Well known horse woman, Alison Baker, looking out onto the Zambezi River

Well known horse woman, Alison Baker, looking out onto the Zambezi River

Victoria Falls National Park, Zambezi National Park and Chamabonda: it is really one park of amazing diversity set in a vast game area. From Victoria Falls, let your mind’s eye sweep up the Zambezi, racing through its islands and channels, quiet floodplains and tangled reedbeds, back through mopani woodland, spring lines and teak forest. Throughout the park there are so many places one doesn’t want to leave: every local you speak to will have their particular spot, their own amazing sighting.

Swing away from the river over the teak forest. There is still game here: elephant herds browse leisurely in the afternoon sun, buffalo and a flicker of something; eland? Then down the ancient sand-dunes onto Chamabonda grasslands: endless space and skies. A soaring eagle and silence like the eons of time.

Chamabonda vlei (vlei: a seasonal wetland or drainage line characterized by open grassland and few trees) stretches for about 25 kilometers from the entrance gate to Platform 3 at the western end. Its tributary branches off southward and links up with the Kalisosa. Completely different from the Park on the south bank of the Zambezi River, it forms part of a huge interconnecting series of vleis that extend through Stoffels vlei via Unit 7 and 6 onto Kazuma Depression and beyond.

For many years, largely due to lack of funds and resources, Chamabonda was neglected and pans dried up. Unvisited except for anti-poaching patrols, Chomabonda lay silent in the African sun.

Then in 2010, as Friends of Victoria Falls was formed, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and Trevor Lane of the Bhejane Trust instigated the revival of Chamabonda, garnering local support, manpower and generous donations of time and resources. There are now four pans functioning all year and Platform 3 has been rebuilt. It is an extraordinary achievement and the start of an exciting era of varied organizations working together to rebuild, expand and protect this beautiful Park and surrounding areas.

As well as the ongoing work of Bhejane Trust on Chamabonda and throughout this region, the Jafuta Foundation have revived Kalisosa as part of their invaluable work, and new concession holders on Unit 7 and Unit 6 are committed to re-establishing and expanding their wildlife populations.

Concession holders within Zambezi National Park play a vital role. An effective fire and land management program is being introduced across the region. Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust and Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit also do invaluable work.

None of this could happen without the support and direction of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. It is an ongoing process, with much to be done. But even now the increase in game numbers and diversity is dramatic. Take time or make time to visit the wonderful Zambezi National Park. Experience its magic, its beauty and be part of a glorious renaissance.
By Alison Baker

alison@yoafrcia.com

Zambezi horse trails

Bhejane trust

VFAPU

Vic falls wildlife trust

Source : Zambezi traveller

20 July 2015