I came back on Sunday after a quick dash into Hwange National Park with some friends. We left on Thursday and went to Sinamatella – 2-3 hours’ drive. At Sinamatella we enjoyed the wonderful view over the valley in front. The following day we drove through the park and stayed at Main Camp. The next day was a touring day down to Ngweshla and back again. For a bit of luxury we stayed at Hwange Safari Lodge on Saturday night. It was a great trip because it was easy and affordable. It made me think about Zambia’s parks and the government’s desire to promote domestic tourism. The Zambia government wants private companies to reduce their prices to make domestic tourism more affordable. But Zimbabwe has it already. They have their camps within the parks which are run by Zim
Parks. The camps do not need licences or levies; they don’t pay tax. Best of all, the money goes straight into government coffers. We paid US$100 for a 4-bed lodge. The lodge had kitchen, barbecue site outside the back door; it had bath, shower and toilet. All bedding and towels were supplied. A lady cleaner arrived to do the washing up and keep the place clean. Zimbabwe can afford to give good prices because the camps belong to the government. In Zambia, though, all our government camps have been taken over by ZAWA and used by ZAWA staff. The onlyfacilities we have in the parks now are private. Because of all the taxes, levies, licences, etc, it is impossible for them to reduce their prices. I think we need to build our own government facilities within the parks – only then can we reduce prices to promote domestic tourism. I don’t think that we should copy exactly the facilities provided in Zimbabwe (they are a bit dated now), but with a bit of thought, we could provide accommodation which will attract Zambians to visit their own parks and to enjoy their natural heritage.
Before I ramble on too much, here are some pics from Hwange:
We saw heaps of buffalo – a huge herd at Ngweshla and later on one at Hwange Safari Lodge.
Hwange has three camps – Robins, Sinamatella and Main Camp. Around the park there are also very small intimate ‘picnic sites’ where campers can put up their tents – the facilities are fairly basic but the experience is much more ‘back to nature’. These picnic sites are very popular in the main tourist season and need to
be booked weeks or months in advance.
Main Camp has a variety of chalets and cottages as well as a huge campsite. There is a bar and restaurant; a shop too. Even though November is not a popular time for tourists the camp was busy.
From : The Livingstone Weekly