As part of its ongoing commitment to growing conservation tourism in Zambia’s Kafue National Park, Wilderness proudly sponsored the Spirit Award at the annual Kafue Wild event – a challenging 21 km trail run that brings the public and rangers together to race for conservation. Coinciding with the International Wildlife Ranger Challenge, the event aims to showcase the country’s largest protected area and the dedicated individuals safeguarding it.
“Having fun while making a positive impact forms part of our Wilderness values, and we were therefore thrilled to sponsor this year’s Spirit Award. Huge congratulations to the Game Rangers International team for winning this award and for demonstrating the most resilience and team spirit throughout the gruelling race”, commented Graham Simmonds, Wilderness Zambezi Operations Manager.
Organised by Kafue National Park, and managed by conservation non-profit African Parks in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), the event brought over 180 runners together, including five Ranger Challenge Teams, Kafue staff, NGOs, sponsors and the public.
According to Craig Reid, Kafue National Park Manager, “The Kafue Wild run offers a unique opportunity for the Zambian public to interact with, and compete against, the wildlife rangers who protect Zambia's natural heritage. The event highlights the beauty and diversity of this incredible natural asset that Government and African Parks are working together to protect. Running in a national park is not usually allowed and this is an opportunity not to be missed”.
With two Wilderness camps situated in Kafue’s Busanga Plains, Wilderness works closely with African Parks and Kafue National Park to help attract more visitors to this remote wilderness area and, in turn, help drive further conservation tourism in the region.
Kafue is one of Africa’s largest national parks and a UNESCO Biosphere Network reserve. In a remote corner of the park, Wilderness Shumba and Busanga Bush Camp offer guests front-row seats to a wildlife extravaganza for just five months each year, from the beginning of June to the end of October, before the return of the seasonal rains. Aptly named the “Plains of Plenty”, Busanga teems with wildlife and is home to some 55 large mammals, 20 ungulate, six cat and at least 500 bird species. Besides phenomenal lechwe and puku numbers, guests have the opportunity to see oribi, roan and sable, as well as predators that include lion, wild dog and cheetah, and watch the unpredictable exchanges between the famous lion prides of the area, while hippos wallow in their hundreds in the channels.
"Even though our Kafue camps are only open for the five drier months of the year, we are deeply committed to maintaining our conservation tourism presence in this diverse habitat, playing a crucial role in the protection of the park’s fragile ecosystem, supporting anti-poaching activities and uplifting communities through employment. Together with like-minded partners such as African Parks and DNPW, we aim to further expand this work to ensure that the benefits from tourism reach the people living around this exceptional wilderness area”, concluded Graham.
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