Making positive change through travel is a goal of one travel company’s new safari into southern Africa to showcase the results of a $24,000 GoFundMe campaign to purchase, install and maintain four new solar-diesel water pumps assisting elephant conservation and villages in Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe.
Wildland Adventures’ Water for Hwange Conservation Safari is scheduled for June 10-20, 2019. It is designed as a special insider’s opportunity to be immersed into a symbiosis of incredible wildlife viewing, village life, community development and hands-on conservation efforts on the front lines of wildlife protection. A new fundraising effort has been set up through the Travelers Conservation Trust foundation to support the campaign.
The itinerary showcases the necessity of sustainable and reliable water sources for wildlife and clean drinking water for local villages. Guests will discover firsthand from local villagers how they now view wildlife conservation as essential to their livelihood and therefore keep a lookout for poachers who may threaten it. The per person double rate for this 11-day safari is $6,950. This includes a $600 tax-deductible contribution to the non-profit Travelers Conservation Trust that assists communities like those visited in Hwange.
The park is just an hour south of Victoria Falls, the first stop on this itinerary. From the bountiful falls of the Zambezi River, guests witness the arid realities within the park that has no major rivers. Year-round water supplies (including an aging infrastructure of diesel pumps and bore holes) are, therefore, unreliable for villagers and some 45,000 elephants. This region of grasslands and mopane woodland supports over 100 species of mammals including lion, leopard, cheetah, African wild dog and the rare sable antelope.
The Wildland Adventures safari will be led by guru safari guide Mark Butcher, a native Zimbabwean and visionary conservationist who directs wildlife conservation and community development in and around Hwange. Mark leads guests on walks in the bush to experience firsthand the impact that renewed water resources have on the wildlife and communities of Hwange.
Guests will assist in a pump run, which means working alongside villagers who tend to a system of water pumps (including the new solar hybrids) that pump water up into “pans” where animals come to drink. Game drives are coupled with village visits including school children, elders and tribal chiefs who help stitch together stories of living with wildlife, and the promise that solar water pumps and conservation hold for a better future for people and wildlife. Other tour highlights include mountain biking on elephant trails, close-up elephant viewing and photography from ground-level “look-up blinds,” and an overnight fly-camp under the African sky together with an elite Cobra unit of anti-poachers. The journey ends at a luxury camp on the banks of the Zambezi River with canoeing on the “River of Life,” the fourth largest river system on the African continent and the force that created Victoria Falls where this itinerary begins.
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