350 km . 17 days . 3 National Parks . 1 valley
And he is off, today Nick Riddin from Remote Africa Safaris sets off walking the Luangwa Valley, proudly supported by a community of Luangwa based tourism safari operators, united in their commitment to both the people and the wildlife of the Luangwa Valley.
We caught up with him by Zoom before he set off to ask him why and how he was feeling about the adventure ahead… Sitting on the banks of the Luangwa River, keeping an eye out for elephant, the WiFi was a bit temperamental but if you fancy hearing what inspired him, what he is most looking forward to and some fun facts click here….
Overnight stops will include camping and nights at 8 different operators, including some of the better known and longest standing companies in South Luangwa. Camps which are not hosting night-stops have shown their support and interest in trying to promote and share news and updates on this initiative – a truly great sign of a unified destination. Read on to discover more…Whilst waiting for tourists to return to Zambia and with the tourism industry virtually at a halt. Years of building sound relationships between ecosystem and the communities stands to be wiped out in just a few months. Thousands of lives which rely on tourism as a source of livelihood, health support and education are on the verge of being left in the lurch by helpless operators and may well turn to the old ways of bush meat poaching to sustain themselves.
The objective of this walk is to raise £200,000 to support conservation and anti-poaching patrols, run a football league which supports around 250 individuals, fund conservation educators, provide concrete grain stores, to donate substantial food packs and hand sanitiser to communities and to aid with reducing animal-wildlife conflict and the risk of poaching. The overall impact is estimated to benefit in excess of 10,000 individuals although ultimately the goal is to ensure the well-being of the animals, the National Parks and the relationship between the communities and the wilderness that we wish to preserve, to preserve the sustainability of the Luangwa Valley.
It is difficult to describe the natural beauty of the Luangwa valley, its vastness and wilderness. It is something that must be experienced in person to truly appreciate its magnificence. The Luangwa Valley has the largest number of hippos in the world, the largest number of wild dogs in Zambia, a healthy number of lions, exceptional leopard densities and sightings, a growing natural elephant population despite rampant poaching in the 1980’s and Zambia’s only black rhino population. Nick and the team will collect any snares they come across and hand them over to Mulberry Mongoose who will fashion unique pieces of jewellery (depending on the type and quantity of wire collected).
Remote Africa’s community initiative, the Tafika Fund, was named after Remote’s flagship camp and is passionately run by Carol Coppinger. The fund aims at supporting the community beyond direct employment opportunities with the company. As part of the fund, RAS run an annual football league, Football for Wildlife, which sees players and match officials receiving match fees. This supports roughly 250 individuals across 9 communities in both North and South Luangwa, with the aim of spreading a conservation message through remote communities. In addition, RAS fund 12 scholars (full bursaries) and 9 post-school skills students (medical, teacher and other training). RAS also support the school and health clinic in their nearby Mukasanga Village.
Funding will be run through JustGiving using the name Walk Luangwa 2020. The team’s goal is to raise £200,000, though any support is welcome, it he support exceeds this goal then there will always be bellies to fill and animals that need protection. If you wish your donation to go to a particular component, please contact us and we will put you in touch with Nick directly.
The proposed budget breakdown for Walk Luangwa 2020:
Communities £133,000 – 1775 substantial ration packs @ £75 each
Football for wildlife £20,000 – 250 players and officials across 9 communities
DNPW patrols £22,500 – 195 scout patrols (@ £115 each)
Crop protection £15,000 – 150 concrete grain stores (£58), 150 chilli blasters (£42)
ZCP monitoring £5,000 – Staff rations, operating expenses and maintenance
Transport £3,000 – Transport to remote communities
Chongololo Club £1,500 – Conservation education training (Mukasanga Village)
Nick will be proudly supported by the Zambian Tourism Authority, Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Conservation South Luangwa, Zambian Carnivore Programme, North Luangwa Conservation Programme, Remote Africa Safari’s Tafika Fund, Project Luangwa and The Bushcamp Company Foundation. The walk will be documented by Matthew Blair and Mana Meadows from Conservation Storytelling.
If you’d like to show your support, please donate to the Walk Luangwa 2020 JustGiving page. THANK YOU.