Welcome to our October Newsletter!
If you don’t think time is flying by quickly, look again at this photo!
This is Luke, celebrating his 21st birthday! Yes, I know, we all still have in mind the photos of little Luke playing in the bush at Kafunta, but gosh, that was years ago!
And I also know that time is flying, because… it’s end of October! And the first rains have arrived, along with the first impala babies!
This photo was taken at Tafika. Life in the bush continues its cycle, no matter what.
I’ve been quiet since June’s newsletter but it doesn’t mean nothing happened, on the contrary. Here are the updates you’ve been waiting for!
Let’s Get Virtual
Even though Zambia opened its borders back in July, we didn’t expect international tourism to pick up significantly and our guests indeed preferred to postpone their visit to 2021, so we haven’t actually been operating at all this year.
Instead we’ve endeavoured to support our staff with sustenance packages, in the prospect of getting through this long crisis together.
Communicating this was important to Anke & Ron who couldn’t travel to Zambia either, and they’ve been staying in touch with the team on the ground.
We can see them on these photos, during a Skype call where all staff was invited to attend, ask questions and express their concerns.
Wildlife Take Over!
TJ, Wilson, Julius (below) and Levy have been paying regular visits to the bush camps to attend to various repairs and also check on the Malama community.
These ellies are obviously enjoying having the camp all to themselves 😉
Of course we’re used to seeing all sorts of animals coming through camp, but it’s nice to see them extra relaxed. At Kafunta TJ placed a camera trap right on the path, allowing us to check on the traffic, day and night!
A Very Big THANK YOU!!
As you know, with the lack of tourism across Africa, the local NGOs have been struggling to finance their regular programs, whether they look after communities or conservation. South Luangwa is no exception, and we’ve seen many creative fundraising initiatives in the past few months!
We’ve done our best to participate and we’ve been asking all our guests and partners to support and donate as often as they could. We are saying a big thank you to YOU ALL as the response has been fantastic and generous. We may need your help again in the future if the crisis continues, but in the meantime here are some updates on the various actions that have a huge impact here in Luangwa.
Project Luangwa doesn’t usually carry out food programmes, as the aim is to empower communities through better education. However with schools closed, families have struggled to feed their children who would normally receive daily school meals and the board of PL though it was imperative to help where we could.
Click on the picture to the left to hear this pupil from Chilongozi School giving thanks in the name of the community.
Only a few days ago, we received a large €500 donation from Kafunta kind-hearted guests Angela & Norbert ! Other initiatives and grants have been received by PL as well, and every new donation helps. Thank you!
THE LUANGWA WALK 2020
Back in our June newsletter I was talking about the audacious initiative that Nick Riddin (Remote Africa/ Tafika) was preparing: Walk the length of the Luangwa River between North Luangwa and the southern tip of South Luangwa.
After 16 days of intense walking and amazing sightings, they reached Three Rivers Camp where TJ hosted them for the night.
The next day they walked together the last 25km of this incredible journey.
Kudos to the walkers, it was a strenuous but rewarding experience for all involved. You can go back and check on the many beautiful photos & videos by searching #luangwawalk2020 on Instagram and Facebook. We’re expecting the final update for the fundraiser very soon, but approximately $35,000 were raised in support of Luangwa community and conservation projects. Thank you Nick, the team and all the donors!
We also took part in the Ride4Rangers bike challenge, initiated by the Africa travel industry in the UK but which quickly expended around the world, and backed by Tusk.org.
Last August dozens of cyclists rode a cumulative 30,000 km to raise vital funds to support rangers across Africa.
I was the lucky one representing Kafunta Safaris in this challenge. On the 20th of August I got on my bike and rode 61 km (according to Strava, but I like to think my odometer was right at 63!) to reach the summit of Belgium in the Ardennes. Thank you to all Kafunta supporters and friends who have donated a total of $1375 towards this fundraiser.
This sum is part of an incredible total of £329,000 or $428,000 raised by this initiative!
(including the match by the Scheinberg Relief Fund)
THE WILDLIFE RANGER CHALLENGE
Across Africa, 20 teams of Rangers ran 21km with their backpacks (averaging 22kg of patrol gear) to raise funds for their peers. Conservation South Luangwa had trained their team for weeks for this challenge and they accomplished the run in 2 hours 49 minutes! Well done!!
The last time I checked the WRC JustGiving page, it showed over $566,000 in donations, which will be doubled by the Scheinberg Relief Fund. This is an incredible success which will help support over 10,000 rangers and their dependents.
Anke & Ron also participated remotely in these challenges by walking in the Australian outbacks.
Click on the video links below to learn more about Conservation South Luangwa and the challenge.
With new waves of contamination spreading across Europe, the UK and the USA, the subject is sadly unavoidable.
Here in Zambia numbers remain exceptionally low with the latest update stating 414 active cases (actually declining), bringing the total number of cases since the beginning of the crisis to 16,243.
These good numbers and the proactive measures put in place by the Zambian government mean that the World Tourism & Travel Council has approved Zambia as a safe travel destination. In turn, we have put our own protocols in place and we are delighted to announce that we have received the safe travel stamp as well.
The low season is however upon us (rains have arrived!) and we know that tourism will remain very slow through the rest of the year. We’ll therefore continue to keep the staff safe through the next few months and we look forward to resuming operations on 1st April 2021 with the start of our new season!
We cannot wait to welcome you back at Kafunta!
I hope you didn’t mind that this newsletter was a lot more about the positive actions taken during the past few months than about wildlife. I thought it was important to share these updates and to thank everyone involved!
But I’ll end with some guest photos, to keep you going until the next newsletter.
Take care & stay safe!
Izzy & the Kafunta Safari team
Send us your own photos (taken in South Luangwa please) so we can share them on our social media and newsletter. Thank you!