It’s been four decades since our founding in Botswana in 1983. We’ve come a long way over these 40 years, not only in helping preserve wilderness and wildlife, but also in empowering marginalised communities in the areas where we operate. We’re as committed as ever to our ultimate goal: to expand the world’s wilderness, together. You, our guests, play a vital role in this.
Just by staying at our conservation-minded camps in the Zambezi Region you're making a difference. From Zambia's Shumba (Kafue National Park) and Toka Leya (Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park), to Zimbabwe's Little Makalolo (Hwange National Park), combine classic safari country with the awe-inspiring Zambezi River and Victoria Falls, and discover how low-impact tourism is changing lives.
The conservation impact you’ll be supporting
In the last two decades in Zimbabwe and Zambia, we’ve spent more than USD4 million in national park fees and permits. The impact this has on conservation, is matched in the community, with 3,000 lives uplifted through employment and community projects managed by our non-profit Children in the Wilderness (CITW).
In Zimbabwe, we assist concession management through building firebreaks and maintaining roads; supporting park management and anti-poaching teams as needed; and helping to maintain boreholes providing water to wildlife. We also finance and support a variety of research and anti-poaching projects. With CITW, we run environmental education and literacy programmes; offer young people scholarships, supply school equipment, and support school nutrition programmes; and run teacher training and community development projects.
We’ve been pioneering conservation tourism in Zambia since 2005: protecting the biodiversity of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park near Victoria Falls, and Kafue National Park’s spectacular Busanga Plains. Our year-round presence in Busanga provides logistical and financial support to local anti-poaching activities, and contributes to the conservation of the country’s most diverse national park, home to 55 large mammal and 500 bird species. Every Wilderness guest visiting the Plains is a conservationist, helping us contribute more than USD500,000 in concession fees to the park each year, ensuring its sustainable future. We also support ongoing research into human-wildlife conflict and other issues, as well as partner with CITW to run leadership and environmental education programmes and Eco-Clubs for disadvantaged youth in local communities, along with other impactful community development projects.
Say ‘Busanga Plains’ and you’re likely to hear: ‘Secluded and special’… ‘raw nature’… ‘some of the most pristine, diverse habitat in Africa’…‘the crown jewel of Kafue’. A vast, remote, seasonal floodplain with grasslands punctuated by palms and sycamore figs, Busanga is the gem of Kafue National Park, in Zambia’s far north, significantly larger than the famous Kruger National Park. Wilderness Shumba (meaning ‘lion’, after the local star attractions) lies in the Plains’ midst, with wildlife abundant for miles around, often on your doorstep, and infinite views from your deck.
Though the camp operates for just five months of the year (June – October) due to the annual inundation, Wilderness staff remain there year-round – greatly reducing poaching in the area.
Shumba also employs someone who once relied on poaching, now turned to maintenance and conservation. With reduced threat, wildlife has proliferated in number and variety, offering spectacles hard to equal.
Join our lion conservation efforts and experience abundant wildlife sightings
Out on the Plains, lions steal the show. Take a swamp boat if you’re here before the sinuous blue channels dry up, and you’ll likely witness lions leaping across the water. With the abundance of plains game – more than 20 different species, ranging from the tiny blue duiker to hefty eland and buffalo – lions have plenty of prey. This wasn’t always the case; for years illegal bushmeat poaching reduced the number of local prey species, and consequently the number of lions. Working with our partner Panthera, we’ve been dedicated to lion conservation for years. Come meet the local prides –– and join our conservation efforts; our guests insist on keeping up with news of the Busanga lions long after they’ve returned home.
Take in the breathtaking sights of the Busanga Plains and its remarkable biodiversity from the deck of the main area at Shumba Camp.
Wilderness Toka Leya (2-nights)
Twelve kilometres north-west of Victoria Falls – the world’s greatest curtain of falling water and a lure for travellers through the centuries – Wilderness Toka Leya beckons. Set in the heart of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park on the banks of the Zambezi, the camp offers sublime vistas, creature comforts, and adventures in the park, on the river, and at the Falls. It also offers the chance to participate in a local tree restoration project and to engage with the protection of white rhinos.
Learn about Toka Leya’s sustainability activities & visit local communities
Toka Leya’s back-of-house tour exhibits the camp’s commitment to sustainability, through solar power, recycling, and other initiatives. It takes you to the camp’s nursery, stocked with milkwood, jackalberry, African mangosteen and other seedlings awaiting planting around the camp, at schools and other community sites in the area – formerly a village, and badly deforested. Choose a tree, plant it, even name it. Visit the worm farm where compost is made to nourish the trees, and the water treatment plant where the camp’s waste water is cleaned and then used for irrigation. More than 70,000 trees have been planted to date.
Among the many activities that Toka Leya offers – game viewing, boat cruises, catch-and-release fishing, cultural trips to a local village and nearby Livingstone, and adrenaline-pumping options at the Falls – its rhino walk is a highlight. Led by Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) rangers, track the only surviving population of white rhino in Zambia. Get up close and personal with this remarkable species. Hear how Toka Leya supports the DNPW’s anti-poaching and rhino-monitoring initiatives through providing fuel for vehicle patrols and water for its rangers’ camps.
Toka Leya and its guests, together with Children in the Wilderness, have impacted local communities, particularly the Sinde community, where guests may have a cultural visit. Since 2010, through guest support, Toka Leya has installed boreholes and solar pumps here; powered the classrooms; built teacher accommodation; and – through CITW – contributed to scholarships for many of the local children through to high school, with additional support for some going on to their tertiary studies.
Enjoy a chilled drink at the Toka Leya bar while enjoying the sights and sounds of the Zambezi River.
Wilderness Little Makalolo (3-nights)
With a staggering 5,657 square miles of diverse habitat, Kalahari sands seeping into teak woodlands and golden savannah grasslands, Hwange – Zimbabwe’s largest national park – serves up some of the best game viewing on Earth, year-round. Its renowned Ngamo Plains, dotted with vleis and ilala palms, are home to an ever-changing wildlife parade. And also home to the park’s original, intimate bush camp, Wilderness Little Makalolo.
From the log-pile hide near the camp’s waterhole, watch massive elephant and buffalo herds. On game drives, thrill to sightings of lion, cheetah, African wild dog, spotted hyena, leopard, and a vast range of plains game often fleeing them. Appreciate the ecosystem’s biodiversity and its smaller creatures on a nature walk. Visit local homes and schools and imbibe something of their culture. Overnight in the elevated Star Bed at Madison Pan, see and hear wildlife gather under a canopy of stars.
Discover Hwange’s biodiversity & contribute to CITW community projects
Little Makalolo runs a number of high-impact projects along with many CITW community projects, most notably support for Hwange’s Scorpion Anti-Poaching Unit. Guests are invited to visit the projects, to participate and learn more.
The Scorpion Anti-Poaching Unit is vital to Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, (ZPWMA) reducing the number of poaching incidents within the areas along Hwange’s boundary. The Unit’s seven members regularly patrol roughly 1,800 square kilometres: moving on foot or by vehicle, they remove snares set by bushmeat poachers and aim to stop animal trade poachers, often armed with assault rifles. They risk their lives to preserve all that Hwange has to offer – diverse habitats supporting more than 400 animal species, including 100 mammal species, and a boost to the local economy through employment at the ecotourism parks here. Factor in the CITW community projects in Hwange – Eco-Clubs, literacy projects, school and community development, women’s empowerment – and there’s much of immeasurable value and import to sustain.
All camp decore is designed by local artists and sustainably sourced. Even the baskets are weaved from recycled plastic.
When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.