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Zimbabwe - to skip or not to skip


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#1 offshorebirder

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 12:58 AM

--Moving a couple of threads that were veering off-topic to this forum from the 'Interviews' and 'Lodge, Camp, and Operator News' forums...

The sad fact is that what @African Bush Camps recently said about Zimbabwe applies to pretty much all African safari destinations. They ALL need our tourism revenue to provide an alternative against poaching, bushmeat, deforestation, etc. Wildlife is in dire straits in all of them.

I do not have the means to visit them all, so I plan to travel to the places where I will "reward bad behavior" the least. And Zimbabwe is at the bottom of the list by far, due to outpacing the others in the bad behavior department.

Simple as that.

I imagine I may visit other countries multiple times while Zim stays on the back burner. A shame perhaps, but like my grandmother used to say "I can't help everybody".

I am not urging others to do so or calling for worldwide boycotts of Zim, but following my own reasoning and conscience.
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#2 graceland

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 01:37 AM

--Moving a couple of threads that were veering off-topic to this forum from the 'Interviews' and 'Lodge, Camp, and Operator News' forums...

The sad fact is that what @African Bush Camps recently said about Zimbabwe applies to pretty much all African safari destinations. They ALL need our tourism revenue to provide an alternative against poaching, bushmeat, deforestation, etc. Wildlife is in dire straits in all of them.

I do not have the means to visit them all, so I plan to travel to the places where I will "reward bad behavior" the least. And Zimbabwe is at the bottom of the list by far, due to outpacing the others in the bad behavior department.

Simple as that.

I imagine I may visit other countries multiple times while Zim stays on the back burner. A shame perhaps, but like my grandmother used to say "I can't help everybody".

I am not urging others to do so or calling for worldwide boycotts of Zim, but following my own reasoning and conscience.

 

 

Just a question to placate me as I obviously will not skip Zimbabwe as a terrific safari destination, no matter.. the people did not institute the devastation ; they are trying to preserve their country.

 

Do you feel living in a state( SC) that allows no quota on bucks killed during a year humane? and not consider deer as  wildlife, but perhaps swarm. They have families as well, travel in their herds, have babies; and I more often observed them having to  protect and care for the babies - they are aound my land as well and I and have seen mothers frantically protect them. From humans with guns, beer, and dogs.

 

Antiquated hunting laws....

 

http://www.thestate....le13725923.html

 

Just curious as I have lived in Sc and know it is  "hunting on steroids"-- would you feel you should move out of SC --or restrict visitors who are known wildlife enthusiasts because of the Stated Antiquated hunting laws in the article --which is against  your ethics?

 

Or, is  what/where you iive perfectly in line with your thinking ,but Zim, Bots,TZ as  you state are not?   Because it is Africa?

 

Not trying to argue , but you seem to want to LIVE in a hunting mecca --but not visit one. That confuses me.

Help me out here.


Edited by graceland, 29 March 2015 - 01:42 AM.

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#3 ice

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 05:40 AM

well, I don't want to jump ahead of @offshorebirder but I don't think you can really compare choosing the place you live with choosing the place(s) you want to visit, with the latter you pack a bag and return to your friends and family a few weeks later, with the former you pack an entire home and then hardly ever return to your friends and family


Edited by ice, 29 March 2015 - 05:43 AM.


#4 theplainswanderer

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 07:29 AM

Recently returned from safari in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe - have to say Zimbabwe was the highlight for us and nothing made us feel unwelcome, unsafe or uninspired. Wonderful wildlife and friendly people a standout. Yes no doubt the country is a basket case in many ways but we have no regrets with our decision to visit but do understand everyone has the right to decide when or wherever they choose to travel.

 

cheers


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#5 Seniortraveller

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 08:23 AM

We will be visiting Zimbabwe for the first time, later this year. I find that I am now in the position where my desire to support the people struggling to survive, as well as to have some wonderful experiences, outweighs any concerns that I may be in any way supporting the current regime.
When in South Africa last year, we were told of how much the work ethic of people from Zimbabwe was valued. We also heard of the horrendous risks people took crossing the border, so that they could work in South Africa and therefore support their family.
My very selfish concern at the moment, is that a political upheaval before we go could result in us being unable to visit!
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#6 Tdgraves

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 08:36 AM

We had this moral dilemma when we went in 2011. The Americans we met there didn't really seem aware of why this may have been an issue. I think it is slightly more complicated now, given RB's recent pronouncements. Would I go now (if I weren't already booked elsewhere), I'm not sure.....
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#7 Whyone?

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 09:59 AM

I really do think that all anyone can do is arm themselves with as many facts as possible, weigh the arguments a (ST is a great place to see these) and from here on, there is really only one person who can make the 'to travel or not to travel' judgement.....


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#8 Tdgraves

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 11:05 AM

Obviously I meant RM, not RB......
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#9 graceland

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 11:26 AM

well, I don't want to jump ahead of @offshorebirder but I don't think you can really compare choosing the place you live with choosing the place(s) you want to visit, with the latter you pack a bag and return to your friends and family a few weeks later, with the former you pack an entire home and then hardly ever return to your friends and family

Well so true @ice but here rather than there, you can change laws, politicians and truly be an advocate for the wild without losing your farm, being thrown in prison  or even murdered after having everything you own be taken away.

 

The " not rewarding bad behavior" can indeed apply to our own government but I don't see anyone leaving or travelers not coming. That was a blanket statement that could apply to just about anywhere you pinned on a map. Don't punish the poor people of Zim is all i am saying.

 

Most Zimbabweans do not have a choice (unless they slip across the border as mentioned) and as willdlife advocates and lovers of all thing Africa (and I imagine that is one reason we gather on ST); as safari-goers we should support THEM.

 

This is just my opinion which is why we have open forums; you and offshorebirder are allowed yours as well and I will duly respect them.

 

But I still would not want to lose Zimbabwe as a safari destination. I guess you have to go to understand the warmth and gratitude extended; I'd feel I was turning my back on friends and I am not the type to do that.

 

Thats all.


Edited by graceland, 29 March 2015 - 11:42 AM.

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#10 graceland

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 11:35 AM

We had this moral dilemma when we went in 2011. The Americans we met there didn't really seem aware of why this may have been an issue. I think it is slightly more complicated now, given RB's recent pronouncements. Would I go now (if I weren't already booked elsewhere), I'm not sure.....

@Tdgraves, I certainly understand yours or anyone's fears. I had them for YEARS before my trip just last Sept. 2014. Zim was the furtherest thing on my mind, but my mind opened up when I realized RM was "RM" but the people of Zim were NOT. And, I want to protect THEIR wildlife, their work, families, and love of the country (and everyone I spoke with did love their country and did not want to be forced to leave) and hoped by going I was showing my solidarity.  But I guess I am a bit eccentric when it comes to feelings. Oh and trip reports.

 

I'd have no problem returning and I probably will work on it soon as there are areas - Gonarezhou that I am very interested in - after @Paolos', @Anitas,@Sangeetas and others terrific reports.

 

A place as that seems to be one of those that are unspoiled as going back in time. I feel I need to be there.


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#11 bundu

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 11:42 AM

To quote:

"I do not have the means to visit them all, so I plan to travel to the places where I will "reward bad behavior" the least. And Zimbabwe is at the bottom of the list by far, due to outpacing the others in the bad behavior department."

This attitude is a bit myopic to say the least. Zimbabwe is home to some of the best guides, guiding and wildlife in Africa! I've worked in safaris in Zimbabwe and whole indigenous communities are supported by your tourist dollar - not just the government!

The government still runs the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. Parks still run the big wildlife areas such as Mana, Matusadona and Hwange. Pay your fees, enjoy the bush and tip your guides, drivers, porters etc...support the people and help them see value in protecting the wildlife resources. The moment the the parks stop generating income they will be closed, the game shot out and mining and other environmental asset stripping will proceed unchecked!

Rural communities compete with wildlife in order to survive. If those protected areas cannot help support the indigenous locals then they will soon become goat infested areas prone to desertification and disease.

Go to Zimbabwe and support sustainable wildlife tourism - anything else will ultimately lead to the collapse of the zimbabwean safari economy.
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#12 graceland

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 02:39 PM

To quote:

"I do not have the means to visit them all, so I plan to travel to the places where I will "reward bad behavior" the least. And Zimbabwe is at the bottom of the list by far, due to outpacing the others in the bad behavior department."

This attitude is a bit myopic to say the least. Zimbabwe is home to some of the best guides, guiding and wildlife in Africa! I've worked in safaris in Zimbabwe and whole indigenous communities are supported by your tourist dollar - not just the government!

The government still runs the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. Parks still run the big wildlife areas such as Mana, Matusadona and Hwange. Pay your fees, enjoy the bush and tip your guides, drivers, porters etc...support the people and help them see value in protecting the wildlife resources. The moment the the parks stop generating income they will be closed, the game shot out and mining and other environmental asset stripping will proceed unchecked!

Rural communities compete with wildlife in order to survive. If those protected areas cannot help support the indigenous locals then they will soon become goat infested areas prone to desertification and disease.

Go to Zimbabwe and support sustainable wildlife tourism - anything else will ultimately lead to the collapse of the zimbabwean safari economy.

 

Well said, @bundu,

 

 I had the thoughts, but not as well put as your words on the page.

 

G.



#13 offshorebirder

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 07:08 PM

@graceland - @ice is right - you are making an apples and oranges comparison. 

 

FYI: I was born and raised here, and after living away for a while, I felt compelled to come back to fight conservation battles in the face of looming Florida-style overdevelopment.  So I moved back from San Francisco and founded and am Executive Director of a conservation nonprofit. 

 

In terms of your "Bambi" question:

 

White-tailed Deer are a dime a thousand in the eastern U.S.  - quite the opposite of elephants, rhinos, giraffes, etc.

 

White-tailed Deer are OUTRAGEOUSLY overpopulated here, as with the rest of the eastern U.S.   Since humans have eliminated nearly all of White-tailed Deer's significant predators, it is incumbent upon humans to limit their population for the good of the ecology of the forests they live in.  Forests with heavy overpopulation of deer have almost no understory/mid-story, since the deer eat all seedlings before they can mature and consume all the shrubs, bushes, etc. they can reach.

 

States like Pennsylvania that do not have as much hunter "take" as SC have terrible problems with their breeding populations of Black-throated Blue Warblers, Kentucky Warblers, etc. etc. as a direct result of overpopulated deer browsing.  Besides birds, reptiles and other mammals also suffer terribly from deer overpopulaton. In recent years, the arrival of coyotes and other factors are starting to reduce the deer concentrations in South Carolina a little and the powers than be are (a bit belatedly) instituting new limits on White-tailed Deer hunting.

 

You also seemed to equate Tanzania and Bots with Zimbabwe in terms of my having issues with them. Another apples and oranges comparison.  My issues with Bots include the government's heinous treatment of the San Bushmen, Ian Khama's increasingly authoritarian/censoring/nepotistic/undemocratic regime, etc.  My issue with Tanzania is their repeated evictions of Maasai from their land to sell or lease it to foreigners, and other non-hunting/wildlife issues.


Edited by offshorebirder, 29 March 2015 - 07:27 PM.

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#14 offshorebirder

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 07:23 PM

As I said, there are many worthy destinations with their hands out for tourism revenue. 

 

So @bundu - I should drop helping get Chad / Zakouma off the ground as a probable next destination (after Kenya which is already booked) in favor of Zim, while Mugabe and his cronies laugh at us, take tourist profits and are possibly preparing to seize / ruin wildlife holdings?

 

Or I should drop Sangha Lodge in the Central African Republic and MULTIPLE other worthy options while Mugabe and his cronies laugh at us, take tourist profits and are possibly preparing to seize / ruin wildlife holdings?

 

No thank you very much.

 

You call it mypoic, I call it looking over the horizon.


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#15 offshorebirder

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 07:58 PM

@graceland - you should also Google the term "ACE Basin".  

 

As a result of conservation easements put on vast privately owned deer and duck HUNTING preserves in south-coastal South Carolina, hundreds of thousands of acres have been preserved for wildlife from development, in perpetuity.  Many endangered species have been given an enourmous boost as a result.

 

South Carolina is a visionary state in terms of land conservation - despite being a small state, we have millions of acres of permanently protected lands, both privately owned and state+federal holdings.

 

We take a back seat to nobody else in the USA in that respect.


Edited by offshorebirder, 29 March 2015 - 08:03 PM.

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#16 bundu

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 08:25 PM

As I said, there are many worthy destinations with their hands out for tourism revenue. 

 

So @bundu - I should drop helping get Chad / Zakouma off the ground as a probable next destination (after Kenya which is already booked) in favor of Zim, while Mugabe and his cronies laugh at us, take tourist profits and are possibly preparing to seize / ruin wildlife holdings?

 

What poppy-cock! And I mean that in the original Afrikaans sense...

 

Do what you wish, say what you wish, go where you wish...your heart is too mean spirited to embrace the larger picture.

 

If you were truly looking over the horizon you would concede that no-one is immortal and Zimbabwe was once also a visionary country in terms of the sustainable utilisation of natural resources and community engagement...it will be again!


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#17 offshorebirder

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 08:34 PM

I guess time will tell if the regime continues after Mugabe's demise...

 

And @bundu, you have no clue about my heart or what lies in it!


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#18 Sangeeta

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 08:45 PM

@offshorebirder - I agree with you completely that there are many wildlife destinations in Africa that are clamoring for both our money and our attention, and good for you if you can do your bit to help with Zakouma etc. Chad is lucky to have a far-sighted government that sees value in protecting its wildlife resources.

 

But such is not the case for many countries (African or otherwise) - even ostensibly democratic ones. If we were to use the relative corruption or authoritarian tendencies etc of a given government or head of state as the yardstick by which we measure our willingness to visit or skip a particular country's wildlife, then the number of countries that make the list would be pathetically small. You seem to be saying that some countries have more strikes against them than others - true- but honestly, if I were to do a side by side comparison of ZImbabwe with for instance, Tanzania (a hugely popular safari destination), I would be hard pressed to make Zim look any worse than Tanzania.

 

But my reason for jumping into this discussion was the fact that you objected so strongly to eles being killed for food in Zim - it sounded to me like this was perhaps the straw that broke the proverbial Zim camel's back for you? But in fact, one of the enduring justifications for hunting provided by the hunting fraternity is that they provide 'protein to poor villagers'. Look at any discussion of any ele hunt by SCI, Bob Parson, the Trump sons, the King of Spain and others - you'll always find this protein argument high on their list of why hunting is such a good thing for the poor communities that have to live with wildlife. Given this widespread acceptance of killing eles for food within the hunting community, the Zim policy of shooting for ration is neither illogical nor out of place.

 

I happen to believe that hunting itself is an anachronism in this day and age. In fact, I believe that hunting highly intelligent animals for their heads is much worse than an anachronism. But I will admit that my thinking is no longer as linear as it used to be on this subject.

 

When I see the decimation of the elephant population in what was until very recently the stronghold of the African elephant - the Selous Game Reserve in Tz - I am prepared to join hands with anyone to help stop the scourge of poaching. Even hunters. But this does not take away from the fact that the SGR has been under the so-called stewardship of the Tz government and of hunting companies for decades and both have proven that neither do they have the wherewithal to prevent this scale of poaching (hard to do that when influential people themselves are involved, I admit), and nor the conscience to stop hunting a population that has been so reduced and stressed by poaching.

 

Compare this to the Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe. A hunting concession where the ele population has increased from the original 300 transplants when the conservancy was formed, to more than 3000 today. And at its wits end to somehow keep this wildlife and wilderness afloat and intact among land-grabs and all manner of intimidation and corruption.

 

I agree with you that things are never black and white, but the only point I am trying to make here is that Zimbabwe is not worse than many other places - in fact, in many respects, it is better.

 

 


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#19 Game Warden

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 10:00 PM

@bundu

 

your heart is too mean spirited to embrace the larger picture.

 

I think that an unfair comment: you don't know @offshorebirder to be able to make such a statement. I think the comment by @Whyone? earlier applies to each of us.


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#20 graceland

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 10:13 PM

@offshorebirder, I am sorry I have angered you to this point, but I did not start the conversation on "boycotting Zim" as I was trying to dig deeper in to what moved you to post - and indeed you did include Botswana and Tanzania in your lists of "maybe' in your former posts. I never said  you equated them to Mugabe. You just included them in your lists.

 

As well,  you also have no idea what lies in my heart as well.

 

Zimbabwe is one country that is.

 

I am happy though that you are planning a trip to Chad and Zakouma; I wish I had the means to go as well sooner than later. Will look forward to  your report. There have been some excellent ones here on ST, and some long time STrs' are  returning very soon; I look forward to hearing more from them. .

 

As well on Kenya from which I just returned-- and, has its own inherent  problems, but since you are booked I guess you overlooked them.

 

I lived in South Carolina for years; it is full of lust of  blood hunters IMO;  I personally do not believe it is "incumbent among humans to limit (I.e . kill) anything" We are not royalty, gods,  or Robert Mugabe.

 

You have your personal feelings and I have mine. Lets leave it at that. We will obviously never agree (Ie. Kiwaha Develpment Corp and its  "land conservation" babble) which is BS. They have done nothing but try to make money out of their so called conservation efforts on Bohicket Creek. I know, I lived there. Probably before you were born. Its all money driven...hmm, sounds familiar to a few Africa countries.

 

Apples to Oranges ? Vanilla to Chocolate;  YOU may want to google that one.

 

Have a great trip to Kenya. It is an amazing destination.

 

I WILL return to both Kenya and Zimbabwe;  Botswana and Tanzania. I go for the wildlife, not the politics.

And if I am fortunate --one day Zakouma (so maybe we do have something in common)

 

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