Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls

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Chamabondo comes alive

Chamabondo comes alive

Chamabondo comes alive
LIZ LANE

After a decade of deterioration and neglect the Chamabondo section of Zambezi National Park just south of Victoria Falls is now alive and well. Many years ago this area was rich with game and was a popular venue for game drives by both operators and the public - it was a regular circuit for the iconic UTC zebra-striped minibuses of old.

A concerted effort by a number of dedicated conservationists, with support from the Victoria Falls community, donors and co-operation from Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks), has turned things around. Trevor Lane, Ian and Mary-Linda Gloss, Ian and Sue Thomson, Nathan Rabinovitch, Dan Jones and John Nicholson deserve special mention with the donation and installation of borehole pumps and the reconstruction of the viewing platform and shelter at No 3 site.

ZimParks area manager Edmore Ngosi has been an extremely positive influence in moving the project forward.

On a recent game drive Rich and Sue Lowe counted numerous herds of elephant, hundreds of buffalo, giraffe, sable, big herds of zebra, impala, wildebeest, kudu, warthog and wild dog. They also counted kori bustard, lanner falcon, Jacobin cuckoo and Meyer’s parrot in this rich haven for birdlife. Lion have been seen regularly and a resident leopard seen and heard at the No 3 site. To enter the park, or to stay overnight, fees must be paid in advance to ZimParks at the Victoria Falls town office. The receipt is then presented to the ranger at the Chamabondo gate (turn off before Masuie Bridge). It is hoped that staffing and progress will soon allow fees to be paid at the gate.

Trevor Lane is currently overseeing the drilling of further boreholes, funded by recent donations, which will get sites 1 and 2 pumping. Donations have been directed through the Bhejane Trust.

The resuscitation of this park is an exciting development. It is easily accessible from the town of Victoria Falls, and will hopefully be enjoyed by residents, operators and of course tourists in the years ahead. The main drive leads through a teak forest into an extended area of wide open grassland, ideal for game viewing. Boreholes 1, 2 and 3 are sited down the length of this drive. It is hoped that some new tracks will be developed along the adjacent ridges.

The regeneration of Chamabondo goes hand in hand with the restoration of Kalisosa Vlei, being carried out by the Jafuta Foundation.

More from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (December 2013)

More from the Zambezi Traveller:
Victoria Falls Destination Profile