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  • Writer's pictureTyrone McKeith

How does my safari actually help conservation?

Today, most safari camps and companies give back, either to local communities in or nearby to where they operate, or by supporting conservation projects. If you want to make sure that the safari camp you are staying at has true ethics and is not green-washing then do not feel afraid to ask the hard questions to your agents or directly to these operators.

‘You say that a stay with you helps conservation, but how?’

In the case of Classic Zambia Safaris (CZ) our stand-out contribution is with the founding formation and continued intrinsic support and operation of the non-profit NGO ‘Musekese Conservation Ltd.’ (MC).

What sets the link between CZ and MC apart is that they are inextricably linked – they are both founded by the same Directors yet they are separate entities (legally) entirely. The dynamic has been tough for many peers to get their heads around, ‘what do you mean tourism = conservation?’ ‘how can you do both?’.

MC was created on the back of the tourist dollar, not on the back of the donor dollar. The profits of the safari company were ploughed back into the founding capital needed to create an anti-poaching base camp, procure vehicles, boats, equip and train anti-poaching officers in an area of the Kafue National Park that needed it the most (check out the MC website here for more info). Unlike in-kind support that some camps and companies offer, such as the odd bag of mealie meal, or pair of hiking boots donated, CZ continues to send it's real-life revenues and offer n-situ logistical support to allow the operations of MC to continue to function.

The above is unique simply because CZ is owner-run. The Directors/Owners wanted to, felt they morally had to, and were ultimately happy to invest their life-savings into conservation outcomes. If the company was owned by outsiders, investors, or was floating on the stock-market in SA then would the use of all company profits be allowed to be ploughed into a non-profit venture (so no dividends or payouts)?

Aside to our proud and longstanding commitment to conservation with Musekese Conservation, we also support, by way of financial donation, ‘Conservation Lower Zambezi’ or CLZ who carry out a whole host of conservation and community projects in the Lower Zambezi region – our operations in this park donate a minimum of $12,000 to the cause, we are proudly Platinum Members. Further activities that Classic Zambia involves itself in outside of tourism are in the up-skilling and training of the next generation of Zambia’s safari guides. One of our Directors, Kyle Branch, has been instrumental in the creation of the new Zambia-wide guiding syllabus and examinations (through Bedrock Africa) – helping train and qualify some of Africa’s finest wildlife guides and ambassadors.

Lastly, CZ employs just over 70 Zambians, the majority of which are from the local communities which adjoin the wildlife areas in which we operate. Giving intrinsic monetary value to the wildlife and areas in which our staff work (by being employed as a result of the sanctity of these area) is ultimately the biggest conservation tool there is – more local employment = positive conservation outcomes.


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