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Victory Wallace, Zikomo Safari Camp, South Luangwa, Zambia

Zambia South Luangwa interview

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 11:03 PM

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Victory Wallace in the co driver's seat, on a game drive.

 

Victory and David Wallace both grew up in the Midwest and southwest of the USA. They met on The Aranui, a working freighter out of Tahiti to the Marquises Islands and back. During the 3 week trip they fell in love and Victory followed David to San Diego from Hawaii. David studied geology and then pharmacy, (it was where the jobs were), and Victory worked in resorts for 13 years before going back to school to get her degree in nursing. They both love the outdoors, nature, animals, birds, and travel. They are both passionate about saving wildlife and the environment and both want to be a part of doing just that. During a trip to Southern African countries in 2005 they fell head over heels in love with Africa and decided to see what it would take to build and run a bush camp. It took more than they could imagine but wouldn’t do anything differently. They have one son, Demian, without who’s help there would not be a Zikomo Safari. They named the camp Zikomo, (thank you), because they feel thankful to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

 

To find out more about Zikomo Safari Camp, visit the website here - www.zikomosafari.com

 

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What made you want to buy and run a safari camp? How much experience had you prior to Zikomo in the tourism industry, whether safari or other?

 

My husband David and I have always loved to travel. When we traveled to Africa and went on our first safari we were sent to small bush camps where there were no more than 20 people and everything was comfortable but rustic and wild. We fell totally for the way we felt in the bush; alive and excited to just be there. I told David we should figure out a way that we could stay in Africa full time, not just come as tourists. He told me it sounded great, but really not very realistic. When we got home I started googling everything I could find about buying a camp and looked specifically at Botswana and Zambia, (our favorite places). It all looked like huge money and I put it on the back burner until we went on safari again. On that safari I started looking for land. I knew I wanted something far away from other camps. A place that was on the water and with lots of trees. Zikomo is all that and more. Everyone wanted that piece of land, but there was a HUGE reason why no one ever got it, let alone developed it. When we found out what we were up against we thought about leaving. I am so glad that I have such an amazing family. David and our son Demian chose to stay and fight for it with me and without them, there would be no Zikomo.

 

Before Zikomo I had worked in resorts for a number of years and then I went back to school, became a registered nurse and took care of people in a different way.

 

How does the reality of owning and running Zikomo live up to your original dreams?

 

I love being at the camp. There isn’t a day that I don’t look around and think about how lucky I am. It is much harder than I ever thought it would be. When I thought about having a camp I had this idea of a few bungalows with a couple of guides. Somehow it never occurred to me that it would be like running our own city. To run a camp in the bush you have to run a restaurant, a bar, a mechanics shop, a laundry, housekeeping, an office, a store, and then there are the guides and the airport pickups and drop offs, coupled with minor emergencies, and keeping track of it all. Once in awhile I even have to be the nurse. And then there is all the paperwork, licenses, permits, regulations, not to mention you have to become your own ad agency and market in a very competitive market!  It’s a lot of work, but to live and breathe where elephants, lions, leopards, wild dogs, walk through…so worth it!

 

How long did negotiations for the land take and how were you accepted initially by local land owners?

 

That was a nightmare! We were given 3 different pieces of land and were dealing with a Zambian guide who was supposed to be working for us but instead was busy ripping us off. Each piece of land had some problem and when we finally got the land Zikomo is now on, we found out it had been ‘given’, (code for sold), 5 times. Each time the hunting camp 2 kilometers away drove the people off with one visit. We wouldn’t go. Our son was on the land when they came and warned him to leave. It took us 6 years of lawyers, court, fighting for it, to finally get the Title Deeds and a 99 year lease. How we got it is because of the stubbornness of my husband and son and the fact that we wanted to own a camp to be part of what kept wildlife safe. That was how we saw camps like ours. When we found out that elephants were being shot on the land we decided we could not walk away and live with ourselves.  
 

What have been been the difficulties you’ve encountered and how have you overcome them?

 

The difficulties were that nobody wants someone new to come in. Other camps didn’t want us there. The hunters didn’t want us there. We had to battle on every front to stay. Now that we have proven ourselves to be people who don’t run away easy and who want the best for this area, many camps have started to be kind to us and even send business. It’s nice. But difficulties are part of being in Africa. Actually just part of being alive. There will always be difficulties and we will work through them.
 

What was the design brief for the camp and how arduous was the EIA process?

 

Since we are right on the Luangwa River, we wanted the main block to be in the middle of the camp and the chalets to all face the river and be on either side of the main block. It has worked out really nicely. We are lucky we have a floodplain on the front of much of the camp so it doesn’t wash away the way the cliffs do. The camp is spread out so there is a park like feeling to it. What was arduous about the EIA? All of it. There is so much red tape and every single part of the process is at another location. You can’t just go to one building and take care of things. You run to Lusaka for this license, then to Chipata for that, back to Mfuwe for this paper and on and on. Very time consuming and at every point there is the need for money, money and more money.

 

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What are the camp’s eco credentials? For example, how is grey and black water treated, waste and rubbish disposed of? How is energy generated for the camp’s electrical supply and from where did you source the building materials used in the camps construction?

 

All the materials are local. We sourced lumber from the forestry department, bought local grass for the roofs, used sand, stone, palm, thatch, the camp is made African style with Mopani poles, porcupine thatch roofs, brown and red soil walls. Everything is purchased locally. We have solar batteries and panels and a generator for emergency. The electric lines were just too far away to consider at first and now we really like staying off the grid. We just keep buying more and topping up the solar. We have septic tanks designed Zambian style. Water tanks with a bore hole and since recycling is now starting to be available are trying to do that as much as possible. The paper and other burnable products we dig a pit as far from the camp as we can and dig it deep! All left over food, cardboard, biodegradable stuff is put in the compost and used in the garden. Even in the campground we ask the campers to keep their leftover food hidden away till the security guard picks it up in the morning otherwise, if they put it in the trash bins we will have the same baboon problems they have in Mfuwe. Once the baboons know they can get food somewhere they never leave and get more and more aggressive. We have a couple of wild baboon troupes but they just move through - they don’t stay.

 

How do you interact with local communities and how does it benefit them to have a tourism operator in their area?

 

We have been operating now for 2 and ½ seasons even though we have been on the land since 2007. It took so much money to fight the hunter and to build and stay. We really started out hand to mouth. It has been growing and people seem to really like the camp. I keep hearing that our camp is the kind of bush camp you look for but don’t think exists anymore, until you get to Zikomo. I like that. This year we started Nsefu Wildlife Conservation Foundation a nonprofit organization registered in Zambia and California to fight poaching and to help the community through community projects that will create jobs for locals and help fund scholarships for children in the Nsefu sector. We always wanted to have a nonprofit to give back and help. Helping to stop poaching isn’t just a moral issue, it’s a business one which all camps should think of. Without elephants, lions, why would anyone come? We have a responsibility to help save wildlife and make sure that the poaching stops! We are working with an amazing organization that is one of the best in the world at stopping poaching through cutting edge techniques. We will have an announcement about the program soon and I will tell you at Safaritalk exactly how it is done. Since it is now being discussed I can’t say more than this.

 

How many local Zambians work with you at Zikomo and what positions do they hold? Can you introduce a couple of them to us here, what their roles are and talk about their backgrounds?

 

We employ 25 people and they are all Zambians. The only white faces you see are ours. Zick Kolala, (a Zambian of course), is our manager and has been in tourism for quite awhile. He has done managing, working as a guide, and is game for anything. When he first came he actually quit a job that paid higher to come and work with us. He is one of the few Zambians I have ever met that think long term. He told me that it was okay if he lost money at first because he knew Zikomo was going to be the number one camp in South Luangwa one day and he planned to work with us his whole life. He is very keen on our nonprofit: on the board of the nonprofit in Zambia we have our family, our co-founder Coe Lewis from California and the rest are Zambians. We have a business in Zambia. If we can find Zambians who can do the job why would we outsource? Doesn’t make sense unless we couldn’t find anyone qualified, but we can and did.

 

Who are your guides and what is their previous experience in the safari industry? How many are from the local area?

 

We have two full time guides plus Zick who can fill in if needed. We are in the process of hiring one more. Masumba is the senior guide and he has a lot of experience working for Robin Pope safaris for a number of years and then he worked in North Luangwa and Lion Camp. Ephram is a protegy of Masumba's and although he has less experience, he has a great personality and takes learning very seriously. They are both local and so is the guide we are thinking of hiring.

 

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In terms of wildlife, what was the Nsefu sector like when you first moved in compared to how it is now? To what factors do you attribute these changes?

 

When we first came to the land there were not many animals who stayed too close. Since our land was one of the worst poached areas and the hunting camp routinely hunted on it, elephants either charged or ran. Nothing came around. Now, it is very different. We had lions born at the camp last October and wild dogs denning across the river and playing on the riverbank. Elephants routinely come to the camp day and night. We have one big bull I call Billy who comes more and more frequently, to the point the dogs play with him. Funny thing when the elephants started coming they would always go to the outside gym and sniff this one area. We couldn’t figure out why it was their first stop until a worker told us that he had worked for the hunting camp before and the area by the gym was an old soak-a-way or drain. The hunting camp used to butcher animals in that space and drained the blood into the drain so they wouldn’t attract predators to their camp. The elephants were stopping there to see if the blood scent was old or fresh! Since  there wasn’t any fresh blood, they would put their heads up, look at their family and  lead them in.

 

There are so many more animals now. They feel safer. They don’t hear gun shots all the time and that is making a huge difference. Seven years of no hunting on the land and 2 odd years of us operating makes a huge difference.

 

What is the game density like in your area? What might a guest expect to see on a walk or drive? What would they consider themselves lucky to see, i.e., what are the rarities including birds that one might encounter?

 

Everything except cheetah, (the land is not conducive to them), rhino, (although one day soon we will bring them back!), and ostrich, (just isn’t here). There are prides of lions, frequent sightings of leopards, wild dogs, giraffes, zebras, eland, impala, hyena, hippo, crocs, kudu, puku, bush buck, Cape Buffalo, civet, honey badger, porcupine, bush babies, monkeys, baboons, snakes, wart hogs, and of course my favorite; elephants. You name it we have it. The only animals that you can’t guarantee are the night predators. Some people see lions every time they go out, day and night. Other people don’t see one in four days. You can’t book them. It is a matter of the right time, right place. There are over 450 species of birds in South Luangwa and there are so many to see it’s a wonder. Since we have so many big trees and fruiting trees we have an abundance of bird life.

 

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Tell me about birding at Zikomo and the Nsefu sector. What is the best time for birding and what species are regularly seen? What about the Pel’s fishing owl, have guests been lucky enough to see any around camp?

 

Although I was not a birder before we had Zikomo I always loved birds. I have 2 African Grey parrots that I got as rescues in California, but I was not up on birds the way birders are. I have seen enough now to say I am fast becoming a birder. I love the different bee eaters and during the migration of thousands of Carmine bee eaters, (in late summer and fall), we get many thousands on the cliffs by the first chalet. Fish eagles, yellow crested cranes, it is truly a birders paradise. I will have to ask the guides about the Pel’s fishing owl.

 

What are you doing to help wildlife conservation aims in South Luangwa and how do you interact with conservation organisations and government authorities?

 

I already mentioned our new nonprofit and we plan on working with the existing conservation organizations in South Luangwa. The Nsefu sector is large and when there is a problem in Nsefu it takes too long for someone to come and help from Mfuwe, especially if they are already trying to help in another area 2 hours away! We don’t want to take anything away from anyone else, only add to it. We are also trying to work closely with ZAWA and include them in our conservation work.

 

What examples of poaching have you seen in your area of South Luangwa and how efficient are authorities in dealing with it?

 

Poaching is a horrible problem everywhere and we get enough sightings of different animals that have stumbled into snares and need help to have them removed coming over the radio to know it is a big problem. There are sometimes gun shots in the night and we know that it is poachers. That is another reason we started NWCF to stop poaching in Nsefu and everywhere else we can. I have been told at least 4 elephants are poached out of the park every month, but that is just what they know of. This greed which produces pain and suffering for the wildlife and then pain and suffering for humans as the money from poaching goes to support terrorism, there is a direct connection.

 

What is your relationship with other tourism stakeholders in South Luangwa?

 

We are developing good relationships with many different lodges and companies and we hope to continue making friends and alliances. If things we need are available locally we buy it locally. We try and support people we see doing good work like Tribal Textiles. Tribal Textiles is a wonderful company that has created so many jobs and makes the most beautiful textiles. We use a lot of their product at the camp and will soon start selling it at the gift shop.
 

How easy is it, as a family run and independent operator to attract guests and have exposure in what is I assume a competitive safari sector?

 

Starting off is very difficult. Many lodges have been around for many years. Some of them have names people recognize. People don’t realize that they have been sold and are no longer owned by the person who’s name is the reason they came. But all of that changes as people come and see what you do. We have return guests and we have only been open 2 and ½ seasons. We have people who come for a day and stay for 5. Every year we are more noticed and we have the best location I have ever seen in all the places we went on safari. We have great chefs, friendly staff, loads of wildlife, comfortable lodging, great guides, and all in all an amazing place. I think we will be very successful.

 

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With regard to marketing Zikomo, how do you position yourself as a property and what is your target clientele? What is the break down by country/region of your visitors?

 

About the last thing we got to was marketing. After fighting to survive and stay we were really low on money by the time we opened. We had no money for marketing. That is now starting to change and we are positioning ourselves as an affordable bush camp. We try and work with people as we don’t think just the rich should be able to go on safari. We actually wanted to use a sliding scale but people aren’t all that honest if they think they can save a bit. It is amazing when you are new how many people want you to give them a discount. I usually ask them if they give discounts at their business and they look at me like I am crazy and don’t get the irony. This year we are going to Cape Town and Indaba travel shows. Next year we will hit a lot more of the shows. We are listed with Africa Geographic and Zambian Tourism but we are also trying to take advantage of social media marketing and asking travel agents and tour operators to stop by and see the camp. We get a lot of Dutch, German, people from the UK and some Americans, Spanish, Italians and lots of campers from South Africa. We are amazed at how people hear of us and how many people they send after they have stayed with us. Really a complement to have referrals.

 

Can one specify use of a private vehicle and if so, what is the daily cost? Further to this, what are your game drive vehicles and how is the seating arranged? What about equipment for photographers, i.e., lens mounts etc?

 

With advance notice people can get a private vehicle and it is about $300 per day. We try to never take more than 9 people in a game drive vehicle and usually less. We have one Land Cruiser that we keep the top off for photographers and are upgrading by buying 2 more Land Cruisers. We also have a Land Rover and a Hilux game viewer. The bush is really hard on vehicles. One is always in the market for another it seems. We would like to have mounts fixed for photographers in the future but do not have them now. We also plan on opening during rainy season this year or next and having a swamp cruiser that is already outfitted for cameras.

 

What in your opinion is an optimum stay at Zikomo and how would a visitor incorporate it into an extended Zambian itinerary? What activities would you cover during that time?

 

That depends so much on what type of visitor. For photographers, 10 days is probably not enough. For the average tourist, 4 days is a good amount of time to see some amazing places and wildlife. We are really lucky that our bush walks start right from the camp. We don’t have to drive somewhere and then start the walk. There are many great areas to go to, like the hot springs, different parts of South Luangwa National Park, the escarpment. Morning game drives are always wonderful but the late afternoon, early evening can be just as exciting. We have just started volunteer safaris where people can choose to spend one or two of their days doing anti-poaching patrols/bush walks with rangers to try and find the snares poachers leave that can so badly cripple or kill an animal as small as a civet or as big as the elephant. We are also working with the local elementary school who so appreciate any help with the kids since the teachers are overwhelmed by the number of students per teacher. Eventually we will have many more volunteer activities as Nsefu Wildlife takes on more community projects.

 

What is the future both for yourselves and Zikomo Safari Camp?

 

We plan on keeping Zikomo Safari for the rest of our lives and when we are gone putting it in trust so it will continue to be a small, wild, bush camp with just enough comfort for people to want to stay, but never so much civilization that they forget where they are!

We want Nsefu Wildlife Conservation Foundation, (NWCF), to co-exist with Zikomo helping the community with jobs and education, safeguarding the wildlife and keeping a good relationship with the people of Nsefu. Nsefu is the name of our sector and is the name for the eland and Zikomo means ‘thank you’ in Nyanja. We are thankful every day for what we have and that we can share it with other people is the best!

 

We would not have Zikomo Safari right now and would not have been able to start Nsefu Wildlife without some amazing people who jumped in, (without question), when we were floundering. My friend of 30 years, Tony Hunstiger who although he had never in his life dreamed of being a part of a safari camp, came to our rescue because he believed in what we were doing and today does as much as he can because it is now his dream too.

 

And the there is our friend and co-founder of Nsefu Wildlife, Coe Lewis, who is an animal advocate and a media personality in San Diego who has helped put our anti poaching project into warp speed by bringing in Dr. Tom Snitch who is one of the two top guys with the new drone projects which started with South Africa and is coming to Zambia. And of course Zick Kolala our manager who dreams big.
 

And my two rocks on which all this is built; my husband David and our son, Demian, without them Zikomo would be a dream stuck in my head! Demian came to Zambia to save the land and built Zikomo. He lived in a tent with no running water or any conveniences while he built the camp and fought our battles! David still works full time to support us, (until we can stand alone), and puts up with us being separated 7 months of the year while I help run the camp taking on the 14 rescue animals we have in California!
 

We are so blessed  We want Zikomo to help make South Luangwa a true sanctuary for bird and wildlife and a great place for people to experience African safaris.

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Victoria Wallace/Zikomo Safari Camp.

 

 

The views expressed therein are solely those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Safaritalk.


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#2 tony hunstiger

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 11:28 PM

Well done.



#3 Kitsafari

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 09:48 AM

Interesting. there aren't many camps for the Nseful sector. I tried to locate the camp on a map but I couldn't find a map on the website. It'll be interesting to see exactly where they are located. 



#4 optig

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 11:35 AM

I can't wait to return to South Luangwa National Park for my third visit this August. I'm glad that Victory Wallace makes it clear just how it is to run a lodge in a national park. One truly has to be multitalented, and this is why so many talented guides fail as lodge owners.
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#5 zikomosafari

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 03:56 PM

Interesting. there aren't many camps for the Nseful sector. I tried to locate the camp on a map but I couldn't find a map on the website. It'll be interesting to see exactly where they are located. 

Hi Kitsafari! On the website the map is on the 'contact us' page. Thank you for writing because if you had trouble finding it, we need to move it! I already contacted our web guy and there will be another map along with the one that is there now and the GPS coordinates are; Junction Zikomo at Milyoti Gate: S13.02810 E031.91956 Zikomo Camp (pool): S13.02361 E031.89122 Zikomo Campsite (ablution block): S13.02246 E031.89246 Zikomo Crossing: S13.02179 E031.89151 

We had the GPS coordinates done before but somehow they landed you in South Luangwa National Park across the river from Zikomo. The ones I am putting here were done for us by a very nice friend, Bwana Mitch, who as you can see did them from several points!

Thanks for writing in!


Website: www.zikomosafari.com
E-mail: Zikomo@zikomosafari.com
Zambia
Office: +260 (216) 246-202
Office: +260 (216) 246-203
Mobile: +260 (979) 073-823
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 114
Mfuwe, Zambia

#6 Zikalop

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 04:01 PM

I can't wait to return to South Luangwa National Park for my third visit this August. I'm glad that Victory Wallace makes it clear just how it is to run a lodge in a national park. One truly has to be multitalented, and this is why so many talented guides fail as lodge owners.

GPS: S13.0236 E31.899122 for Zikomo, the map is on bottom the contact page ( http://zikomosafari.com/contact/ )



#7 zikomosafari

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 04:01 PM

I can't wait to return to South Luangwa National Park for my third visit this August. I'm glad that Victory Wallace makes it clear just how it is to run a lodge in a national park. One truly has to be multitalented, and this is why so many talented guides fail as lodge owners.

Hi! Thank you for responding to the interview. People tell me fairly frequently that they are thinking of starting a camp and what do they need to do. It is hard not to laugh because if I knew then what I know now I probably would have run screaming at just how hard it is to get open, but then you have to STAY open, which is when you know the battle has just begun!

I hope you come and see the camp when you come to South Luangwa, whether you stay or not, it is worth visiting. The person who commented before you said they could not find our local. We are about 2 kilometers from the old Tena Tena and the exact GPS coordinates are; Junction Zikomo at Milyoti Gate: S13.02810 E031.91956 Zikomo Camp (pool): S13.02361 E031.89122 Zikomo Campsite (ablution block): S13.02246 E031.89246 Zikomo Crossing: S13.02179 E031.89151

Thanks for commenting!


Website: www.zikomosafari.com
E-mail: Zikomo@zikomosafari.com
Zambia
Office: +260 (216) 246-202
Office: +260 (216) 246-203
Mobile: +260 (979) 073-823
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 114
Mfuwe, Zambia

#8 zikomosafari

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 04:02 PM

Well done.

Thanks Counselor!


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Website: www.zikomosafari.com
E-mail: Zikomo@zikomosafari.com
Zambia
Office: +260 (216) 246-202
Office: +260 (216) 246-203
Mobile: +260 (979) 073-823
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 114
Mfuwe, Zambia

#9 Sangeeta

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 09:03 PM

@zikomosafari - what a pleasure it was to read this interview and kudos, really I mean it, kudos for hanging in there in face of all the trials and tribulations and sticking to your (metaphorical) guns. Much respect for what you have achieved. I have been following your progress quietly over the last couple of years and it's wonderful to see how far the camp has come. Welcome to ST!


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Zindagi na milegi dobara... Chalo Africa
You only live once...Go To Africa

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#10 graceland

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 01:20 AM

Oh my, so glad I found this post. What An Amazing Story...and the obstacles faced and overcome... I can only imagine what it takes to have the tenacity and leather skin to stick to your beliefs.

 

One paragraph really stuck to me as I do adore elephant behavior....

 

Elephants routinely come to the camp day and night. We have one big bull I call Billy who comes more and more frequently, to the point the dogs play with him. Funny thing when the elephants started coming they would always go to the outside gym and sniff this one area. We couldn’t figure out why it was their first stop until a worker told us that he had worked for the hunting camp before and the area by the gym was an old soak-a-way or drain. The hunting camp used to butcher animals in that space and drained the blood into the drain so they wouldn’t attract predators to their camp. The elephants were stopping there to see if the blood scent was old or fresh! Since  there wasn’t any fresh blood, they would put their heads up, look at their family and  lead them in.  

 

I can only imagine how pleased they are now to know there is no more bloodshed of their families.

 

 

Good Job; thank you for the interview/

 

I've yet to have an official Zambia safari; although six in other countries;  perhaps we shall look you up when planning. It may take a while, but I now have your name!

 

Thanks @Game Warden for introducing all of us.

Fabulous story!


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#11 Kitsafari

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 01:55 AM

@zikomosafari hi Victory thanks much for the map! My husband and I were in South luangwa in September. We stayed at Tafika. At that time we only knew of them, tena tena and Nsefu camp. No one mentioned about your camp, which is alarming in terms of your publicity. So @Game Warden's interview will come in most useful for you.

We loved our time in the northern part of south luangwa and Nsefu. You picked a most beautiful and unspoilt area to start your life in Africa, and bravo to you and your family and your staff for staying the course.

I'm not sure if my iPad shows the location correctly - it shows the camp outside Nsefu reserve but if you are close to ten tena and along the river you should be in the reserve.

All the best for the the new camp's future. Are you open throughout the year or will you be seasonal like the others?
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#12 zikomosafari

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:00 PM

@zikomosafari - what a pleasure it was to read this interview and kudos, really I mean it, kudos for hanging in there in face of all the trials and tribulations and sticking to your (metaphorical) guns. Much respect for what you have achieved. I have been following your progress quietly over the last couple of years and it's wonderful to see how far the camp has come. Welcome to ST!

Zikomo to you for taking the time to send your note to us! It means a lot to hear from people who know Africa and how hard it is to get going. Matthew was so kind to come up with questions which really make the whole picture come out and the members of Safaritalk are the kind of travelers that we would love to have know about Zikomo. 

Thank you for following our progress. From the side of trying to get things going it makes me really happy to know that there are people who have noticed our efforts to become a place that the real travelers want to come to! I have attached the big male from the pride we call The Zikomo Pride because they have made our area their home, or should I say we have happily come to their area. It all belongs to them anyway. 

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Website: www.zikomosafari.com
E-mail: Zikomo@zikomosafari.com
Zambia
Office: +260 (216) 246-202
Office: +260 (216) 246-203
Mobile: +260 (979) 073-823
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 114
Mfuwe, Zambia

#13 zikomosafari

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:10 PM

Oh my, so glad I found this post. What An Amazing Story...and the obstacles faced and overcome... I can only imagine what it takes to have the tenacity and leather skin to stick to your beliefs.
 
One paragraph really stuck to me as I do adore elephant behavior....
 
Elephants routinely come to the camp day and night. We have one big bull I call Billy who comes more and more frequently, to the point the dogs play with him. Funny thing when the elephants started coming they would always go to the outside gym and sniff this one area. We couldn’t figure out why it was their first stop until a worker told us that he had worked for the hunting camp before and the area by the gym was an old soak-a-way or drain. The hunting camp used to butcher animals in that space and drained the blood into the drain so they wouldn’t attract predators to their camp. The elephants were stopping there to see if the blood scent was old or fresh! Since  there wasn’t any fresh blood, they would put their heads up, look at their family and  lead them in.  
 
I can only imagine how pleased they are now to know there is no more bloodshed of their families.
 
Good Job; thank you for the interview/
 
I've yet to have an official Zambia safari; although six in other countries;  perhaps we shall look you up when planning. It may take a while, but I now have your name!
 
Thanks @Game Warden for introducing all of us.
Fabulous story!

 
Thank you Graceland! It really broke everyone's hearts when we learned about the sock-away and why the elephants stopped there. It shows how amazing and intelligent they are! I have attached a photo of Billy moving through the camp with Maya (one of our 2 rescue village dogs) watching him. It is so wonderful to see the difference not being hunted makes. That they check out the blood smell shows how they will never forget. I hope when you do come to Zambia you consider Zikomo. Travelers like you are exactly who we love to have come to the camp. I try to tell people that are looking for 800 thread count sheets and crystal glassware that we are a bush camp, not the Ritz. Thank you again for the lovely message!

Attached Images

  • 181.JPG

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Website: www.zikomosafari.com
E-mail: Zikomo@zikomosafari.com
Zambia
Office: +260 (216) 246-202
Office: +260 (216) 246-203
Mobile: +260 (979) 073-823
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 114
Mfuwe, Zambia

#14 zikomosafari

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:19 PM

@zikomosafari hi Victory thanks much for the map! My husband and I were in South luangwa in September. We stayed at Tafika. At that time we only knew of them, tena tena and Nsefu camp. No one mentioned about your camp, which is alarming in terms of your publicity. So @Game Warden's interview will come in most useful for you.

We loved our time in the northern part of south luangwa and Nsefu. You picked a most beautiful and unspoilt area to start your life in Africa, and bravo to you and your family and your staff for staying the course.

I'm not sure if my iPad shows the location correctly - it shows the camp outside Nsefu reserve but if you are close to ten tena and along the river you should be in the reserve.

All the best for the the new camp's future. Are you open throughout the year or will you be seasonal like the others?

 

 

 

HI Kitsafari, I am attaching another map which was drawn or put together by a good friend of ours (Menno) I love how it shows how there really is nothing else around us! We hope to be open year round either starting 2016 or 2017 (depending on how the year goes) We really want to have people see the green season and do river safaris. Zambia has an amazing amount of bird species but the rainy season is the best time for birding! When we do open year round we will close on November 15 and then reopen January 15th. It is tricky as with the black cotton soil that we have on the way to the camp, once the rains start you can't use the roads and you can't use the Luangwa River until it gets full enough. We will post in Safaritalk when we are lucky enough to be open almost year round. Thank you for the encouragement and taking the time to write to me. Really appreciate it!

 


 

@zikomosafari hi Victory thanks much for the map! My husband and I were in South luangwa in September. We stayed at Tafika. At that time we only knew of them, tena tena and Nsefu camp. No one mentioned about your camp, which is alarming in terms of your publicity. So @Game Warden's interview will come in most useful for you.

We loved our time in the northern part of south luangwa and Nsefu. You picked a most beautiful and unspoilt area to start your life in Africa, and bravo to you and your family and your staff for staying the course.

I'm not sure if my iPad shows the location correctly - it shows the camp outside Nsefu reserve but if you are close to ten tena and along the river you should be in the reserve.

All the best for the the new camp's future. Are you open throughout the year or will you be seasonal like the others?

Attached Files


Website: www.zikomosafari.com
E-mail: Zikomo@zikomosafari.com
Zambia
Office: +260 (216) 246-202
Office: +260 (216) 246-203
Mobile: +260 (979) 073-823
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 114
Mfuwe, Zambia

#15 zikomosafari

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:24 PM

Interesting. there aren't many camps for the Nseful sector. I tried to locate the camp on a map but I couldn't find a map on the website. It'll be interesting to see exactly where they are located. 

I forgot to say that we are in the Nsefu sector's GMA (which is the game management area) that borders the park. The camp is on Google Earth and Tracks for Africa stopped by last summer. The map I put up is downloadable, I hope you like it.

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  • IMG_5736.JPG

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Website: www.zikomosafari.com
E-mail: Zikomo@zikomosafari.com
Zambia
Office: +260 (216) 246-202
Office: +260 (216) 246-203
Mobile: +260 (979) 073-823
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 114
Mfuwe, Zambia

#16 graceland

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:50 PM

 

Oh my, so glad I found this post. What An Amazing Story...and the obstacles faced and overcome... I can only imagine what it takes to have the tenacity and leather skin to stick to your beliefs.
 
One paragraph really stuck to me as I do adore elephant behavior....
 
Elephants routinely come to the camp day and night. We have one big bull I call Billy who comes more and more frequently, to the point the dogs play with him. Funny thing when the elephants started coming they would always go to the outside gym and sniff this one area. We couldn’t figure out why it was their first stop until a worker told us that he had worked for the hunting camp before and the area by the gym was an old soak-a-way or drain. The hunting camp used to butcher animals in that space and drained the blood into the drain so they wouldn’t attract predators to their camp. The elephants were stopping there to see if the blood scent was old or fresh! Since  there wasn’t any fresh blood, they would put their heads up, look at their family and  lead them in.  
 
I can only imagine how pleased they are now to know there is no more bloodshed of their families.
 
Good Job; thank you for the interview/
 
I've yet to have an official Zambia safari; although six in other countries;  perhaps we shall look you up when planning. It may take a while, but I now have your name!
 
Thanks @Game Warden for introducing all of us.
Fabulous story!

 
Thank you Graceland! It really broke everyone's hearts when we learned about the sock-away and why the elephants stopped there. It shows how amazing and intelligent they are! I have attached a photo of Billy moving through the camp with Maya (one of our 2 rescue village dogs) watching him. It is so wonderful to see the difference not being hunted makes. That they check out the blood smell shows how they will never forget. I hope when you do come to Zambia you consider Zikomo. Travelers like you are exactly who we love to have come to the camp. I try to tell people that are looking for 800 thread count sheets and crystal glassware that we are a bush camp, not the Ritz. Thank you again for the lovely message!

 

How odd, last night my husband said to me,

 

"Have we been to Zambia yet" (I promise he is not old and senile, he just lets me plan everything ~ and follows)

 

So I said, "NO, not yet;  but I have an idea of a camp we can visit!"

 

We walk quite a bit on our safaris, so I'd have to find a private guide to take us all over Zam as well...but I sure would love to come see Billy and hang with youall for a while. I can stay in a Ritz in NYC -when I'm in Africa, I want the real bush.

 

Although I did stay at Mara Plains last month and it was the Ritz of the Mara! That was a quick girls getaway and lovely; but I do like my feet walking through the bush.

 

And, you all of course....would be a pleasure to be around.

 

Love the cub you posted..


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#17 zikomosafari

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 08:49 PM

Oh my, so glad I found this post. What An Amazing Story...and the obstacles faced and overcome... I can only imagine what it takes to have the tenacity and leather skin to stick to your beliefs.
 
One paragraph really stuck to me as I do adore elephant behavior....
 
Elephants routinely come to the camp day and night. We have one big bull I call Billy who comes more and more frequently, to the point the dogs play with him. Funny thing when the elephants started coming they would always go to the outside gym and sniff this one area. We couldn’t figure out why it was their first stop until a worker told us that he had worked for the hunting camp before and the area by the gym was an old soak-a-way or drain. The hunting camp used to butcher animals in that space and drained the blood into the drain so they wouldn’t attract predators to their camp. The elephants were stopping there to see if the blood scent was old or fresh! Since  there wasn’t any fresh blood, they would put their heads up, look at their family and  lead them in.  
 
I can only imagine how pleased they are now to know there is no more bloodshed of their families.
 
Good Job; thank you for the interview/
 
I've yet to have an official Zambia safari; although six in other countries;  perhaps we shall look you up when planning. It may take a while, but I now have your name!
 
Thanks @Game Warden for introducing all of us.
Fabulous story!

 
Thank you Graceland! It really broke everyone's hearts when we learned about the sock-away and why the elephants stopped there. It shows how amazing and intelligent they are! I have attached a photo of Billy moving through the camp with Maya (one of our 2 rescue village dogs) watching him. It is so wonderful to see the difference not being hunted makes. That they check out the blood smell shows how they will never forget. I hope when you do come to Zambia you consider Zikomo. Travelers like you are exactly who we love to have come to the camp. I try to tell people that are looking for 800 thread count sheets and crystal glassware that we are a bush camp, not the Ritz. Thank you again for the lovely message!

How odd, last night my husband said to me,
 
"Have we been to Zambia yet" (I promise he is not old and senile, he just lets me plan everything ~ and follows)
 
So I said, "NO, not yet;  but I have an idea of a camp we can visit!"
 
We walk quite a bit on our safaris, so I'd have to find a private guide to take us all over Zam as well...but I sure would love to come see Billy and hang with youall for a while. I can stay in a Ritz in NYC -when I'm in Africa, I want the real bush.
 
Although I did stay at Mara Plains last month and it was the Ritz of the Mara! That was a quick girls getaway and lovely; but I do like my feet walking through the bush.
 
And, you all of course....would be a pleasure to be around.
 
Love the cub you posted..

 
We would love to have you. Contact me anytime at: zikomosafari@gmail.com About the cub!
We were so lucky! Last October a young lioness gave birth to two cubs behind Chalet #1 (there are 9) but she left one of the cubs and moved the other one. We found it on the porch when a couple of friends of ours (Virgini and Menno) stayed at Chalet #2 and had walked over to see the new chalet, heard the cub chirping, saw it and then we were all down there. We noticed how weak and small she was and so over the next four days we fed her by syringe and then baby bottle feedings every 4 hours from early morning until sunset. We kept her in the open ceiling bathroom of the chalet (which has a big mahogany tree in the middle) to keep her safe from baboons and other predators, but made sure we didn't touch her or do anything to cause the mother not to come. At sunset we would play her call on the cell phone and she would follow the sound outside. Her mother came the first two nights and fed her, but in the morning we would find her again outside the chalet. The third night the mother didn't come at all and we were panicked but every day she got so much stronger and the fourth night the mother led her (we named her Lilly) through the camp and out to where she had the other cub. It was the best possible outcome! Lilly has been seen were her sibling and her mother by guides and our security and seems to be thriving. Believe me, I did not want to let her go as we had all fallen totally in love with her, but her only good future was with her mom. The photos and videos I have always make me smile.

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Website: www.zikomosafari.com
E-mail: Zikomo@zikomosafari.com
Zambia
Office: +260 (216) 246-202
Office: +260 (216) 246-203
Mobile: +260 (979) 073-823
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 114
Mfuwe, Zambia

#18 graceland

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 11:44 PM

@zikomosafari

 

This is the best story ever....thank you for sharing; I just love that you took care enough of the cub to keep her alive; yet stayed away for mom to come in and take Lilly home.

 

Kind of got me teary... it's my kind of life for sure. Too late for me to start a camp, but I sure can support one! 

What a precious picture. it has also made me smile :)

 

The story - it is truly Africa!


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#19 sylvia000

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 02:41 PM

Hello Victory,

 

Is it possible to drive through the park to your lodge?

Or is the only way to reach the lodge by the tar road from Mfuwe?

If we camp at your lodge and want to self drive where are the best areas to drive?

Where do we cross the river to come into the park?

If we pay the park fees in the morning at the Mfuwe area and come in the afternoon to your lodge and want to self drive in the park we don t need to pay fees for that day annymore is that correct?

 

 

Hope to hear from you, greetings



#20 optig

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 08:29 AM

Dear Graceland,

Please let me know about your plans to return to South Luangwa because I've been there twice. I'll be returning there as well as North Luangwa this year.





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