‘being the eyes and ears on the ground’ and providing information to park rangers on any suspicious activity. This increases the interest of locals and their support for the park’s wildlife efforts, as they now view conservation as an opportunity for their development, because employment and education are improved through wildlife conservation and tourism. One of the many projects includes teaching communities about the techniques of modern day beekeeping, which provides beehives to the local villages and all the necessary equipment.  The park has offered jobs to the local community including patrolling some of the conservation areas within the park itself. The Chief Park Warden has developed an awareness programme that invites village leaders to visit the national park to learn more about the conservation issues they face. The whole idea is to create a greater understanding and a sense of ownership that the park belongs to them and they need to protect it for future generations. This follows the successful conservation efforts with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Thirteen elephants were fitted with satellite-trackable collars to track their movements in real time, providing an insight into their behavioural patterns. This will also alert conservationists if they are moving closer to known poaching areas and if they are in any potential danger.  The project is not only helping to support the community, but also to protect the sixty mammal species found in Mikumi National Park including elephants, zebras and eland, the world’s largest antelope, allowing the park’s wildlife to recover and flourish under this new found protection.

To find out more about Mikumi National Park contact Paul at paul@kamageo.com

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10 REASONS TO ADD LAKE NATRON TO TANZANIAN ITINERARIES

It may take 5 hours to get to Lake Natron from Arusha or 5 hours from the Ngorongoro Crater, and there isn’t even that esy to take flight there yet, but Lake Natron National Park really should be added to a Tanzania trip and here are 10 reasons why.

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73%, or so they say, of the world’s lesser flamingos live on Lake Natron. This makes for a truly spectacular site. The red glow that they produce can even be seen from space and it makes for a photographic paradise. Even if you visit out of breeding season as we did, there are a spectacular number of flamingos and heading out to see them on the Lake at sunset or sunrise with your Maasai guide is a sight to behold.

Lake Natron Camp is ahead of its time in the plastic revolution that started in Tanzania on 1 June. It’s not only plastic bags and plastic bottles that are banned here, but all the cool beanbags and hammocks by the water hole are made from recycled plastic and they are even training camels to carry water from the local village to camp to reduce their carbon footprint!

Lake Natron Camp, a unique, ecological camp is situated in one of the most visually dramatic locations you’ll have ever been to. Volcanoes and craters of different ages are scattered around the valley in which the camp is located and, the still active, Ol Doinyo Lengai, the Mountain of God, dominates the landscape. It last erupted in 2006 so it might be due another one soon…

There are hominid footprints within the concession area of Lake Natron Camp. Researchers have catalogued this spectacularly rare find of well-preserved human footprints, left in the mud, at between 5,000 and 19,000 years old. This is a really interesting add on to visiting the site of the oldest human footprints at Olduvai Gorge on the way to the Serengeti.

Lake Natron Camp’s symbiotic relationship with the nearby village is impressive and something that should be replicated in


more places. The camp has a concession with the local village to use the area for tourism and in return the village receives $15 per guest per night, plus a yearly land rent fee. The village also receives a further amount from the money paid to the wildlife department. It has been agreed between all parties that this money be used primarily for secondary education for village children. •

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Whilst you won’t find large blue swimming pools and sumptuous wooden loungers, you will find incredible natural springs and water holes outside your tent where you can cool down with a sundowner, watch the world go by and let the harmless fish nibble at your toes whilst you do it. The camp has not only been designed to be as ecologically sensitive as possible, and 100% removable within 3 months, but the camouflage styled tents blend into the environment so much so that when you try to find the camp on the drive in, it takes you some time to notice it.

The camp employs and trains almost all its staff from the local Maasai village and also has 19 Maasai women working for it on a 6-week rotation to make it fair to the other Maasai ladies that would like to work. The Maasai massage fee ($20) is paid directly to the masseuse. No over inflated prices to the Camp itself, just money directly into the pocket of one of the locals.

The feeling of peace that transcends the area is something that can’t be bought. There is a vastness, a feeling of space that’s not yet been spoilt. It feels like an undiscovered wilderness and you feel very lucky to have found it and been allowed in to explore. Taken from a blog written by Karen Beddow of Mini Travellers. www.minitravellers.co.uk

There are a wide range of activities provided by the camp which include hiking and bird watching (not just flamingos), as well as trips to swim in the local waterfall, visits to local schools, and of course the walk to see hominid footprints within its concession. The camp has two and three day activity suggestions on the website and all include sundowners and sunrise breakfasts.

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Encountering man’s origins in East Africa “It’s impossible not to be amazed by the differing layers of earth and uneven terrain. To see the gorge with your own eyes, whilst listening to the expert guide tell you about the site’s research and findings is surreal.”

Olduvai Gorge is a must-see attraction on Tanzania’s northern circuit. This internationally recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site is where Louis and Mary Leakey’s famous discoveries of early humans were made. It is here that visitors can learn from the earliest evidence of our existence and changes to the planet dating back two million years. It can be difficult to absorb the sheer magnitude of fossil discoveries made at the gorge.  

“ We felt we had stepped back in time. There was a strange feeling, like a sense of belonging, as if we had travelled all this way to accept this was where we came from. ”

Laetoli Footprin ts  Whilst replicas of these footprints are displayed in the museum, we recommend seeing them for yourself, in Laetoli, west of Ngorongoro Crater. Here, hominid footprints have been preserved in volcanic rock from over 3.6 million years ago, representing some of the earliest signs of mankind.

The newly designed Interactive Museum provides an interesting display of palaeoanthropology which allows even those with less interest in the technical details to be moved by all the historical significance of the site. The informative boards take you through a historical timeline, invariably prompting many questions. They provide an enriched understanding of the history of humanity. The most fascinating of the finds was the Homo Habilis, with a brain half the size of the modern man. After the museum tour, visitors are greeted by knowledgeable guides in their new lecture facility, which overlooks the excavation site and gorge itself. Photographs do not do it justice.

Three separate tracks of footprints can be seen, which were made by a small-brained, upright-walking early hominid, christened ‘Lucy’ by the experts. Incredibly, the prints were preserved in muddy ash, deposited by volcanic eruptions and hardened by the sun.  Made by feet that look very similar to our own, they proved conclusively that these beings stood and walked upright, with a human-like stride.

The Leakey’s excavation sites are still operational to this day and archaeologists from all over the world continue to chip away at the rock, hoping to make even more discoveries to solve mysteries surrounding our origins.

To find out more about the museum or visiting the Laetoli Footprints, contact paul@kamageo.com

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INTRODUCING MUCHENJE’S KEY INGREDIENTS

Everyone knows that your guide can make or break a client’s safari experience. So at Muchenje, which has new owners after all these years, they’ve been assessing the skills of their staff.

Eight years later, in 2008 he was promoted to operations manager. He then spent 6 years in the Delta, first as a Camp manager and then providing expert assistance to researchers in the field, at a specialist research camp.

Located in Western Chobe, away from all the masses who throng around the waterfront, the lodge offers a far quieter, more intimate game experience, where the knowledge of game and the art of entertaining and enthusing their clients comes to the fore.

Yet, Ali missed being able to show off Chobe to guests and being passionate about its wilderness, wildlife and scenery, he returned to guiding and to Muchenje, to do what he loves best. “I love passing on my many years of experience to ensure guests leave Muchenje with lasting memories”.

Ali Mucheka Mainga / Head Guide Ali describes himself as “a naturalist at heart.” Born close to the lodge, in a small village called Satau in the Chobe Enclave, he was raised by his grandparents, rearing cattle, goats and growing crops. Ali worked first as a scullery at lodges inside the national park, before training as a boat guide and a dugout canoe guide. Two years down the line he acquired his driver’s license and became a professional guide.

Ali also appreciates Muchenje’s links to the local community and the cultural visits it offers. He feels it is important to keep the link between the lodge and the local people.

Ali Mucheka Mainga / Head Guide Real name, Malepa Mbanga, Lips has been a much46


loved guide at Muchenje for 15 years. Like Ali, he too grew up in Satau. Whilst Subiya is his tribal language, Lips also speaks Setswana (the national language of Botswana) and perfect English. Having been brought up in an area that is rich in fauna and flora, the booming of the tourism industry only increased Lips interest in wildlife and conservation. Lips is now the longest serving guide at Muchenje Safari Lodge and he has developed a real passion for Western Chobe and Muchenje. He didn’t break off from cleaning his shiny new safari vehicle for one second during our chat, such is his commitment to the Muchenje cause. “It’s my second home and to share it with guests is a real joy. Seeing their faces light up at a game sighting makes it all worthwhile”.

Rambo / Safari Guide Another guide with an interesting nickname is Nshimane Nshimane, better known as Rambo. He started out life in Mabele village in the Chobe enclave, again raised by his grandparents. At secondary school, Rambo started to develop a real passion for fauna and flora, along with conservation. Becoming a guide in 1999, he has worked for various safari companies in Botswana, before settling at Muchenje which he describes as a paradise, “Its so good to be able to encounter amazing wildlife with my clients, knowing that we might be the only vehicle to experience it”. For more information about Muchenje, please do not hesitate to contact Paul at paul@kamageo.com

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RUGBY IN ESWATINI: TACKLING PROBLEMS AND AIMING FOR THE LION’S SHARE OF TOURISTS! As a small country with a remarkably diverse set of attractions, Eswatini is an ideal destination to explore between matches, giving travelling supporters the chance to go on safari, take part in adventure activities in the country’s beautifully scenic highlands, and to enjoy some authentic, rich cultural interactions.

The four-yearly British & Irish Lions rugby tours are some of the biggest sporting events in the world and the next tour will be to South Africa in 2021. Build up has already begun and Eswatini will be looking to entice some of the large numbers of travelling rugby supporters into the Kingdom during the tour.

One great boost has come with Eswatini’s very own rugby coaching charity SKRUM recently being awarded the prestigious honour of being one of World Rugby’s ‘Spirit of Rugby’ partners for 2019/20. The Spirit of Rugby programme was first launched in 2016 with the aim of World Rugby working with organisations to use the sport to boost development projects. The projects are aimed at the key themes of social inclusion, gender equity, health, education, environmental sustainability and sport for all. With the assistance of visiting volunteer tourists, a number of partner UK rugby clubs and Ambassadors, including ex48


England internationals Ollie Phillips and David Flatman, SKRUM uses the game of rugby to engage with children around Eswatini, inspiring better leadership in communities, promoting the benefits of school and education, raising awareness of gender violence and educating about HIV/ AIDS. Since 2008, SKRUM has visited 650 of the 817 schools in Eswatini and each year they reach 12,000 young people through school and community sessions. At this moment in time rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in Eswatini and figures for HIV/AIDS infection are falling.

leaving him wheelchair-bound. Michael was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2015. SKRUM is a wonderful example of how sport and tourism can make a genuine, positive difference to local communities in Africa. With the eyes of the rugby world soon to focus on Southern Africa, as a Spirit of Rugby partner of World rugby, SKRUM is sure to bring some welcome attention to the charms of Eswatini and encourage rugby supporters to enjoy some authentic African experiences between test matches, and also witness the positive good that the game of rugby can do.

SKRUM was established by the inspirational Michael Collinson, a rugby enthusiast who fell in love with Eswatini in the 1980s. He has lived there ever since and has been the driving force behind rugby in the country and, for over a decade, SKRUM itself - despite a tragic traffic accident in 2002

For more information on SKRUM or Eswatini, contact Kelly White at info@thekingdomofeswatini.com or visit www.thekingdomofeswatini.com All images by SKRUM 49


Bushfire lights up Malawi The Kingdom of Eswatini invited you to ‘bring your fire’ at this internationally acclaimed music and arts festival now in its 13th edition which took place from 24th-26th May. With accommodation across the country booked out many months in advance, and tens of thousands entering the country for Bushfire, Eswatini was buzzing as it showcased its many charms to this influx of visitors.

“MTN Bushfire is more than a festival, it’s a living, breathing ecosystem deeply rooted in African soil, yet inclusive and welcoming to guests from all over the world. This uniquely African, and yet globally infused festival experience welcomes thousands in an atmosphere of tolerance and passionate commitment to music, the arts and the environment.”

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Named as BBC’s Top African Festival, and now in it’s 13th year, the MTN Bushfire Festival draws a multi-generational global community of up to 26,000 from 60 different countries. This year they flocked to the scenic Malkerns Valley to experience an eclectic Pan-African and international line-up of live music, theatre, poetry, film, circus, dance and visual arts. A vibrant handicraft market, family-friendly performances and KidZone, as well as the recently introduced interactive art and dialogue space, created a truly eclectic & magical threeday entertainment experience.

This festival is a must for music and art lovers and a great way to experience the ‘New Wave’ of Africa at its finest. The line up for this year included both international artists and acts from all over Africa including:

Though it’s thoroughly innovative, the festival gives back to the people of Eswatini with 100% of profits donated to two Swazi charities; Young Heroes, a child sponsorship programme assisting Swazi orphans, and Gone Rural boMake, a charity that assists rural Swazi women and the communities with information and infrastructure development, addressing health, education and social concerns.

Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi is a Zimbabwean musician, businessman, philanthropist, human rights activist, and Unicef goodwill ambassador for the Southern Africa region.

Ain TheMachine from Germany; an AudioVisual storyteller with a clear goal: to transform the way we interact with music. Swazi local, Sands who is a guitarist, songwriter, performing artist and a favourite in the Southern African music scene.

GranMah, a dub/reggae fusion band from Mozambique, whose humble beginnings originated from a garage in 2009. Alibombo a percussion group from Columbia and an experimentation laboratory. With a noise that creates music from recycled elements, its influences pass through rhythms of the Caribbean and the Colombian Pacific, merged with drum and bass. With many more acts included you can see the full line up at: https://www.bush-fire.com/explore/lineup/ Eswatini displays tradition and progression side-by-side seamlessly through the variety of events in the country. Deeprooted traditions are balanced by internationally renowned modern festivals like MTM Bushfire, dedicated to the arts, crafts & music that are inspired by traditional elements and fused with modern Africa.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Paul at paul@kamageo.com

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Katchikally the ‘tame’ alligators of The Gambia The Gambia, known as The Smiling Cost of Africa, is home to a unique family of crocodiles that live side by side with their human neighbours. The crocs live in a sacred pond called Katchikally in the bustling ancient town of Bakau, just a short taxi ride from the main resort hotels. Written by Malick Jeng, Gambia’s Destination Manager.

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A major tourist attraction Katchikally has over the years developed into a major tourist attraction being visited by thousands of tourists every year. The custodians have now built an ethnographic museum on the site, developed a mini-forest nature trail, a souvenir shop and a bar for refreshments. Visitors pay a small entrance fee of £2.

An intriguing history: There are two different versions of the history of Katchikally but they both rotate around an ancient folktale of a child falling into a well and being rescued by two brothers from the Bojang family. One version of the story mentions the involvement of a devil or Jinn who reportedly declared that “any barren (or infertile) woman who bathes with the water from the well would bear a child”. True or not, there is still a strong believe in the community of the healing effects of the waters of Katchikally.

The ‘Tame’ Alligators: The creatures are not particularly large; most measure less than two metres long. The male and non-nesting female crocs are generally known to be docile and some visitors are seen stroking or touching them but this is not encouraged. One of the largest crocodiles seen in the pond was called ‘Charlie’ but this has now before a generic name for any big male croc.

Another version of the folktale mentions how two crocodiles were caught and dropped into the well. There is no development in the narrative as to how that ancient well transformed into the large pond we now call Katchikally; perhaps Africa’s largest collection of semi-domesticated crocodiles.

The animals are thought to be Nile Crocodiles (Crocodylus Niloticus), however research suggests there is also different specie; the Desert or West African Crocodile (Crocodylus Suchus).

The pond is now in a six acre site where between 80 and 100 crocodiles of various ages and sizes live freely. They are fed with fish, mainly bonga shad, which is bought by the custodians of the pond.

In addition to Katchikally, there are two other sacred crocodile ponds in The Gambia; one of Kartong, in South Gambia, and another in Berending in the North Bank Region.

A major tourist attraction Katchikally has over the years developed into a major tourist attraction being visited by thousands of tourists every year. The custodians have now built an ethnographic museum on the site, developed a mini-forest nature trail, a souvenir shop and a bar for refreshments. Visitors pay a small entrance fee of £2. The Gambia, known in tourism circles as The Smiling Cost of Africa, is home to a unique family of alligators or crocodiles that live side by side with their human neighbours. Visited by thousands of European tourists every year, the crocs live in a sacred pond called Katchikally in the bustling ancient town of Bakau, about 12 kilometres from the country’s capital city of Banjul and a short taxi ride from the main resort hotels.

A Nature Trail Visitors to Katchikally also have the option to embark on a nature trail through a six acre tropical forest bordered by rice fields and shrubs. Several plants and animal species can be found in the unspoilt mini-forest. There are indigenous silk cotton trees, baobab trees, palm trees, figs and other vegetation. For birdwatchers, the forest is rich in bird species, including the blue-breasted kingfisher, hamerkop, barbary shrike, red-bellied paradise and flycatcher. There are also mammals such as green velvet monkeys as well as reptiles such as monitor lizards, agama lizards and various species of snakes, most of them non-poisonous.

An intriguing history: There are two different versions of the history of Katchikally but they both rotate around an ancient folktale of a child falling into a well and being rescued by two brothers from the Bojang family. One version of the story mentions the involvement of a devil or Jinn who reportedly declared that “any barren (or infertile) woman who bathes with the water from the well would bear a child”. True or not, there is still a strong believe in the community of the healing effects of the waters of Katchikally. Another version of the folktale mentions how two crocodiles were caught and dropped into the well. There is no development in the narrative as to how that ancient well transformed into the large pond we now call Katchikally; perhaps Africa’s largest collection of semi-domesticated crocodiles. The pond is now in a six acre site where between 80 and 100 crocodiles of various ages and sizes live freely. They are fed with fish, mainly bonga shad, which is bought by the custodians of the pond. 53


EUROPE’S CLOSEST TROPICAL RAINFOREST ABUKO NATURE RESERVE, THE GAMBIA Known as The Smiling Coast of Africa, The Gambia is only six hours flying time from London and home to 259 acres of rainforest known as the Abuko Nature Reserve.

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In 1967, Kaliliu, a local man from a neighbouring village of Lamin, requested permission to enter the forest to shoot a leopard that had been killing domesticated pigs. The then Wildlife Officer, the late Eddie Brewer OBE and his daughter Stella, visited the spot, and saw an amazing richness of Gambian wildlife and flora. They realised the conservation importance of the stream running through Abuko, so they made a request to the government to protect the area. This was promptly approved and it was officially declared a nature reserve in March 1968. In 1978, Abuko’s size was extended from 188 to 259 acres and enclosed by a high fence (2.5 metre high) constructed with the help of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Today, the reserve covers an area of 105 hectares (roughly 2 square kilometres). It is rectangular in shape with a narrow strip surrounding its boundaries as an extra buffer and some 2,000 Gmelina trees have been planted to act as an extra barrier against encroachment by locals. There are six protected wildlife management parks in The Gambia, but Abuko is the most visited tourist attraction receiving approximately 33,000 visitors per year. The Reserve is run by Department of Parks and Wildlife which charges a small entrance fee to help support efforts to protect the location and prevent the extinction of rare bird and animal species found there. The evergreen forest gallery follows the course of the Lamin Stream and covers approximately one third of its total area. The management of the reserve is maintaining the crooked bush trails, bird photo hides, the animal orphanage and the boundary to prevent encroachment by people and livestock. There are a number of small pools at one end of the reserve, with the biggest called the Bambo (crocodile) Pool. The freshwater pond is ideal location for spotting crocodiles and birds. Abuko Nature Reserve is within easy reach by taxi from most of the coastal resort hotels and it is an ideal first stop for birdwatchers and animal enthusiasts. There are designated guides on site to help visitors locate animals and birds while on the forest trail. Abuko is reported to have 50 types of tropical trees. The Park’s main geographic features include a thick tropical canopy and Guinea savanna. There are an estimated 290 bird species living within the forest gallery, including Pied Kingfishers, African Paradise Flycatcher, Willow Warblers, Waxbills, Western Bluebill , Manikins, Doves, Lily Trotters, Giant Kingfisher, Palm Nut Vultures, Hammerkops, Grey Headed Bristle Bill, White Crowned Robin Chat, Lanner Falcon, Pygmy Kingfisher, Violet Turacoes, African Thrush, Fork Tailed Drongo, Black Herons, Squacco Heron, Oriole Warbler, Red Bellied Fly Catchers, Little Greenbul, Abyssinian Roller, Purple Glossy Starling & Green Touraco.

The other mammalian types include the Grimms Duiker, Ground Squirrel, Savannah Antelopes, Bushbuck, Brush Tailed Porcupine, Civets, Sitatunga T. Spekei, Erythrocebus patas, Mungos Gambianus, Serval Felis, Heliosciurus gambianus, Thryonomys swinderianus, Galago senegalensis, Actophilornis Africana, Tauraco Persa, Gastropyxis smaragdina Crocodylus niloticus, Xerus erythropus, Cercopithecus aethiops, Palm civet Nandinia binotata and several types of rodents including the Cane Rat. Among the reptiles in the reserve are the monitor lizard, the Nile crocodile, West African crocodile, dwarf crocodile, spitting cobra, black cobra, python, Puff adders, emerald snake and the green mamba (which is rarely seen). There are also numerous butterflies and moths such as the Saturnis. While there you can also visit the Animal Orphanage which was set up in 1997 as a rehabilitation centre by the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management. It cares for parrots, hyenas as well as various kinds of monkeys including Chimpanzees. Also located on the reserve is the Darwin Field Station which is a research centre focused on maintaining The Gambia’s biodiversity. There is also an exhibition at the Abuko Conservation Education Centre and a refreshments area close to the animal orphanage. Visitors to the Reserve are encouraged to take the nature trail on which you will see loose leafed Guinea savanna and tree trunks covered in mud deposited by tree ants. The trail will then lead you to the main Bamboo Pool which is partly covered in water-lilies and fringed by large palms. You will then come across a wooden foot bridge which spans across a small swampy stream and goes past the first bird hide and towards the visitor’s centre which was built in 1970 as a rest place for visitors. If you climb to the observation platform, it is possible to get a birds-eye-view of large lizards, numerous feathered avians and Dwarf or Nile Crocodiles (particularly in the mornings when they come out of the water to sunbath). From this point, the trail will take you through thick, dark, vegetation, an open bright savanna which is soon interrupted by a thick jungle. On the ground, you can see numerous ground squirrels, brightly coloured beetles, vervet monkeys, soldier ants, other birds and butterflies. As you proceed, you will arrive at the Animla Orphanage which houses some vultures, hyenas, baboons, bush buck and lions. Edited by Malick Jeng, GT Board UK. Thanks to AccessGambia.

There are also 4 primate species in the Reserve: Vervet Monkey, Red Colobus Monkey, Red Patas and Bush Babies. 55


The People of Sierra Leone Images by Kamageo’s own Tim Henshall

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Sierra Leone’s Sparkling Attractions Traditionally a symbol of love, diamonds in Sierra Leone took on a more sinister dimension during the civil war of the 1990’s, as they were renamed ‘blood diamonds’. A ‘Blood Diamond’ is a term used for a gem mined in a war zone and sold to finance an army’s war efforts, which was the case in Sierra Leone, famously portrayed in Leonardo DiCaprio’s gripping 2006 movie of the same name.

swirled for all my life, knowing that back home, my wife would be dreaming of a new rock the size of a gob-stopper. Not surprisingly, my endeavours were fruitless (rockless?) but it was exhilarating, none the less.

Thankfully those days are long behind us. Sierra Leone has now established political stability and, with the introduction of the Kimberly process (which certifies all rough diamonds exported were produced, sold, and exported through legitimate channels), it has given back the sparkle to the diamond mining industry.

Visiting Kono was an undoubted highlight (amongst many) of my trip to Sierra Leone and can be easily included in itineraries. Yes, as tourism increases, it is likely to become a little more ‘staged’ but still a great activity.

Diamond mining today In the Kono region, teams of freelance miners dig and sift tirelessly for these hugely valuable gemstones. The owners only guarantee the hard-labouring miners a subsistence wage and they can go months without unearthing a single stone. And, when they do, the resale value of each stone is always shared between the entire team. So it’s important to maintain 100% trust between co-workers. Given the right geological signposts, the mines, once carefully prepped, can give up anything from pinhead-sized raw diamonds to egg-sized ‘life-changers’. After an average of 3-4 months of back-breaking excavation to reach the right levels, the miners begin the painstaking task (testing both the body’s muscles and the eyesight) of spotting the sparkles. Every one of them dreams of finding the stone of a lifetime. At the first site we visited, the work-force was focused on digging down into the heavy ground, but at our second site, panning had already begun. Here, the seemingly simply task of swirling water around in a tray of silt revealed itself to be a highly skilled, multi-layered process (with any diamonds ‘attracted’ to the centre of the pan by their density). Who could resist that challenge? In something like a scene from TV’s ‘The Generation Game’, I took hold of the pan and

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Surfing The Last Wave A surf crew from South Africa travelled to Zambia especially to ride a unique and incredibly strong wave within the Batoka Gorge of the Zambezi River, not far downstream from the Falls. This dangerous, but exhilarating venture was made possible by the passionate, adventure community of Livingstone and their pioneers, ‘Safari Par Excellence’, known as Saf Par Zambia. Read on to find out the trials and tribulations of a crew of South African surfers visiting Zambia, where they shrug off crocs to get their hair wet on one rare and special wave.

tiger fish,” laughs Koby. “I heard they full-up tiger fish in there.”

“The overhead standing wave that breaks in the mighty Zambezi is no secret. Discovered by kayakers over 20 years ago, more than a few surfers have made the journey through the Kalahari to explore its timeless curves, but now, thanks to a large, ill-considered hydro-electric power scheme, Africa’s weirdest wave may soon be no more.

“Crocodiles or sharks, what are you more afraid of?”, I push. . “Sharks,” says Koby. Royden is turning it around in his head for a second. “Hmmm… probably crocodiles.”

A new message from my connection Sean Edington, a river guide from Saf Par, “It’s just started. You coming?”. There was a picture, bad angle, but you could see the lip and the curl of the wave and that was enough. The wave normally only lasts a week, time starts now.

“Why?” “Because of the way a crocodile plays with its food… It’s chowing you because it wants to eat you. It’s not mistaken identity… But whatever,” he shrugs.

Things to organise: surfers, vehicle, passports, cameras, reflective jackets, cash, food, shelter. Things to worry about: crocodiles, hippos, elephants, cattle, goats, trucks, potholes, roadblocks, bad drivers, the mighty river itself… At 3am on a Tuesday, boards strapped to the roof, we hit the road.

Finally, we run out of road. After all this land, the Zambezi twinkles back at us; a huge wet scythe. The sun is dipping, casting long shadows as we roll through the hills and forests, skirting the town of Livingstone and hugging the river to our home base at Safari Par Excellence lodge, perched on the quiet waters above Victoria Falls.

The conversation turns to the wave we’re humping across several African countries to meet. “Any concerns about wildlife?”, I float.

We’re up at dawn. Watching the sunrise break over the river from the deck, with a hot cup of coffee from local beans - I’ve had worse surfacings. Sean arrives looking haggard. “Was up all night chasing elephants out of my garden.” He sighs as he

“I suppose there are some nerves about the crocs”, admits Royden. “Ay, I’m not too worried about the crocodiles I just want to go catch 68


hundred metres, to the jump-off, for another go. There’s a spot just behind where the wave breaks, known as “the pit of shit,” a brutal maelstrom of moving water. Bail on takeoff, go over the falls or get pinned under the lip, you’re going in the pit. You’ve got to get really close to catch the wave, a consequence that makes every takeoff a mind-game.

sloshes the remaining coffee in a cup. “Bloody vermin!” He chuckles. “Zambian problems,” I laugh. The rafting truck bumps and grinds through the local villages above the gorge. We turn right at a huge graffiti’d baobab, where a resident albino mongoose is often spotted, then down a rutted track, towards the precipice. The area around Livingstone is a mash-up of game reserve, village, tourist operations, lodges; a jumble of wild and urban spaces. The truck stops in a clearing at the edge of the gorge and we offload to prep. The nerves are beginning to jangle.

Finally, Koby lands on his feet and we get our first surf of the trip. No fireworks, just feeling the wave and figuring out the weirdness of the river’s pulses. Then he sticks another one. Koby carves and cuts back, looking for new ways to dice up the small canvas. Then he goes down hard, catches a rail at the bottom of the wave and gets sucked into the pit. His board pops up first and does a terrible tombstone-jig on the surface for about 30 metres, a marker for the beating being endured below. He eventually pops up but he’s a bit rattled. Royden can empathise; he’s been copping similar beatings all day.

Melvin Ndlelwa, our Zambian river guide, son of a local chief and our self-designated chaperone meets us and presents us with hand-carved Nyami-Nyamis: the snake-like river spirit of the Zambezi. “For protection in the gorge and on the river,” he says, as he holds them out for each to choose before tying them around our necks.

We gather on the beach to regroup, sitting on the cooler boxes. Koby relives his underwater nightmare. “Reckon I only had a couple of seconds of breath left,” he smiles. No one is offering to give up their helmets and life jackets to make the footage look more “natural.“

Then we start the long line down into the gorge, so steep that they’ve constructed staircases out of hard mopani stakes. It’s not sheer enough to climb like a ladder, but enough to give you the wobbles and a dash of vertigo, especially in flip flops, under the plaintive wail of the trumpeter hornbills, endemic to the Batoka Gorge. 580 Mopani stairs later we’re at the water’s edge, legs “shaking like Elvis Presley!”, laughs Scotty, our cherry-faced Welsh rafting captain.

The next morning, as we round the bend into the big saucer above the wave, we spot the legend; at least two metres of green greasy Nile crocodile, sunning itself on the flat rocks of the Zimbabwean bank. It spots us and slides casually into the water and disappears.

The gargantuan, igneous rock walls on either side pull focus to the water bubbling and coursing through the middle. The power is tangible. Scotty works the raft expertly, navigating us through whirlpools and rapids with a kind of wild calmness. Royden and Koby are in the water on their boards, “to get a feel for the flow.” Their eyes are wide, as they meet Nyami for the first time. Round an S-bend the river slows and runs ominously still. Around the next corner, it opens up into a big calm pool; a horseshoe, that empties down a long tumultuous rapid, with the perfect wave breaking at the top, like a mouth waiting to swallow, gargle and spit you into the torrent below.

“Royden, you first!” He doesn’t argue but takes a more direct line into the wave than the previous day. He sticks it first time and now he’s surfing. The relief is palpable. After a good few grinds, he kicks out. Koby picks up where he left off and milks the wave until he pushes a turn too far and fades over the back. Now we’re in the rhythm. Roy’s back, zipping through the channel and in. Crocs got everyone moving briskly today. Best not to think about consequences. He whacks three more runs for the cameras. Finally, with the gorge in shadow and everyone exhausted, we call it quits.

“Rapid 11 is bedrock, so it’s not a boulder garden,” Sean explains. “What makes the wave is the angle of a shallow island of rock underneath. So, as the water is funneled out of the big calm pool and down this bottleneck, it pours over the ledge, accelerating and then hits the island and curls back on itself, making your wave.”

Time for a spot of tourism, a boozy riverboat cruise, some fun at the bar, an early morning microlight flip over the Falls and the opportunity to take in the natural splendour of Mosi oa Tunya. Then it’s time to pack the Fortuner and gird our loins for the long journey home. We say melancholic goodbyes to new friends and promise to return as soon as possible.”

The Zambezi is the largest river system on Africa’s East Coast. By the time it reaches the 108 metre precipice known as the Mosi oa Tunya, it is heavy with the waters of a rain-drenched region. Above The Falls, the river stretches over a mile across; in the Batoka Gorge below it condenses to just 20 metres at its narrowest. That’s on average 1088 cubic metres of water per second or 625 million litres per minute, forced down a steep and extremely narrow channel. The Zambezi you meet in the gorge, simply put, is an angry river.

Since this incredible venture, in February 2019 Saf Par organised another trip, this time with an international surf crew from STAB, an online surfing magazine and community.

If you have any surf-loving clients that may want to experience a once in a lifetime surfing adventure, do get in touch with Rich (rich@kamageo.com).

The boys struggle to stay in the wave at first and get chaperoned by Sean on the kayak, towards Scotty in the raft, to scramble up the bank and pick their way over the boulder field for a few 69


THE ZAMBEZI’S HOTTEST EVENT IS BACK! This October, Livingstone’s wildest event is back for another weekend of fun, festivities and extreme Zambezi action. Running from 24th to 26th October, this competition is open to amateur teams and individuals are welcome to enter and they’ll get teamed up with a crew.

ZAMBEZI TEST OF TH E BEST (EVEN T 1 ) This event is a timed race from the Boiling Pot below Victoria Falls to the eddy below rapid #4 named “Morning Glory”. Rafts set off at one minute intervals and times are converted into points. The race water distance is 2300m.

ZAMBEZI LE M AN S SPRIN T (EVEN T 2)

WH AT I S A F ESTI VAL W I T HOU T F EST I V I T I ES ?

This event begins with a mass start from the pool below Rapid # 5 to the pool above rapid #7. One team member needs to touch the attainment point on the river bank at the finish. There is a strong element of moving on the rocks here to reach the attainment point. Team finishing positions and times accrue points. The race water distance is 700m.

Festival-goers will enjoy two days of big water, timed events, great food and amazing live music performances with artists from Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa in one of the world’s most unique settings. Teams of six, skippered by an International Rafting Federation accredited guide, will battle it out for the grand title and some rather grand prizes in the two-day event.

ZAMBEZI SLALOM (EVEN T 3)

Considered one of the best stretches of commercially run river in the world, Batoka Gorge provides one of the most intense sensory thrills imaginable. Its white-water rapids and striking scenery deep within the sheer black cliffs afford the adrenaline junkie a wild roller-coaster ride along a route carved over millennia by the Great Zambezi.

One raft at a time down the course with attainment areas, start at Rapid #12 pool and finish at jailhouse eddy Rapid #13. A timed race with time penalties for missing attainment targets - team positions and times accrue points. The race water distance is 900m with attainments excluded.

The Zambezi Whitewater Festival 2019 is proudly brought to you by Safari Par Excellence – Zambezi’s Top Adventure Specialists since 1988.

ZAMBEZI S URF & TURF (EVEN T 4) The best surf in the iconic rapid #18 is judged in the Waterfront Bar by the festival goers. This fun activity isn’t scored in the overall event, but separate prizes are available.

Do you have clients that are interested or fancy taking on the competition yourself or as a team? Check out www.safpar.com/zambezi-white-water-festival-2019/ for more information or to book your place. 70


FANCY A SPOT OF FISHING? Zambezi Grande takes its prime location on the banks of the Zambezi River very seriously ,and has now developed its own ‘Zambezi Fishing Co.’ The mighty Zambezi River offers one of the best freshwater fishing experiences in the whole of Africa, making Lower Zambezi National Park a sport angler’s dream destination. Prized species including some of the continent’s biggest and toughest Tiger Fish call this part of the river their home, with catches up to 16kg not uncommon. Launching with a spectacular opening special, The Zambezi Grande Fishing Co. is offering the chance to land one of the world’s most prized angling fishes as part of an incredible package.

F I S HI N G PAC KAG E - U S $ 1, 9 9 5 P ER P ER S ON​ This exclusive 4-night package includes: • Charter flights to / from the Lower Zambezi and Lusaka • Accommodation in a Luxury Room at Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience • All meals • Standard stocked beverages • Two fishing excursions per day • Use of camp angling equipment • Wi-Fi • SES Medical Evacuation Insurance • Royal Zambezi Airstrip passenger access fees • Royal Zambezi Airstrip transfers • Meet & greet service on arrival at Lusaka International Airport and at Royal Zambezi Airstrip

also operate with a strict catch-and-release policy. The river banks are also home to big game including breaching hippos, elephants crossing from island to island and majestic lions emerging for a refreshing drink, as well as plenty of species of bird. These exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities often compliment any fishing excursion.

WH Y ZAMBEZI GRAN DE? Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience is a luxurious, privately owned game lodge on the mighty Zambezi River. Minutes from the Lower Zambezi National Park, the lodge offers a 5-star escape amongst untamed wilderness and plenty of indulgences. ​ Reflecting the serenity of its surroundings, the lodge has a seamless open-plan design so guests can enjoy the majestic views of the river throughout the day. Five free-standing Superior Suites boast unique riverfront settings, expansive verandas and outdoor showers, while five Luxury Rooms are tucked away in the shade and shelter of the lush vegetation, but still have views across the magnificent Zambezi. Both options provide serene comfort and contemporary finishes.

The best time of year for fishing is as the waters start to warm up from the end of August through to November. Great fishing is also experienced during the winter months, depending on tactics and method. All fishing activities are operated in 18ft aluminium boats which are fitted with 75 – 150hp motors and each boat carries two anglers and a professional guide including ample storage. Professional guides have all spent extensive time guiding on the river, so they know these waters intimately and will ensure a safe and enjoyable fishing experience. All boats are equipped with two-way radios and first aid equipment. Zambezi Grande can provide gear and tackle however they recommend that avid fishers bring their own equipment. They

For more information on Zambezi Grande or its launch offer, please contact rich@kamageo.com 71


KONKAMOYA’S: ELEPHANT ENCOUNTERS

Kamageo’s Marketing and PR manager, Izzie, witnessed her own elephant ‘stampede’ during her visit to Konkamoya. “Konkamoya Lodge was our last stop on our journey through Kafue National Park and by this point I thought we’d been pretty lucky with elephant sightings, but gosh, was I wrong. Soon after leaving the lodge on our first afternoon game-drive, we were literally stopped in our tracks as a large female stood confidently in the middle of our path. A few seconds after, as if appearing from nowhere, elephant after elephant came out of the bush to our right. For such large creatures and the number of them, I was surprised at how camouflaged they were.

Whether it’s their first time or their tenth, wild elephants are often on every Africa visitor’s safari bucket list, but where can you see healthy populations away from the crowds and in a real, authentic environment? Zambia, as a tourist destination has far fewer visitors than its more well known neighbours, so the country as a whole is already a good starting point to explore. However, if you want to be rewarded with a high level of authenticity and intimacy to observe the wildlife’s natural behaviour, then no doubt it’s important to be in an area where there are very few vehicles, or even better, none at all.

One hesitant baby stumbled out behind its elder which caught our attention and with that the herd decided to move on. However, to my surprise, in true bush-traffic fashion, the herd continued to grow and soon a train of elephants, made their way across our path. The elephants kept coming and I was in complete awe of just how many there were. It was as if they had come out of some sort of time portal, there was no way they fit comfortably in those bushes. A good minute passed and all but one of the elephants had passed by. The last bull remaining decided to give us a special farewell in the form of a ‘mock-charge’ and then they were off, disappearing into the abyss once again.

The southern sector of Kafue, (Zambia’s largest National Park), offers a vast amount of untouched and undisturbed wilderness. Whilst Kafue as a whole is known for the diversity of wildlife rather than numbers, huge herds of elephants inhabit the protected area. The area in which Konkamoya Lodge sits is almost guaranteed to reward you with these sightings either on a game drive or by the lapa.

I can confidently say that my naivety got the better of me on my trip through Kafue. As it was my first ever safari, I was told that I wouldn’t see the large numbers that more developed National Parks offer and maybe I didn’t, but with elephants in mind, I think I saw enough to last a lifetime!”

Sitting metres away from the large Itezhi Tezhi lake and xxxkm from the nearest lodge, Konkamoya offers a truly private, wilderness experience and with the lake being a major waterhole for wildlife, it’s no wonder these huge herds gather around and often.

For more information on Konkamoya Lodge or south Kafue, please contact rich@kamageo.com 72


Best of the West DISCOVER THE BEST OF ZAMBIA’S WILD WEST WITH JEFFERY & MCKEITH SAFARIS

Lying in the far west of Zambia, Liuwa Plain National Park is truly one of a kind. Not only is it home to Africa’s second largest wildebeest gathering and the descendants of the world-famous Lady Liuwa, but it also boasts an incredibly high density of hyena, a flourishing population of cheetah and over 300 bird species including the endangered Wattled Crane. However, despite its rich diversity of wildlife, its remoteness has often meant that guests struggle to combine it with other better known destinations. Coupled with the fact that its peak season months (May/June and Oct/Nov/Dec) coincide with non-peak months in other areas of Zambia - it’s not always been an easy sell for tour operators. Fortunately, that’s all about to change thanks to Jeffery & McKeith Safaris who have launched a new mobile safari which allows guests to experience both the Liuwa Plain National Park and the magnificent Kafue National Park in a single trip. With an unrivalled knowledge of the Kafue and arguably some of the best guides in Liuwa, we can’t think of a better company to show off Zambia’s wild west! For more information, please contact rich@kamageo.com 73


Zambia’s Fresh New Looks

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KAFUN TA RIVER LODGE, S OUTH LUAN GWA Since early January, a team of over 100 workers braved the rains and worked tirelessly to update the Kafunta River Lodge to even higher standards. The lodge reopened on 2nd April and we think it is the very best Kafunta has ever looked. The layout of the lodge remains the same, instead they have focused on the decor, style and overall feel, bringing a fresh, updated design without losing the warm, laid-back charm that Kafunta has always exuded. The main area now consists of a larger lounge, dining area and bar with more seating and new furniture. The addition of comfy chairs in a variety of shapes and materials, some locally made crafts and eclectic decor gives off a stylish Zanzibar/North African feel. All decking has been redone and the infinity pool and bathtub have both been given a bit of a facelift. The outside of all the guest rooms and reception area are now natural beige in colour, blending seamlessly with nature. Inside, the guest rooms have been re-decorated and bathrooms completely redone with a more stylish look. The two suites have seen a major transformation having opened up the loft-style mezzanine to accommodate two extra day beds in addition to the now large double bed downstairs, giving families a bit more space. The bathroom has also been redone and the layout is more open. There’s no more “sleep out” as the new layout lends itself to much better accommodate families of three or four. All in all, the lodge is more up-to-date in style, but still retains the laid-back atmosphere that Kafunta’s guests know and love.

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F LAT D OG S CAM P, S O U T H L UA NGWA This season, Flatdogs Camp has undergone several renovations to add a new lease of life into camp for new and returning guests to enjoy. Standard tents are all new with toilet systems and a more modern design. Bathrooms in both the standard tents and chalets have been rebuilt with completely new designs, giving them a more modern feel, fresh colour scheme and additional luxurious amenities. The main focus of the new designs are space, light and privacy meaning the bathrooms are much brighter with extra space, boasting better views of the surrounding bush. Improving these views allows guests to admire the tranquillity of the area, whilst watching the wildlife often seen wandering around camp. Flatdogs’ much loved Jackalberry Treehouse has also been completely rebuilt with brand new grass thatching, fresh touch-ups and a few new decorative designs. The treehouse remains entirely open with unbeatable views of the bush and the African night sky. Jessica Salmon, co-founder of Flatdogs Camp said “We have been very excited about our revamps around camp, and we are thrilled with the final results. Since opening for the 2019 season we have already had guests enjoying these improvements, of course not forgetting the elephants, hippos and even leopards who have been through camp to see what’s new!” Gemma from the UK (returning guest at Flatdogs) “The new chalet bedrooms are so lovely and modern, they are a big improvement from the original bathrooms that were there the last time I visited Flatdogs. There’s a lot more light and there also feels like there’s a lot more space too” 76


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ROYAL ZAMBEZI LODGE, LOWER ZAMBEZI Royal Zambezi Lodge has spent the past year undergoing and finalising its renovation to the highest standards. The refurbishment has seen the lodge being upgraded to offer two different room types, Deluxe and Presidential, each with private plunge pools that sit on the banks of the Zambezi River. Deluxe Suites The eight Deluxe Suites offer a contemporary, comforting and understated elegant feel. The airy canopied canvas and thatched tents nestle under mature trees and are each positioned for maximum enjoyment of the surrounding views in complete privacy. Natural tones, luxurious textures and comfortable armchairs create a secluded retreat. Presidential Suites The seven Presidential and Honeymoon suites epitomise the luxury safari experience with outside showers, copper baths and shaded day-beds, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the surrounding wilderness. The Presidential Suites ultimately offer luxury at a higher level and are ideal for honeymoon couples, special occasion getaways or for those who merely want to experience a more luxurious safari stay. In line with its new look, Royal Zambezi Lodge has launched its new website. www.royalzambezilodge.com

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KONKAMOYA LODGE REINVENTED Located in the remote Southern part of Kafue National Park, deep in the heart of Zambia, sits Konkamoya Lodge - the only lodge on the banks of Itezhi – Tezhi Lake. With no other lodges or camps around, Konkamoya offers the privilege of allowing guests to exclusively enjoy the amazing landscape and rich wildlife of this part of Kafue’s unique ecosystem. Konkamoya, meaning “follow the wind”, was founded by owner Andrea Porro in 2010. Now, after nine years, the lakeside lodge looks better than ever. The lodge has introduced 4 stunning new luxury tents, each 67 square meters in size that sit facing the lakeshore. Sitting on the deck of their tent, guests can enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the lake while sipping a cup of hot coffee or tea, making for an unforgettable morning. Two tents are able to accommodate up to 4 guests whilst the other two are more intimate, suited for couples. The new tents consist of entirely new décor and furniture, complimenting the newly introduced earthy colour scheme of browns, creams and oranges. Abundant game drives, Italian-influenced gourmet food and fine attention to detail, Konkamoya has always delivered, however now guests can enjoy heightened level of luxury, making it a truly unforgettable trip in Zambia’s largest and oldest national park. “The wind on which the emotions will fly, will soon bring you back to this little unique corner of paradise.” – Andrea Porro 80

For more information about this exciting news, please contact rich@kamageo.om.


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Behind The Scenes at Tafika Camp Being a seasonal operation, Remote Africa Safaris is accustomed to the annual camp building process which starts way before its first camp, Tafika, opens on the 1st May. The camp building approach is determined by its eco friendly and community minded ethos of building with natural materials and local skills. Sourcing, collecting and transporting materials to camp is a monumental task let alone organising and instructing the building team. This is largely undertaken by their foreman, Mr Chisoni, who manages the whole process from start to finish. With the welcome, excessive rain this emerald season, Remote Africa had an unwelcome change of geography at Tafika Camp and lost many metres of bank in certain areas. This resulted in losing two of their chalets, including their large family chalet. Not only did they have to rebuild and open camp a week early to accommodate a wedding at the end of April, but they also had to rebuild both chalets. Thanks to much hard work from the Remote Africa team coupled with the ingenuity and creative skills of their local artisans, the camp was built in time to welcome their first guests. Not long after this accomplishment, the team shifted focus to the bush camps and went on to build the Chikoko Trails camps. This entails a far harder task of crossing the Luangwa river with piles of katundu (luggage) and accessing the camp sites which can only be done on foot. Every item is carried in by porters, a feat only possible with the strength and resilience of the local people. At the beginning of June they welcomed the first guests into these camps, who followed the same trails on foot. During his trek through the Luangwa Valley in 1866, David Livingstone crossed the Luangwa river just upstream from the Chikoko Tree Camp river crossing point in much the same way as is done today.

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Spot Shoebill in the Bangweulu wetlands Remote Africa Safaris is offering the opportunity for their guests to extend their safari by adding on two or three nights to experience the Bangweulu swamps. This option is available for guests staying a minimum of 3 nights at any of the Remote Africa camps. offers great birding (though possibly no Shoebill sightings) and some amazing mammal spectacles.

For guests staying at Tafika or the Chikoko Trails camp, access is through the Lukuzi airstrip and guests staying at Mwaleshi will use the Mwaleshi airstrip. The flight into Bangweulu’s Chimbwe airstrip offers stunning views of the escarpment, wetlands and surrounding plains. On approach to Chimbwe you get a fantastic aerial view of Black Lechwe in their thousands roaming the grasslands.

Opportunities abound to see other common animal and bird species including Tsessebe, Side Striped Jackal, Sitatunga, Wattled Crane, White Cheeked Bee Eater, Rufous Bellied Heron, Lesser and Greater Swamp Warbler, Gallinule and a profusion of waterfowl.

Shoebill Island Camp is nestled alongside the Bangweulu wetlands, north of Kasanka in Northern Zambia. It is one of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife secrets with diverse flora and fauna, exceptional birdlife and many endangered species on offer.

Shoebill Island Camp is tucked away in indigenous thicket and faces out onto the wetlands. The camp was refurbished and reopened in 2018 and has four comfortable tents (two double and two twin) with en-suite facilities and electricity. Activities include canoeing through the swamps, walking and driving. For enthusiastic visitors, walking in the swamps is also an option for better views of the iconic Shoebill and possibly, a Shoebill nest. Being the only camp in Bangweulu, you are guaranteed an exclusive experience in the remote expanse of the Zambian wilderness.

Home to impressive herds of Black Lechwe which are endemic to Bangweulu, the wetlands make a desirable and rewarding destination for keen birdwatchers and other adventurous visitors seeking to discover Africa’s hidden corners. An incredible diversity of water-birds and plainsbirds, including the most unusual and rarest, the Shoebill, are found here.

For more information on rates, opening dates and flights or for any further information on Remote Africa Safaris, please get in touch with izzie@kamageo.com

The main season is from late May to August when Shoebills can usually be seen on canoe trips. September to November 83


FOOTBALL FOR WILDLIFE John and Carol Coppinger, founders of Remote Africa Safaris, set up The Tafika Fund in 1998 in order to become actively involved in sustainably uplifting the surrounding community of Mkasanga village in Mwanya. Carol has managed the fund ever since it began and the majority of the staff working at Remote Africa Safaris’ four camps, hail from the Mwanya area. Inspired by David Back who, together with his wife Karen, worked in the Luangwa Valley for several years, a ‘Football for Wildlife’ league was started in 2015. The objective of the League is to build awareness and enthusiasm for wildlife conservation across a wide reach of the Luangwa Valley’s residents through their abiding love of soccer. The initiative is ably managed by Jimmy Sakala and Carol Coppinger and funded by The Tafika Fund.

Transport for the teams to move from village to village on match day is carried out by local taxis of all shapes and sizes. Referees and linesmen keep the peace amidst the bubbling enthusiasm of supporters and players alike. Each player, coach and official receives a match fee to ensure everyone reaps the reward from their efforts. Uniforms, whistles, flags and banners all with their team branding, are provided, associating each team to their specific animal and building conservation awareness.

The league involves teams from chiefdoms adjacent to both the North and South Luangwa National Parks. Each team represents individual villages, generating great inter-village rivalry and communication for the six week period of the league. Eight men’s teams have competed in the league since its inception, for the prize, The Kafupi Cup (named after Karen Back, a lady small in stature). In 2017 the football league was expanded to include a ladies’ league, offering encouragement and opportunities for the women of the Luangwa, as well as the men. This possibly marked the first time ladies played football in the Luangwa Valley in a competitive league.

These matches provide great entertainment for all, enriching the lives of the surrounding communities, creating a friendly competitive spirit and encouraging different villages to work together. Most of all, the league aims to promote positive awareness for conservation of the Luangwa’s precious wildlife, trees and environment in an atmosphere of fun, excitement and achievement.

The ladies league includes eight teams who all compete for the Shipikisha Cup, meaning ‘Be strong to go forward’. True grit and determination is shown by the ladies in learning both the skills of football and overcoming their cultural hesitance for this newly accepted female role in the community.

A donation of $5 from every bed-night in all Remote Africa’s camps is made to The Tafika Fund and a further $5 per bednight is donated to North and South Luangwa National Park conservation programmes. Guest donations and sponsorships add to the funds, which are inevitably topped up by Remote Africa to balance the books at the year end.

Much preparation is required on an annual basis to ensure the success of Football for Wildlife. Each team has a coach and a manager and training commences long before the league start date arrives. Uniforms and 34 footballs for the 16 teams are purchased in Lusaka through Valley Lodgeistics, the ever efficient and willing buyers for all the Luangwa Valley camps. Various UK schools have donated bags of used football boots which get distributed to a few lucky players.

For more information on the Remote Africa, the Tafika Fund or how your clients can get involved, please visit www.remoteafrica.com/responsible-tourism

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Be at one with The Bushcamp Company

instructor Valerie, also all subject to guests’ wants and needs.

With the importance of enhancing your mental wellbeing, practising self-care and appreciating nature becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle shift, The Bushcamp Company (BCC) is adopting a more tranquil approach for the 2019 season, offering Yoga as an alternative activity as well as re-introducing its successful river lunches.

The Bushcamp Company’s Amy Alderman says that;

“All of our camps have lovely areas suitable for yoga including decks and open areas with spectacular views” And relax.. Another option for guests wanting to feel closer to nature, but not sacrifice their game drives, The Bushcamp Company is bringing back its river lunches where guests can take off their shoes, sit at their table in the river and enjoy lunch literally enveloped in the surrounding landscape.

For more information on The Bushcamp Company and all they offer, please contact rich@kamageo.com Available at all of its bushcamps, as well as Mfwue Lodge, for no additional cost, guests are given the opportunity to opt out of their usual adrenaline-pumping morning and afternoon activities and instead enjoy a relaxing yoga session with BCC’s very own in-camp instructor, Shapur Ghandfourush. Shapur can move between all of the bushcamps at guests’ request. He believes morning yoga is always a beautiful start to the day and is also keen to introduce a short meditation session in the morning, more dynamic yoga in the afternoons and ‘Yin yoga’ in the evenings, (a slow-paced style of modern yoga). If yoga doesn’t suffice, Shapur can also offer meditation both in the morning and evening depending on guests’ wishes. This also applies to sessions in Mfwue Lodge with new camp 85


“Imagine missing 20% of your education because you are a girl... ... a girl without sanitary pads”

This is the harsh reality for thousands of girls and young women in Zambia. Kelly from Tukongote Community Projects (a community project backed by Waterberry Zambezi Lodge in Livingstone), talks about the reality of being a young woman in Zambia and how their Freedom Packs project is helping school girls gain the education they deserve. “Traditionally, girls just use rags which often leak, forcing them to remain home to escape shame and embarrassment. I believe even in today’s world it is something that many people, even women, don’t consider. I first came to hear about reusable sanitary wear whilst visiting a rural High School in Malawi and saw first-hand the positive reaction from the girls AND the improvement in their school attendance. At Tukongote, we decided this would be a fantastic way to help the girls in the local primary school closest to Waterberry. After doing lots of research we found that Project Luangwa in Eastern Zambia actually produces eco-friendly, washable pads (Ufulu pads, meaning Freedom) as part of their own community projects. We ordered samples and gave them to our own female teachers to try for Three months. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Siandunda Primary School is five kilometres from Waterberry Zambezi Lodge and we identified about 100 girls who could benefit from a set. We decided they should be packaged in a bright chitenge bag, along with underwear, instructions, a secret washing line, a flannel, a cycle tracking calendar and a “Girl Power” wristband. A donation of just £20/$25 buys a 86


The next objective is to raise money to revisit the same twelve schools over the next two years to make this a sustainable and long-term project.”

full pad kit and funds an educational project to help girls understand what is happening to their bodies. This kit lasts at least two years and helps a girl live life to her full potential, giving her the freedom to continue learning.

Visitors to Waterberry Zambezi Lodge and River Farmhouse can take part in a village visit to see how community efforts are helping Zambian children and families first hand. For more information on their community projects or to make a donation, please visit www.waterberrylodge.com

This was back in May 2017 and in July of that year we were able to reach our target and hand out 100 kits, but it didn’t stop there. To date we have now distributed 1000 kits to girls in 12 rural schools surrounding Waterberry. The reaction to this simple idea has been phenomenal and so often people say to me, I didn’t realise this was a problem or that it never occurred to them. We get lots of people donating during their stay here for a couple of kits, others go home and fundraise for the Freedom Pads projects and send enough money to help a whole class. Two years ago, the aim was to give this gift to one school, now we’ve helped 12 and it just keeps going from strength to strength. Sophia, our Tukongote Librarian, is a young Zambian lady and she goes into the schools and talks to the girls. They always start out very shy, but by the end of the session she has them smiling, laughing and even singing. It’s very important that the girls hear directly from someone who was in a similar position when she was young, about the benefits of the Freedom pads. We always encourage the female teachers to sit in and join in with the sessions. It is humbling to be in a room where such a simple gift can cause such enormous amounts of joy! And it is a privilege to meet so many hard working and inspiring young women with such beautiful smiles.

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Kaingu’s Front of House Superstar Kaingu Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park believes that the only way that large protected areas, such as the Kafue, can survive is by their existence being justified by the neighbouring local communities, in many cases, those in which their ancestors lived and owned the land that is now protected. Tourism is a very obvious benefit that such protected areas can bring to local inhabitants and is one of the few ways such (empty) areas can actually provide employment.

old fashioned and hard job, making the logs into planks with a two man pit saw. Sometimes camping out in the bush we would hear and see lions, elephants, leopards and hyenas.

While anti-poaching is always the sharp end of conservation, the reality is that economic change is what will, in the long term, protect such areas. KaingU believes strongly in employment, education and that many tourists want to engage and learn from local staff. They have seen far too many lodges where staff and tourists are kept at a distance and not able to interact. Not at KaingU. Being something that they feel strongly about, certain staff members have success stories where they have been able to take tourism generated employment and use it as a genuinely life changing positive force.

In 2015, we approached Kaingu Lodge to see if they needed any hardwood which they did so, and we camped out for days producing planks for them. While getting to know them, I submitted an application for a job and luckily they employed me immediately as a waiter. By 2016 the owners of Kaingu were so happy with my work they wanted to further my prospects and were happy to pay for further education. In 2017 I started a distance learning course in hospitality management at the Zambia Institute of Tourism. It has been hard work to study and take time off from the lodge for exams in Lusaka, but so far I have been passing and should finish this year.

Benny, who is regularly described as KaingU’s ‘front of house superstar’, is someone who has taken an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.

B E NNY ’ S STO RY: “My name is Benson Kaloza and I am aged 26 years old. I am currently a management trainee and barman/waiter at Kaingu Safari Lodge and I would like to tell you a little bit about my background so you can understand how tourism benefits people.

To me hospitality means to receive and treat guests in a warm, friendly and generous way. I really enjoy it as I get to meet and interact with various races from all over the world. I really like it when guests come back from an activity and are excited to have seen animals in our area. This makes me proud of my people, my lodge and my job. Helping people to be happy is a very rewarding job.

I was raised by my grandmother in a village called Bushinga, about 28km south of Kaingu Lodge. Life in Bushinga was quite hard - no running water or electricity. I had to fetch water from a well 2km away, gather firewood and fish for our food, as well as help with her small farm. Until I was 14, I went to school barefoot. My secondary education was in Itezhi Tezhi and as there were no boarding schools, I stayed with my uncle. He had a welding workshop and life was a bit easier than in Bushinga, but I still had to help with domestic work. My uncle paid for my schooling, fed me and gave me a roof over my head. In 2012, I completed secondary education and had to do any available job to survive. I worked in a secretarial shop in Itezhi Tezhi and then for a truck owner loading and unloading his truck. As you can imagine, this was pretty hard work. I then got a job as a timber cutter, getting permits, going into the Game Management Areas and sawing trees. It is an

Many people have helped me in my journey, financially, materially and in terms of advice. Through hard work I have come from a tiny village to being in further education and now have a good job. With my salary, I have built a small business for my wife in Itezhi Tezhi selling hair products. Overall we have been able to change our lives. As for the future, I hope in five years’ time I will be fully managing a bush camp or small lodge. In ten years’ time I would like to be running my own food outlet and one day I would like to be running my own Safari Lodge. At the end of the day if it wasn’t for tourism I might still be loading and unloading lorries or camped out sawing timber in the bush. “ 88


2 8 YEAR S OF PRO FLIG HT In April, Proflight celebrated its 28th year in operation. Founded in 1991 by ex Zambia Airways pilot, Tony Irwin, Proflight began as a charter company providing services throughout Zambia and the region, with its first scheduled flight operating to Mfuwe in 1997, three times a week. Schedules grew from 1997, as did the fleet and in 2005 Proflight purchased its first turbo-prop aircraft which started daily scheduled flights to the Copperbelt. Since then the airline has continued to expand its turbo-prop fleet and acquired its first Jet in 2015.

To this day, there are still a couple of employees who have been for Proflight throughout the 28 years! Proflight’s newest addition to its fleet is the ‘Dash 8 Q300’ 50 seat aircraft which it purchased in 2018. Now successfully put onto the Zambia register and ready to fly, it’s the first of its kind to be operated in Zambia. Proflight believes it will be an excellent product for servicing the business and tourism markets in Zambia. Happy Birthday, Proflight!

JOIN T N ATION AL C ON SERVATION ACTION PL AN FO R CH EETAH S AN D WILD DOG IN ZAMBIA

NEW CH ARTER FLIG HTS: L I V I N G STO N E - ROYA L A I R ST R I P - L U S A KA

The development of a joint national conservation action plan for the Wild Dog and Cheetah is currently underway due to the continued reduction in range for the two species across Zambia. Cheetahs now mostly remain in protected areas found in western Zambia such as Liuwa and Kafue and have not been seen in South Luangwa National Park for almost a decade and only one male cheetah has been spotted in Lower Zambezi during that period. Wild dog has a wider distribution than cheetah, however it is still reducing due to threats of disease, poaching and deliberate, if not indirect, snaring.

To make connectivity even easier, Royal Zambezi Lodge has launched “seat-in-plane” charter flights connecting Livingstone to its Royal Airstrip and Lusaka. Experience the magic of Victoria Falls in Livingstone and then make your way to the wilderness of the Lower Zambezi in just under two hours by plane. For flight timing guidelines, please contact the RZL flight’s reservations team at flights@royalzambezilodge.com.

Speaking during the launch of the Rhino Conservation and Management Plan 2019-2023 and Cheetah and Wild Dog National Plan, Minister of Tourism and Arts, Charles Banda, stated that the Zambian government recognises that cheetah and wild dog are not only important to the ecological functions of its protected areas, but to tourism development. They are charismatic species that are part of the top five large carnivores found in Zambia and help to draw tourists to the country so, therefore, have an important place in the promotion of tourism to Zambia. The joint development action plan came into being as cheetah and wild dog have common behaviour patterns and face similar threats.

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MAKE MORE OF MAURITIUS Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) has tasted Kamageo with marketing their destination with digital consumer marketing, social media, Promotions, PR, and trade marketing campaigns all set to be launched soon.. Different creative concepts for specific target segments are already in development, which will include campaigns for newlyweds, empty-nesters, families and golfers. These segments have long been Mauritius strongholds, but increased competition has prompted extra marketing. Rather than focus solely on beaches, we will be highlighting rich culture, moth-watering cuisine, the range of adventure activities and the incredible history of the island. To find out more ans to play a aprt in our plans, contact Country Manager, Izzie Ludbrook at izzie@kamageo.com or Head of Trade, Nadia Alam at nadia@kamageo.com

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