As promised to you all last month I will give updates on the visa situation. Is has been a major concern to all of us. We had a productive meeting with LSA and this resulted with TCZ (Tourism Council of Zambia) managing to submit our concerns to parliament. However on my attendance to the TCZ AGM we felt we needed to push this further and supply a more comprehensive report. Yet another meeting was called for in Lusaka and was well attended by the operators, we felt the only way forward was an unbiased report backed up by statistics from tour operators, local agents and our overseas agents. Adam Pope has been working on this presentation on behalf of TCZ. There was a slight miscommunication and this questionnaire was sent out to guests as well and thank you for all who responded to this – nice to see my newsletters are read! We have been following this closely and I have had numerous trips to Lusaka and we should have the report finalized by the end of the month and submitted to parliament in March. I will keep you all updated on the progress.
We do know that there is very little chance of the visa waiver system being re-introduced.

While I was in Lusaka I had the good fortune to attend the David Sheppard Wildlife Foundation fundraising ball. I have a soft spot for this particular charity as two of the baby elephants come from Luangwa – namely Chadoba and Chamilandu and some of you may remember a few months ago SLCS were looking for donations to help with the transporting of these two babies to Kafue national park – where they are now located, under the care of the DSWF and here is a short update on the elephants – extracts taken from the DSWF site.

Three baby elephants, tragic victims of ivory poaching in Zambia, were recently found orphaned and traumatised – left to die. They were rescued and taken to join Phoenix at the new Elephant Orphanage Bush Camp, a project still in its infancy but proudly supported by DSWF. Just as the confused baby elephants were beginning to stabilise and settle in, the annual rains came – exceptional, unprecedented and utterly unforgiving. The orphanage flooded and has suffered disastrous damage. Precious supplies have been washed away and the relentless storms have made communications impossible and roads impassable.

We fear for the safety of the keepers and the very survival of the babies.

After frantic phone calls a safer site was located and Phoenix, together with her little friends, wrapped in blankets to protect them from the elements, made the treacherous journey to higher ground.

The current rains are an enormous setback. Phoenix, our first rescued elephant and now a healthy six-year old, is proof of the value and success of this project. We must not give up on these heartbreaking victims of the bloody ivory trade, we must help create a living legacy for Zambia’s wildlife.

To do this we need your help. We need timber to construct stronger stables and bomas, we need heavy duty tents, more blankets and endless quantities of special milk formula to sustain these hungry babies. And, we need to continue to support anti-poaching operations in Zambia to help put an end to this despicable illegal trade.

I shall be visiting the project at the end of this month to see for myself what needs to be done and to raise support and funds locally. Details of how you can help can be found by clicking the appeal leaflet link above. I know it’s a big ‘ask’ but your donation really will make a huge difference to the survival of Zambia’s elephants and especially right now, to Phoenix, Chamalandu, Chodoba and little Zamma.

I really hope you can help and we look forward to hearing from you.

David Shepherd

Please contact the fund directly for further in formation or any donations.

The ball was a huge success and a great excuse for me to pamper myself with a trip to the hairdresser and wear a dress instead of the usual bush clothes! Herman opted to stay in camp – am sure this has something to do with a certain rugby match that was on! However I managed to party enough for the both of us.

This month has also seen one of our guests – Eva Bergman – sending us donations for the Kakumbi Clinic as well as the community school. On one of my trips to Lusaka I managed to source supplies for the clinic – the amount donated was $525 and this goes a long way to help the community – a huge thank you to Eva and her family and friends for this. I will do the school donations this month and give you updates on this.

I am sure we all agree that tourism is going though some positive changes and we have to ensure our communities and wildlife both benefit from tourism in whatever areas we operate. We continue to operate under the auspices of the Wildlife Conservation and Environmental Society of Zambia and 60 % of the accommodation proceeds are paid monthly to the society and are used in many projects, mainly the education of the Zambian children in conservation issues.

February has been a quiet month in the camp but we are open and ready for Easter bookings and still have some availability – having our own children in camp keeps us very family orientated and it will be a fun weekend with Easter egg hunts and a large Easter brunch.

Happy Easter and I hope to get back to you with good news on the visa fees situation
Kind regards

The Kakumbi Clinic

Comments from Colleen

I have arrived back from my travels and ready for the season. I am looking forward to 2008 and with it my new role in camp. This year is going to be an exciting challenge for me, as I will no longer be the teacher and Jill of all trades, but am also extending on to the managers role as well. I look forward to another great year with new adventures, new and old faces.

I was greeted back to the valley with the Luangwa in full flood – what an impressive sight. My trip back to camp was an adventure, I had to hitchhike a ride into camp with a boat! With camp as an Island we spent 2 weeks cut off from the rest of the world and our only way of getting out was via our banana boat. Patsy was happy to say she was president of her own little Island!! The water levels took 2 weeks to drop and are now at a comfortable level.

It’s been a very busy month for us, with the river being high we have been keeping ourselves busy with getting the gardens growing, a bit of painting and general maintenance. Herman is keeping himself busy with 2 new landrovers arriving, they are currently getting fitted with backs and safari seats – ready for their first trip as safari vehicles. Our fleet will now have 7 vehicles for game activities plus other camp vehicles.

Once the rains have stopped the roads are first on our list for a bit of TLC, however in saying this we are happy with the condition of the Chipata road and it has stood up to the rains and is certainly passable. We will also be giving all the chalets their annual face lift.

I have re opened the wildlife school, and have 6 pupils this year. We have started a new curriculum with the children. They are all working hard and continue to play with the monkeys at break time

Due to the rains we had a fair amount of wildlife in and around camp. The resident leopard was trapped on the island and her coughs and growls could be heard most nights. She did have several successful hunts and we did find the spoor to prove her successful hunts. We had 2 large male buffalo bulls; also known as dagga boys; in around camp, who at night were trying to find a dry spot to rest on the little island, we would often find the hoof prints very close to the management houses.

This is my one of my most favourite times of the year. The lighting storms and evening skies are breathtaking with the huge culumus clouds rolling into give us a lightening show in the evenings. The bush turns into beautiful shades of green and all the leaves are clean, and bright.

The park and camp are all looking beautiful and green, we have had several campers in already and the first of the overland trucks come through. We are looking forward to our next lot of guests and for more stories to be told.

Kind regards
Colleen and all of the Wildlife Team