Our community commitment is of the highest importance to Kafunta Safaris. As part of the Luangwa Valley and its community, Kafunta knows the importance of integration and support of the people who permanently live in the vicinity of this wonderful piece of earth.
Kafunta Safaris recognises its responsibilities within a small community. We contribute to the wellbeing mainly through employment of people from the district to ensure that income stays in the community. At the same time we aim to buy as many products locally so that small businesses are encouraged for growth and can generate a sustainable income.
Besides this we consider education as one of the key factors to create a future.
Project Luangwa is run by a group of lodges and Kafunta Safaris is one of the founding members and trustee of the project. This charity is registered in the UK, USA and Zambia and it’s aim is to help local communities improve their long term economic prospects whilst avoiding a negative impact on the environment and wildlife. By using a coordinated approach to improving the standards of education and schools in general, Project Luangwa can help families to have the chance of a lasting and sustainable income.
To ensure the long term future of the project Kafunta Safaris and the other members have introduced a Conservation and Community Fund, a fixed contribution fee is built into our rates and this is split evenly between conservation and community projects.
Project Luangwa supports over 25 government and community schools and has arranged sponsorship for over 100 school pupils in 2011 alone, as well as many students in tertiary education.
The managers of Project Luangwa live and work in the South Luangwa community and are happy to come and talk to Kafunta guests about their work in the area. They can also arrange for you to visit a local school and meet the teachers and pupils.
Project Luangwa relies on the generosity of their supporters many of whom are past visitors. 100% of every donation is guaranteed to go to your nominated project and is not used on administration.
In conjunction with Project Luangwa, Kafunta Safaris offered 24 local kids a 4 day stay at Kafunta River Lodge in December 2011. For many of these kids from the local communities this was the first chance to stay at a lodge or even to go into the National Park.
It is a sad fact that the majority of kids who live in and around Mfuwe never visit South Luangwa National Park. Most have never seen a lion, leopard, giraffe or even the all too familiar Impala. This beautiful park sits on their doorstep but might as well be a million miles away.
To the local community wildlife is often something to be feared; elephants raid their crops or a crocodile may take anyone who ventures in the river. This is not a situation that encourages any enthusiasm for conservation. However, without this wildlife there would be no visitors and so it is important that the community, and in particular teenagers, understand that they have the most to gain by conserving their environment.
With a grant from The Elephant Charge, an annual off-road motor sport challenge, Project Luangwa took 24 local teenagers to stay at Kafunta River Lodge on the banks of the Luangwa River for a 4 day/3 night safari. We wanted to encourage the kids to gain a better understanding of conservation of their environment and wildlife, understand how a visitor sees the environment and experience exactly what a tourist experiences. We hoped that they would consider a career in tourism or conservation too but above all we wanted them to have fun.
With just 24 places and many eager kids we felt the only fair way to choose who participated was to ask them all to write an essay entitled ‘The Link between Tourism and Conservation in South Luangwa’ and choose the best to participate.
During the four days at Kafunta the kids took part in early morning and night game drives, watched films on wildlife and had some interesting and very interactive talks with scouts from the South Luangwa Conservation Society. They stayed in Kafunta’s chalets and many experienced hot showers for the first time. Once they all overcame their initial shyness the swimming pool was a favourite place to spend time.
As part of the trip we wanted the kids to experience as many new things as possible and part of this was unfamiliar food. Everyone was keen to try something new and many returned for second helpings.
However the main activities were the game drives and everybody was keen to take part and get into the park. On the first drive the kids were rewarded with their first sighting of lions and this was made even more special by the presence of six cubs playing around their mums. Several more pupils realised their ambitions to see leopards and hyena over the next two days and there were plenty of other animals too. Only the buffalo remained elusive. Kafunta’s guides went out of their way to educate the children and allowed everyone the chance to act as a guide.
“I wasn’t interested in nature before I went to Kafunta, now I think its really good.”
“I learnt that a guide has to know about lots of things and not just animals.”
“It was like being a proper guest – I put my washing in that basket and it was waiting for me later – all ironed.”