From its people and businesses to wildlife and natural environments, Zambia needs you in order to continue surviving and developing as a wonderful wilderness gem in the heart of Southern Africa.
When COVID-19 hit Africa’s shores – after having forced most countries overseas to close borders for outbound international travel – the continent’s tourism industry felt the impact almost immediately. According to an African Union research report earlier this year, “Under the average (realistic) scenario, the tourism and travel sectors in Africa could lose at least $50 billion… and at least two million direct and indirect jobs”.
That’s why, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was an urgent call from tour operators and lodges for people to postpone or defer, rather than cancel their holidays in Africa as a whole and Zambia more specifically. This call continues today, along with encouragement for people to choose their next holiday in a country like Zambia that depends so heavily on the income brought in by visitors. And, according to WeGo Travel Blog, Zambia is the fourth safest country in the world to visit at the moment.
Who needs your support?
When we talk about the country of Zambia, we mean the local people and businesses that, while continuing to struggle, are using their energy and enthusiasm to rebuild livelihoods and help each other. In our October blog for World Food Day, we explained that the Tongabezi family is much wider than just those of us at the lodge; we work daily with the communities in and around Livingstone to support them in the ways they need.
© Ann Lewinsky
Of equal importance in Zambia are the animals and the wilderness habitats they call home. This vacuum of travel into the country has cut off essential funding for wildlife conservation, anti-poaching programmes and environmental management, which has the potential to undo decades of hard work in these areas. Not only does nature stand to be negatively affected, those that protect it and its wild residents are also without sustained work, which means they are unable to feed their families.
What are we doing to help?
Through projects that existed before Covid-19 and those that have arisen in response to the pandemic, the Green Safaris Conservation Foundation and all Green Safaris properties, including Tongabezi, work towards sustaining, building and empowering those they share their ‘neighbourhoods’ with. These initiatives span three areas – sustainable African wildlife conservation, community livelihood improvement, and people’s ability to deal with the virus in terms of prevention, hygiene and safety, and employment.
The COVID Kindness projects try to ‘reverse’ some of the enormous consequences of the virus. An inspiring way this continues to be done is through keeping up employment for as long as possible, whilst using team members to create positive change in their communities in the absence of tourists.
How can you support through travel?
Now, with Zambia’s borders open and people beginning to think about potentially travelling next year, there is great hope that as project resources begin to run dry, visitors like you will be able to support by staying at lodges and safari camps that direct funds to these projects. By choosing a destination that benefits from you travelling there, your experience is transformative not only for you but also for those you engage with and give back to along the way.
As Juliet Kinsman of Conde Nast said earlier this year, “What this crazy, untameable virus has shown us is we’re all connected. Nature is a sequence of closed-loop systems, it’s a circular economy or virtuous circle where all activity is paid forward. Let’s take nature’s lead and consider how to spread better health to those in need during these unprecedented and uncertain times”.
We hope to welcome you to our home on the Zambezi River, just upstream from Victoria Falls, in the near future and show you the incredible community and conservation work.