Matetsi Units 6 and 7 lie between the Zambezi National Park and the Botswana border, along the Zambezi River, and are National Parks concession areas, recently issued on long term leases to two new concessionaires. They are both beautiful areas, and Unit 7 is strictly photographic while Unit 6 will have photographics along the river section and hunting in the back area, with the hunting to be phased out over time – practical land use programs.

I have been assisting the new concessionaire on Unit 7, John Gardiner, for over a year now, and he has shown his commitment to conserving and developing the wildlife – he is currently drilling six new boreholes on the unit, to add to the existing waterpoints. These boreholes will allow for the spread the game throughout the area, much of which is Kalahari forest with interspersed seasonal pans, some of which will now become permanent. This unit will develop once again into being a great game area over the next few years
However, in over a year of driving around Unit 7 I have yet to see a “trophy sized” adult sable, waterbuck or kudu bull! This demonstrates the damage done by the “ration hunts” when a dodgy operator was given a quota, but in collusion with certain individuals, had an unlimited offtake on these areas, with false TR2’s issued etc. and using quota transferring methods where the animals are then claimed off private land for export purposes. The areas were then under Matetsi Station, but have since been transferred to under the management of Zambezi Camp, and are now well under control again, and the mature animals will soon reappear. One shudders to think how many animals were hunted illegally on these areas!!!
Both areas are showing the years of neglect from when the old concessionaires failed to undertake their responsibilities (for various reasons), and did not pump waterholes, did not maintain roads etc, but are well on the right path for recovery and I do not doubt will be returned to their former glory! I wish the new concessionaires well!

From : Bhejani Trust, By Trevor Lane

7 April 2015