General News - July 2011
July newsletter 2011 - 31 July 2011
Zambezi Society Bulletin July 2011 - 28 July 2011
Read our July newsletter here
LODGE DEVELOPMENTS IN MANA POOLS - LATEST
After initial announcements from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority that three or four new tourism development sites along the Zambezi River at Mana Pools were in the pipeline, against the recommendations in the Management Plan for the Park recently negotiated with all stakeholders (including the Zambezi Society), there has been no further news.
However, details are now emerging of one of these: a new 24-30-bed safari lodge development proposal on the Zambezi River some 3kms downstream from the Park Headquarters at Nyamepi, and located at the existing Nkupe Camp Exclusive Campsite, overlooking the main river and the popular Mana Mouth visitor recreation spot (see the red X on the map).
The Zambezi Society has met with the consultants who are tasked with preparing an EIA for this project and we have presented them with a list of our initial concerns about this. We are now preparing a detailed Consultation Paper on this development proposal, calling for feedback and comments from Zambezi Society Supporters worldwide, in order to be able to provide a more informed, detailed and considered response from our constituency.
EMERGENCY MATUSADONA RHINO DE-HORNING AND EAR-NOTCHING COMPLETED
We reported in our May 2011 Bulletin that, in view of the massive increase in rhino poaching that is sweeping Southern Africa at the moment, an emergency Zimbabwe-wide "rhino management programme" is underway to improve rhino protection and management throughout the country.
In the Matusadona National Park, the first phase of this programme took place in July. All animals located had their horns removed and were ear-notched for on-going identification purposes. An intensive ground coverage operation is underway to confirm that all the animals have been accounted for. This will be followed up by an aerial survey in the dry months. The work was carried out as a joint venture with Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management, AWARE Trust, The Zambezi Society and SAVE Australia.
In the meantime monitoring and focused anti-poaching patrols continue.
Thank you to everyone who responded to our Rhino Rescue Crisis appeal to help keep these rhinos safe! They are still extremely vulnerable. Please continue to support our efforts.
LEOPARD SURVEY GETS UNDERWAY IN MANA POOLS
The first of several leopard spoor surveys being undertaken by the Zambezi Society research team has taken place in Mana Pools National Park. More are to follow in the surrounding safari areas during this year's dry season. This has been made possible with the generous loan to the Society of a 4x4 vehicle by Toyota Zimbabwe.
Researchers Justice Muvengwi and Matthew Mundy worked with a tracker from the Parks and Wildlife Authority to cover a 400 sq km area from the base of the Zambezi Escarpment to the Zambezi River which they had previously divided into transects. Searching tracks in the early morning over a period of two weeks, they found evidence of some 40 leopards. This number is not an indication of leopard numbers (the survey method is a lot more complicated than that), but it provides an index that can be used for comparative purposes with surveys in other areas.
Further spoor survey work is to follow in the Nyakasanga, Sapi, and Chewore Safari Areas.
The Zimbabwe National Leopard project is funded by the Darwin Initiative and is a joint venture between the Zambezi Society, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority and Oxford University's Wildlife and Conservation Research Unit (WILDCRU).
Humpback whales sighted Mozambique - 19 July 2011
Nuarro Lodge and Guludo Lodges, north Mozambique have both reported first sightings of humpback whales off the coast. Whale watching season lasts until late November and guests at the lodges enjoy regular breaching displays by these magnificent creatures as they protect and nuture their young calves in sheltered bays.
More intrepid guests enjoy kayaking, diving and canoeing amongst the whales.
Did you know:
Humpback whales sometimes launch themselves right out of the water in a behaviour called breaching.
The vocal range and versatility of the humpback whale is amongst the broadest in the animal kingdom.
Humpback whales swim enormous distances during migration, sometimes as much as 4000 miles each way.
Immigration delays and white water - 7 July 2011
We are happy to announce the opening of Whitewater Rafting again after closing for high water floods. Half Day Trips will run from Rapid N0. 11 during this initial High Water period. Traditional Full & Half day options will begin as the water levels drop
This is the biggest, wildest, most exciting Whitewater Rafting experience on the planet - the mighty Zambezi River! Take on the Grade 5 rapids and pounding white water of the Batoka Gorge below Victoria Falls.
Important: Immigration delays
We advise that Zambian Authorities at LVI have introduced new security features that are impacting on the processing time for international arrivals and departures. These new features include finger print and passport scanning plus photographing of every passenger that comes through. We have been informed that on average it will take +/- 4 minutes to process each passenger.
However we have already seen the impact of these new measures which are leading to congestion at the Arrivals & Departures halls and delayed transfers from LVI. There is a good probability that guests on scheduled transfers may be delayed waiting for others booked on the same vehicle that are delayed in the process.
Whaling and Diving
The first whale was spotted in Walker Bay (Hermanus) and there is much excitement as this marks the start of "whale season" in the Cape Region.