Footsteps Through Time

Footsteps Through Time
A History of Travel and Tourism to the Victoria Falls - www.zambezibookcompany.com

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Secret of desert fairy circles uncovered


Gondwana Collection
April 29th, 2013
The bare circles in the grassy plains on the eastern fringe of the Namib have been a mystery for decades. Now it is clear what causes them: The ‘fairy circles’ are created by termites as part of a water storage system according to the findings of a long-term study conducted by German biologist Professor Norbert Jürgens and published in the latest edition of Science magazine.
According to the study the ‘sand termite’ Psammotermes allocerus clears the sandy soil of annual grasses so that rain water seeping into the ground is stored instead of being used by the grass. In areas with an average annual rainfall of 100 mm the sandy soil underneath the bare circles always holds more than five percent of water by volume – even after years of draught. Professor Jürgens obtained his data by taking readings in fairy circles found on the grounds of Namib Desert Lodge south of Solitaire over the course of several years. The lodge is part of the Gondwana Collection Namibia, which has supported the professor’s research projects for years.
The water storage system keeps relative humidity at 98 percent in the tunnels of the termites’ nest. This is essential for the survival of the insects. The storage system furthermore allows perennial grasses to take root around the circles. These grasses in turn are a secure food source for the termites in years of drought when annual grasses no longer grow because of lack of rain.
Psammotermes allocerus lives completely underground. Since it is active at night and early in the morning this termite is rather inconspicuous. This may explain why researchers did not solve the riddle of the fairy circles much earlier. Possible reasons that have been offered included theories of the ground being poisoned by Euphorbia and of natural gasses with the effect of herbicides. The circles even fuelled fantasies of little green creatures from outer space and dancing fairies from the realms of fairy tales.
The idea of termites causing the circles is not new, but so far the type of termite had not been identified and the presence of termites in the circles had not yet been proven. What is new and totally fascinating is above all the realisation that tiny, insignificant creatures are able to create an artificial eco-system and thus conquer a habitat which otherwise would be fatal for them.
Source: travelnewsnamibia.com
Information: Gondwana Collection
Photograph: Daily Mail







Friday, 26 April 2013

ZRA looks to new EIA for Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme

allafrica.com
24 April 2004

The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) last week kick-started the process of the commissioning of an environmental impact assessment for the construction of the proposed Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme.

"The Zambezi River Authority is in the process of preparing for the developments on the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme," ZRA said in a statement. "At these meetings, the stakeholders' inputs in the development of the terms of references (TORs) for consultancy services will be revealed. These TORs will be to carry out an environmental and social impact assessment for the proposed Batoka Gorge Electric Scheme on the Zambezi River," the Lusaka headquartered authority revealed. Meetings will kick off at the end of this month in Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Lusaka and Harare, ending mid-May.

The announcement signals the first serious step by the two southern African governments in 20 years to roll out the massive facility on the Zambezi River, three kilometres from Mwemba Falls and 54 kilometres east of Victoria Falls.

Read full article here

Greenpop aims to paint Livingstone green for UNWTO

The Post, Zambia
24/04/13
Greenpop, a South Africa based organisation last year extended its operations in the country through the launch of trees for Zambia, a reforestation and eco-awareness project which began with a three-week tree planting event and was followed by an ongoing campaign to inspire awareness about deforestation, climate change, tree planting, environmental sustainability and alternative energy sources.
Greenpop is trying to schedule a tree planting side event during the UNWTO general assembly to highlight the issues of deforestation and how it affects everyone in Africa. This year, over 5,000 trees are planned to be planted in Livingstone.
Q-Kindly update us on what Greenpop is all about and your objectives?
A-Greenpop is a social enterprise that believes green and sustainable living can be fun, popular and accessible for all. We believe in inspiring a greener, more conscious, inclusive movement and do this through tree planting projects, green action events, education, social media, volunteerism and activating people to do something. Greenpop started in September 2010 in South Africa and we have since planted over 18,000 trees in over 200 beneficiary schools, crèches, old-age homes, community centres as well as deforested areas in Southern Africa. Creative tree-care programmes have been implemented and children, community members and volunteers are getting their hands dirty, learning a lot and loving it. Greenpop is inspired by the exciting projects we have been coming up and the bright green future we see for Africa.
Q-What are some of the challenges you face in promoting green campaign?
A-The challenge is that people rely on charcoal for a livelihood and it is not acceptable to just tell people to stop. Sustainable projects are ones that offer alternatives and education do not preach about how people ‘should’ live. We are starting to include solar cooking into our project and continually looking into other solutions as well. We are so grateful for all the support from the authorities, schools, companies and partners in Livingstone – none of this would be possible without the Livingstone community
Q-What does the hosting of UNWTO mean to your organisation?
A-It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase Livingstone as a green and eco-tourism hotspot. Globally people are looking for responsible tourism options and we’d like to be involved in promoting Livingstone in this way. We also feel, delegates should be invited to plant trees and are hoping to run a planting side event during the UNWTO as well as offer delegates chance to buy a tree for Livingstone to compensate for their travel footprint. We would like to highlight the issues of deforestation and how it affects all of us in Africa. It’s really important to work together (all of us in Africa) as this issue and issues of Climate Change are not country specific – we are all in this together. We would also like to highlight to tourism delegates that greening and green tourism is the way to go and it is the trend globally. Greenpop’s media partner Makhulu has also just won the United Nation forum on Forests Short Film Award for Africa – the film is about a Zambian forest hero Lloyd Maanyina from Livingstone who was a charcoal seller and is now a tree grower. We believe this video should be shown at the UNWTO. We would also like to have an exhibition space to sell trees that delegates can donate to Livingstone to compensate for their travel footprint.
Read full article here





Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Poachers kill 25 elephants in Western Province

Zambia Daily Mail
12 April 2013
The killing of over 25 elephants by poachers in the past year is negatively affecting the tourism sector in Western Province.
Western Province permanent secretary Emmanuel Mwamba says over 25 elephants have been killed over a period of one year by poachers in Sioma Ngwezi National Park, and from Sesheke and Senanga districts.
Mr Mwamba said in a statement released from Mongu recently that the endangered species are being hunted and killed for their ivory tusks. He said the numbers of elephants killed so far is alarming considering it takes many years for an elephant population to grow to a sizeable number. "The provincial administration is promoting tourism and feared the criminal action of poachers is negating their efforts hence should be discouraged," he said.
Mr Mwamba said Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) had so far recovered 49 tusks weighing 267kgs and has since directed the authority area warden in the province to immediately halt the high cases of elephant poaching in the area... He urged the authority to pursue the court cases with keen interest, adding the recent cases involving suspected poachers found with 10 ivory tusks in Sesheke and those found with 18 pieces of ivory tusks in Senanga, must be prosecuted to their logical end. He said his office had taken interest in the cases to ensure justice was served and the rampant killing of elephants stopped. He urged ZAWA to tighten security control and searches in the region, especially on entrance and exit routes.
Read the full article here.




Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Too many elephants in African parks?

Source: www.aljazeera.com
Date: 21/04/13
Opinion by William G Moseley
Do high elephant numbers drive down total biodiversity, including other types of wildlife which tourists come to see?
Photo Credit: Pete Roberts
International environmental organisations have been working in southern Africa for decades to support parks and conservation efforts in the communities adjacent to them. While these efforts have been beneficial in some areas, an obsession with the protection of certain high profile species, such as the African elephant, has actually been counter-productive in some cases. While the numbers of African elephants are declining globally - and these animals certainly deserve protection in many regions - in other areas their numbers are so high that they are causing overall declines in biodiversity.
Botswana's Chobe National Park covers approximately 11,000 square kilometres and has an estimated elephant herd of 70,000. International visitors to the park are often treated to an amazing scene of hundreds of elephants bathing in the Chobe River or frolicking on nearby plains. But biologists estimate that the park actually has seven times the number of elephants it can reasonably support over time. The result is a landscape within the park that is heavily degraded as elephants - while a delight to those on photo safari - are incredibly destructive as they uproot trees and trample vegetation. High elephant numbers also drive down total biodiversity, including other types of wildlife which tourists come to see.
International conservation agencies have been working with communities around the Chobe National Park to encourage the conservation of elephants. In exchange for cooperation in elephant conservation, local communities receive a share of ecotourism revenues as a reward and to compensate them for crop losses due to raiding elephants. While support and collaboration with local communities is good and only fair, especially considering the costs people endure by living close to wildlife, the goal of protecting elephants at all costs seems misguided in this situation.
...So why do international conservation organisations and some governments, like that of Botswana, persist in the excessive protection of some sub populations of elephants even when it is bad for biodiversity and local livelihoods? The answer varies from an irrational obsession with - and narrow focus on - certain high profile species, to a more legitimate concern that the culling, or controlled killing, of elephants in some areas may foster hunting in other areas where elephant numbers are low.
Animal rights activists also decry the killing of any wildlife, much less elephants which are known to have strong familial bonds and mourn the loss of deceased members. Still others believe that culling will depress ecotourism revenues, either directly through a diminished safari experience or, indirectly, when international protests over controlled elephant culling dissuade tourists from visiting certain countries.
...Global conservation organisations, some governments and ecotourists must move away from a paradigm of preservation at all costs of certain high profile species and adopt more of an ecosystem perspective. We must also realise that some species may be endangered or threatened at the international or regional scale, but actually exist in too high a number in some parks and conservation areas. This blindness to "too much of a good thing" is often detrimental to the livelihoods of rural people who live near parks, diminishes the ecotourism experience, and destroys biodiversity, the very objective of conservation.
William G Moseley is a human-environment geographer and professor at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He formerly served as a visiting scholar in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Botswana, Gaborone.
Read full article here.









'New Town' for Victoria Falls?

REPOST: UPDATED COMMENT

The Standard - www.thestandard.co.zw
14 April 2013

The Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry has secured prime land for a new 'Victoria Falls City' in the resort town.

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi said last week that the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development had already transferred 1,200 hectares of prime land from the Hwange District Council to build the new city. "We are not going to interfere with the old Victorian setting, we will leave it intact. But going backwards towards the airport, 1,200 ha under the Hwange District Council has been transferred to us to create a new city," Mzembi said.

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe is expected to launch the Tourism Policy next month with a roadmap on how the industry operates.

Full story here.

UPDATE: Comment by Gill Standen, 22/04/13, www.eturbonews.com

Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism, stated that land had been allocated for a new Victoria Falls City. The city [is] to be modeled on Niagara Falls City and be home to hotels, theme parks, and casinos. 1,200 [hectares] has been allocated to the project on the road to the airport. There are also plans to develop Kariba and Masvingo for tourism.

I think we have heard all this before. When the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) meeting was announced to take part at the Victoria Falls, to be shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe government pledged to build massive infrastructure. It didn’t happen. It didn’t happen for two reasons. Firstly the government has no money, and secondly the private sector would not take on the challenge. The situation has not changed.

Until Zimbabwe sorts out its political situation and tourists feel comfortable visiting Zimbabwe, the tourism industry cannot be revived. So, the plan to build a new Victoria Falls City will be a pipe dream and maybe is just being mooted for political means.

Read full article here.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Kuomboka takes place amid tight security and delays

Kuomboka takes place amid tight security
The Post, Zambia
21 April 2013

Security was tight yesterday when Litunga Imwiko II accompanied by Vice-President Guy Scott kicked off the Kuomboka ceremony of the Lozi people in Mongu.

Several security officers surrounded the Litunga's palace while others positioned themselves on the periphery of Lealui Royal Village following threats of subversive acts by individuals opposed to the holding of this year's ceremony. Western Province police commissioner told The Post on Friday that some unknown individuals had been distributing flyers in Mongu discouraging people from attending this year's Kuomboka ceremony.

However, all was calm and serene when Vice-President Scott, who represented President Michael Sata at this year's ceremony, touched down at Lealui in the company of his wife, Charlotte, and was received by the acting Ngambela, Siisi, who is also Induna Kalonga within the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE)...

Litunga Imwiko and Vice-President Scott came out of the palace shortly after 11:00 hours and walked to the Nayuma Harbour where they boarded the Nalikwanda after a very short formal activity, where the Litunga was bidding farewell to Lealui Royal Village.

Police officers from the marine unit were on hand to ensure that there was order along the waterway between Lealui and Mongu.

Read full article here.

Tired Scott fails to read Sata’ speech at Kuomboka, dog thrown in canal to welcome Litunga
Zambian Watchdog
21 April 2013

Tired Scott fails to read Sata’ speech at Kuomboka, dog thrown in canal to welcome Litunga

...Vice President Guy Scott last night failed to read a speech on behalf of [President] Michael Sata and... abruptly ended the Kuomboka ceremonies saying he was too tired to continue with proceedings which took close to ten hoours from the time Litunga Lubosi Imwiko boarded the Nalikwanda in Lealui.

And in a dramatic development some Lozis opposed to the Litunga’s selfish and poor style pushed a dog at the receiving end of the canal just some few minutes before the the royal convoy arrived, while reliable sources from Lealui palace have told the Zambian Watchdog that some of the usual traditional drummers and paddlers of the Nalikwanda refused to perform their duties forcing the Litunga and his organising committee to pay for some paddlers and asking late Litunga IlLute Yeta’s two children to play the drums on the royal badge.

Scott, who was attending the ceremony for the first time as vice-president earlier delayed the ceremony at Nengwana where he is said to have asked the Litunga to make many turns around the Island in a tourism fashion for himself and his wife Charlotte. The Litunga only entered the Limulunga palace after 19:00hrs by which time Scott was too tired.

After reading a few lines of the speech that was initially supposed to be read by Sata, Scott told the gathering that it was too late to go through the speech but he would leave it and still be open for discussion. “Your royal Highness my government is committed to assisting traditional ceremonies like the kuomboka as they help maintain cultural heritage and are a tourism attraction,” said Scott before he excused himself to take his seat. Earlier he was seen making indications to the Litunga that he was tired and time was running out, making the Master of Ceremonies to shorten some of the procedures of the hastily organised ceremony.

Some traditionalists spoken to said it was not in order for the programme to be conducted in an alien manner just to please the Veep who was partly the causer of the delay. “We spent a lot of time in the water because he wanted to entertain himself and his wife, but at the end he decides to say it is too late to read the speech and shortens the programme,” said one of the traditionalists present.

Read full article here.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Zimbabwe Council for Tourism satisfied with Victoria Falls developments for UNWTO

From victoriafalls24.com
17 April 2013

The Zimbabwe Council for Tourism [ZTC] says it is satisfied with preparatory work going on in Victoria Falls ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation congress to be hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in August this year.

ZCT president Mr Glenn Stutchbury said the public and private sectors had initiated a range of activities aimed at ensuring the resort area was geared to hosting the event. ”Tourism operators in Zimbabwe are looking forward to this event, which will have a major impact on business levels and will have longer term advantage for the Zimbabwean travel and tourism sector.

“Operators are all playing a role in helping to make sure Victoria Falls is ready for the congress and that it can cope with the demands made by the large number of people who will be in attendance,” he said. A total of US$16 million is being spent by hotel groups on refurbishment of hotels, which includes the A’Zambezi Hotel that has already been completed.

A further US$4,5 million has been spent on upgrading the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, US$3 million on a major refurbishment of the Victoria Falls Hotel and US$1,5 million on a complete refurbishment and rebranding of the new Cresta Sprayview Hotel.

Other hotels involved in refurbishment, include Elephant Hills, The Kingdom at Victoria Falls, the Rainbow Hotel and Ilala Lodge...

“All of this work is either complete or scheduled for completion well in time for the UNWTO meeting, and all of it will have a long-term benefit in that the results of the refurbishment will be enjoyed by all visitors to Victoria Falls in coming months and years, not only those people present for the WTO gathering,” said Mr Stutchbury.

Public works being undertaken in Victoria Falls include extensions to the resort’s airport, widening and resurfacing of roads, construction of a new electricity substation, installation of a new water pipeline, improvements to fibre-optic links and bandwidth availability and upgrades to the Victoria Falls Hospital and other medical facilities.

Read full article here.

Zambia improves Victoria Falls border facilities in readiness for UNWTO

The Times, Zambia
30 March 2013

Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Charity Mwansa has expressed happiness at the construction of lavatories and other facilities at the Victoria Falls border in readiness for the August 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly.

The Victoria Falls ablution block is being constructed at a cost of KR350,000 while the National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) is constructing separate lavatories and other infrastructure at a cost KR2.2 million.

"I am quite happy with the progress... We, however, urge them to put up facilities that are also friendly to people living with disabilities," she said when she inspected the two projects at Victoria Falls border in Livingstone.

At the World Heritage Site, Ms Mwansa was equally impressed with the works and urged contractors to speed up works and ensure the project was of high standards. Project manager Ashraf Sayed said his team was on course to construct an ablution block and fencing of the border area between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Mr Sayed said the KR2.2 million project would be completed within 10 weeks.

Read full article here.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Promoting Zambia's unique cultural identity

The Post, Zambia
By Edwin Mbulo
16 April 2013

Senior Chief Mukuni of the Tokaleya people of Kazungula district says Zambia's biggest tourism draw card is the many cultural ceremonies which can be extended to Livingstone for tourism purposes. Speaking when students from Ndola's Nsansa Trust School paid a courtesy call on him at Lumpasa Palace, chief Mukuni said unlike wild animals which were the same in the southern African region, cultural ceremonies among the 73 ethnic tribes were only unique to Zambia.

"Culture is our biggest draw card, we are very lucky that we have 73 ethnic tribes as it makes culture our most important tourism draw card. Lions are the same in Namibia, Angola, Botswana and Zimbabwe but the Mutomboko, N'cwala, Likumbi Lyamize and Kuomboka are only unique to Zambia and what we have done is that the Bene Mukuni cultural arena [in Livingstone] has been surrendered to the rest of Zambia so that in July and August, those cultural ceremonies organising committees that feel that they can showcase miniature ceremonies can use it. Zambia is endowed with so many cultural ceremonies that no other country has, so this is a biggest draw card we have than any other country," Chief Mukuni said.

He urged youths to look after Zambia's cultural values as this was what made a Zambian unique. "In Africa to show respect one goes down and in Europe they have to stand up, we move in two different directions. But I urge you to look at what is actually yours that makes you unique, and until you travel you realise how special and unique we Africans are. Our friends in Europe live almost like animals; to visit your brother you have to be in a hotel," Chief Mukuni said.

He said despite sharing the Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls, Livingstone was poised to be a major attraction during the UNWTO general assembly in August because it had many cultural and natural attractions.

Read full article here.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Zimbabwe looks for UNWTO support

Source: Mail & Guardian

05 April 2013

Zimbabwe has asked its neighbours, including South Africa, to help it fund a prestigious UN summit at Victoria Falls later this year.

Zimbabwe is turning to other African countries, including South Africa, to raise money to host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly in Victoria Falls in August. It became clear during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the government would not be able to provide the required $11.2-million in funding.

Information gathered by the Mail & Guardian this week indicated that Zimbabwe Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi, who has been to several countries to market the event, which Harare sees as an opportunity to revamp its battered image and attract investment, was due to travel to South Africa this week to look for funds to host the event to avert potential embarrassment for the country.

Mzembi said he could "not discuss the country's shopping list in the media", but confirmed that Zimbabwe was seeking "capacity-building" assistance from its neighbour.

But sources close to the preparations said that, among other requests, Mzembi would ask Van Schalkwyk for an increase in the number of South African Airways flights to Zimbabwe as Air Zimbabwe would not cope, and for the possibility of other guests being accommodated in South Africa. It was not clear who would pick up the cost.

The government was expected to disburse USD $6.5-million from its own budget, but nothing has been paid out. Instead private companies Mbada Diamonds, Econet and Telecel have stepped in to help. The Zambian governmnet has budgetted KR32.3 million (about USD $6.5 million).

Mbada has promised USD $2.5-million, including paying for a publicity blitz on international media platforms. So far the company has disbursed USD $600 000. Besides this contribution, Mbada is also going to fund the opening ceremony, including the venue, logistics and meals.

Zimbabwe obtained a $150-million loan from the China Import-Export Bank to refurbish infrastructure, including airports, roads and hotels, ahead of the event, although most of the work is behind schedule and some projects, including building a new convention centre with a seating capacity of 4 500 in Victoria Falls, have been abandoned.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet failed to commit resources to the event after it was suggested the $6.5-million would come only when diamonds had been sold. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has made it clear that the conference is not among his funding priorities.

To get things on track, Mzembi has now hired a South Africa professional conference organiser after attempts by sections of government to use the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company were rejected by the minister. The minister has also engaged the Conventions Africa consultancy to help to raise funds. The company managed to source the $2.5-million from Mbada.

Conventions Africa spokesperson Susanna Makombe said this week the consultancy was confident it would raise enough funds for the tourism conference as it was now targeting the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

The consultancy has been given clearance by the UN tourism organisation to raise the money.

Read the full article here.

UPDATE (16/04/13)

South Africa approves $100-million (R900-million) loan to Zimbabwe.

Source

Avoiding human-animal conflicts

Zambia Daily Mail
Editorial
15 April 2013

Zambia has continued to experience the animal-human conflict at an alarming rate and hundreds of people continue being killed by wildlife. This conflict has largely been caused by human beings encroaching and settling in natural habitants of wildlife. The result has been many cases in which human beings are attacked by wildlife and many have lost their lives in these encounters or left permanently impaired.

Just last week, a rampaging elephant killed three people in Kazungula and sent villagers scampering for safety. It is very cardinal that the Zambia Wildlife Authority enhances educative campaigns for people in areas where human-animal conflict is likely to arise.

This is why we welcome the advice by the government that the 9,311 people who have encroached in the Kafue National Park game management area (GMA) should move out by July this year. Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President Harry Kalaba has said Government will have no option but to remove these people from the protected areas of the national park. According to Mr Kalaba, about 9,311 people have settled illegally in the GMA over the past five years.

At a time when Zambia is making efforts to promote its tourism, people should not settle in habitants of wildlife because they will disturb nature and subsequently discouraging foreign visitors. It is these illegal settlers who are exacerbating the animal-human conflict in the area and causing people to die unnecessarily. These same people even resort to poaching and further diminish the population of wild animals when we have tourist who want to come and pay to view our wildlife.

It is therefore, important that the illegal settlers from Kalomo, Choma, Itezhi-tezhi and Namwala in the Southern Province leave Kafue National Park as advised by the government. A team of officers from the Office of Vice-President is currently in Mumbwa to sensitise people, who have already settled in the GMA, so that they voluntarily move out of the protected area. If the villagers do not move, this can only result in more human-animal conflicts which will see more people being killed by animals.

The law clearly bans people from staying in game management areas and people who fail to obey this should meet the wrath of the law. Tourism is Zambia’s third priority sector after mining and agriculture and people must respect wildlife sanctuaries if the sector has to flourish.

Read full article here.

Calls for rapid response unit on human-animal conflict

The Post, Zambia
14 April 2013

Southern Province Minister Daniel Munkombwe has urged the Zambia Wildlife Authority to develop a rapid response system for dealing with human-animal conflicts in the district.

And two elephants among the herd that was terrorising people in chief Sipatunyana's chiefdom of Kalomo and Zimba districts have been killed by ZAWA.

Munkombwe, who visited the families of the victims recently killed by an elephant, expressed sadness over the deaths and described them as unfortunate. "The ZAWA should have a system of rapid response so that when an issue like that one takes place, we should be able to respond quickly and assist the people. That elephant could have killed more than ten people but... when they came in they acted swiftly and they killed the animal," Munkombwe said. "It's a very regrettable incident. So as government we will see how we can offer some assistance to the families. I know that the area is devastated by droughts and there are no crops. There is hunger in the area and when a thing of this type takes place it devastates the families, it's terrible."

And Kalomo senior wildlife police officer-in-charge, Kaunda Banda confirmed the killings of the elephants in Simwami area around 16 hours.

However, another stray elephant is reported to have been seen in chief Simwatachela area of Zimba district, still posing a threat to residents in the chiefdom.

Read full article here.

Avoiding Human Animal conflicts, Kafue, Zambia

ZAMBIA has continued to experience the animal-human conflict at an alarming rate and hundreds of people continue being killed by wildlife.


This conflict has largely been caused by human beings encroaching and settling in natural habitants of wildlife.


The result has been many cases in which human beings are attacked by wildlife and many have lost their lives in these encounters or left permanently impaired.


Just last week, a rampaging elephant killed three people in Kazungula and sent villagers scampering for safety.


It is very cardinal that the Zambia Wildlife Authority enhances educative campaigns for people in areas where human-animal conflict is likely to arise.


This is why we welcome the advice by the government that the 9,311 people who have encroached in the Kafue National Park game management area (GMA) should move out by July this year.


Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President Harry Kalaba has said Government will have no option but to remove these people from the protected areas of the national park.


According to Mr Kalaba, about 9,311 people have settled illegally in the GMA over the past five years.
At a time when Zambia is making efforts to promote its tourism, people should not settle in habitants of wildlife because they will disturb nature and subsequently discouraging foreign visitors.


It is these illegal settlers who are exacerbating the animal-human conflict in the area and causing people to die unnecessarily.


These same people even resort to poaching and further diminish the population of wild animals when we have tourist who want to come and pay to view our wildlife.


It is therefore, important that the illegal settlers from Kalomo, Choma, Itezhi-tezhi and Namwala in the Southern Province leave Kafue National Park as advised by the government.


A team of officers from the Office of Vice-President is currently in Mumbwa to sensitise people, who have already settled in the GMA, so that they voluntarily move out of the protected area.


If the villagers do not move, this can only result in more human-animal conflicts which will see more people being killed by animals.


The law clearly bans people from staying in game management areas and people who fail to obey this should meet the wrath of the law.Tourism is Zambia’s third priority sector after mining and agriculture and people must respect wildlife sanctuaries if the sector has to flourish. Tourism has potential to create thousands of jobs and earn people some income so that they eventually emerge from poverty. Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world and it has potential to enhance the country’s gross domestic product and create more jobs.Tourism will also enhance the country’s foreign currency which will go a long way in ensuring a stronger currency which is key in avoiding spiraling inflation.


One sure way of enhancing this growth in tourism is respect for wildlife sanctuaries so that the human-animal conflicts are avoided and wildlife growth flourishes.

Source: Avoiding Human Animal conflicts, Kafue, Zambia (15/04/2013)

Monday, 15 April 2013

Elephant kills three in Kazungula

The Post, Zambia
By Brina Siwale
Sat 13 April 2013

Three people of Chief Sekute's area in Kazungula district have been killed by an elephant.

Southern Province police commissioner Charity Katanga confirmed the incident and indentified the deceased as Rosemary Kankolo Mapena, 59 of Mwilu village, Chuma Siabene, 53 of Siakantu village and Francis Mwangala, 53 of Mufana village.

"The incident happened on Thursday and according to reports, the elephant which was on rampage first killed Mapena around 06:00 hours. Then it killed Siabene around 08:00 hours and then... pounced on and killed Mwangala... They were in the field harvesting," Katanga said.

She said the elephant had since been killed by Zambia Wildlife Authority officers. "According to reports from ZAWA, the same elephant is believed to have killed a man identified as Ketson Muzingwani, 35 in Zimba, who was killed around 02:00 hours about three days ago," Katanga said.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Crocodile kills tour guide in Victoria Falls

bulawayo24.com
09 April 2013

A Victoria Falls-based tour guide was mauled and killed by a crocodile after his canoe capsized in the Zambezi River on Sunday, police said yesterday. Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Billie Dube identified the deceased as Samora Mukombwe.

Dube said Mukombwe (30), who worked at Pioneers' Camp at the Zambezi National Park, was alone when disaster struck. "On the fateful day, Mukombwe left his place on a joyride in a canoe in the Zambezi River," Dube said. "While in the river, the canoe capsized, resulting in him falling into the river and getting attacked by a crocodile."

Dube said a 17-year-old fisherman, Henry Mudenda, who was close by, witnessed the incident and alerted Mukombwe's workmates. "Mudenda quickly alerted other employees at Pioneers' Camp and a search team was mobilised. Mukombwe was found dead after some time at an island about 200m away from the camp and the body being held by the crocodile in its jaws." Dube said the team managed to scare away the crocodile and retrieved the body.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Victoria Falls helipad talks begin

Source: victoriafalls24.com/zbc.com
(Thursday, 04 April 2013)
ZBC reports:
Government is set to the reverse the relocation of the Elephant Hills helipad in Victoria Falls as negotiations between government departments to find lasting solutions are currently underway. The negotiations, which are been spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry are expected to be complete soon.
Information gathered so far has proved that delegates at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly will benefit immensely from the helipad, a development expected to increase tourism receipts.
Shearwater Adventures Group Public Relations Manager, Clement Mukwasi said they are confident an agreement will be reached for the growth of the tourism industry. “We appreciate that negotiations have opened up between the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development and other stakeholders. This is indeed positive for the sake of the tourism industry,” he said.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter Mzembi said issues surrounding the helipad are being held at the ministerial level, adding that the relocation of the helipad will be retrogressive for the industry. “Negotiations are on-going and as a ministry, we have thrown our weight behind Shearwater as the helipad will be crucial for delegates at the General Assembly. We hope tenure concerns between the firm and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development will be ironed out,” the Minister said.
The Elephant Hills helipad has been under the spotlight since the announcement of Victoria Falls as the venue for the UNWTO General Assembly, with some stakeholders pushing for the construction of a convention centre at the site. The decision to relocate the helipad is being reviewed following information that there is no need for the construction of a physical infrastructure as tents will be put in place for the tourism premier event.





Monday, 8 April 2013

Kuomboka date announced

Sources: Zambian Media Sources

The long awaited Kuomboka ceremony of the Lozi people will take place on April 20, according to the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE). The date was announced on Wednesday by BRE through Induna Inete who was at the Royal Kuta in Limulunga Induna Inete said preparations for the Kuomboka were progressing well and the event was on course.

The Zambian Post reported that the royal establishment wanted a peaceful Kuomboka Ceremony and that no political rhetoric or attire would therefore be allowed. "This is not a time for someone to come and say 'we are winning in 2016'," Induna Muyumbana said. "This is not an occasion for people to say 'I belong to Linyungandambo or to MOREBA'."

He said this year's Kuomboka ceremony should be an opportunity for certain interest groups in the Western Province to forge links with the BRE and ensure a successful ceremony. "The date has been announced. Let us come together and take our culture forward. This is our thing, it is our heritage," Induna Muyumbana said. Induna Muyumbana further asked those harbouring hatred towards Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II to desist from such tendencies as they may earn themselves a curse.

Zambian Watchdog reported that tension has mounted among the Lozi following the announcement. Reports from Mongu say that people were not ready for the ceremony, and could not celebrate when there are many issues that remained unresolved, such the breaking away from Zambia.

In an interview with the Daily Nation, Linyungandambo secretary Ilukena Mukubesa expressed worry that people wanted to take advantage of the situation in Western Province for their own personal benefit. Mr Mukubesa charged that the people of Barotseland were not ready for the ceremony because of the anxiety and fear that had arisen.

He explained that the issue of Barotseland [independence] had left much to be desired, and as a result people were not happy. “ ...people are not happy with what is going on, and we are aware that people want to bring confusion during the ceremony. We really don’t want confusion in the area,” he said. Mr Mukubesa said the victimisation and intimidation of the people of Western Province had raised tension that had left the people of Barotseland with fear.

But sources in Limulunga have disclosed that the ceremony might be called off because many people close to the royal family were against it. The source further stated that the date for the ceremony was meant to blindfold people. “It is really difficult to have Kuomboka and even the royal establishment knows that. Ever since in the history of the Lozi the ceremony has never been held this late. Even the water levels have gone down... more in three weeks time,” the source said.

Sources: Zambian Watchdog/Daily Nation/The Post

Six companies shortlisted for Batoka Gorge Dam contract

Source: victoriafalls24.com/bulawayo24.com
04 April 2013

THE Zambezi River Authority has shortlisted six international investors for the construction of the 1 600-megawatt hydropower plant at the Batoka Gorge...

"Initially, the authority shortlisted 26 international investors, but they have been whittled down to six," Secretary for Energy and Power Development Mr Partson Mbiriri told delegates at the Zimbabwe-South Africa Investment and Trade Conference yesterday. Mr Mbiriri said the contract would be awarded on a Build, Operate and Transfer basis, but gave no time- frame. He added that the World Bank had shown interest in the project and "we are working with them"...

The Batoka hydro scheme is among Zimbabwe's long-term plans to deal with the prevailing power deficit in the region. There is also the Gokwe North project, with the potential to generate 1 400MW.

In the short to medium term, Zimbabwe is looking at increasing power generation at Kariba Hydropower Station and Hwange Thermal Power Station. Sino Hydro, a Chinese company, was contracted to undertake the expansion of Kariba Hydro at a cost of US$368 million. The expansion would increase Kariba's capacity by 300MW. Two bidders for Hwange project are currently conducting commercial evaluation.

The availability of power remains the biggest challenge to the economy, with negative effects on production and productivity across all sectors, including households.

Read full article here.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Livingstone airport renovations to be completed in July

Source: The Post
03 April 2013

Zambia's National Airports Corporation Limited (NACL) Managing Director Robinson Misitali says renovation works at the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula Airport will be completed in July. In an interview in Ndola on Sunday, Misitali said the terminal building would be operational before the UNWTO general assembly in August. He said the total cost of the airport renovations was US$ 20 million and that the terminal building would handle one million passengers per annum as compared to the previous 250,000 passengers per annum.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Captive elephant used in tourist elephant-back safaris kills handler (Livingstone, Zambia)

By Brina Siwale, The Post Online, Zambia.

Source: The Post, Zambia

A 42-year-old elephant handler has been killed by a captive elephant used in tourist elephant-back safaris at the Mukuni Big Five Safaris captive animal experience in Livingstone, Zambia.

Confirming the incident, Southern Province deputy police commissioner Milner Muyambango said Manson Mukotosi, a Zimbabwean and elephant handler at the Mukuni Big Five Safaris, died on the spot.

"Mukotosi was doing one of his routine works on the female elephant when it suddenly lost its temper and squeezed him. He sustained a deep wound on the left side of his thigh and he bled profusely. And the elephant also squeezed him so he died on the spot. He could have also suffered some internal injuries," Muyambango said.

He said the incident happened around 10:00 hours on Wednesday.

To read full article: The Post, Zambia

Links: Mukuni Big 5 Safaris