We have recently returned from a safari to Tafika, Remote Africa Safaris in South Luangwa – Zambia, which is an authentic African Safari experience made up of Tafika, Chikoko Camps and Mwaleshi which are situated in the highly productive wildlife region of the Luangwa Valley. Tafika is around 60km from Mfuwe airport.
The camps are re-built each year (to some extent as a result of the rains) by the local villagers of Mkasanga with natural materials. The owners in this initiative, John & Carol Coppinger with co-owner Bryan Jackson, have engaged with the Mkasanga community over the last 20 years to create a very impressive & working partnership – most important of all is that the projects are maintained.
Apart from the employment, annual lodge building work & skills transfer created within the safari operation Remote Africa Safaris have established projects within the Mkasanga Village & have encouraged their visitors & tour operators to participate in the Tafika Fund to support their community projects.
Three projects worth noting are the assistance and upliftment of the Government run Mkasanga School where the buildings have been renovated, purchase and supply of stationary, textbooks and over 2,500 library books and assistance with teachers’ salary payments.
The Tafika Fund has also created a scholarship programme for post school training where there are presently 30 students assisted.
An outpatient clinic was established in 2006 which acts as a first aid centre for over 2,000 residents of Mkasanga with a long term plan to include an outpatient maternity wing.
Guests are furthermore encouraged to pack items in their luggage, prior to their visit that can make a difference. These include deflated footballs or netballs, educational posters, coloured pens, pencils & crayons as well as medical supplies.
For this they have partnered with the “pack for a purpose” initiative which has worldwide reach and more can be seen at http://www.packforapurpose.org/docs/countries/zambia/tafika-camp.shtml
John Coppinger conducts micro light flights over the concession areas in the early mornings which are a great way for guests to experience an aerial view of the rich diversity of the Luangwa system and this is undoubtedly a good management tool for conservation control over the region as well as keeping tabs on the location of the wildlife.
The wildlife activities were impressive, we got to see close to 300 crowned cranes landing in the salt pan delta as well as some new species for us which included: the four toed elephant shrew; the marsh or water mongoose & bushy tailed mongoose. We were lucky with some good Serval viewing and large numbers of Buffalo & Elephant, good predators, Eland, Zebra, Thornycrofts Giraffe. We were also able to photograph a Bat Hawk near the Tafika camp.
At this time of the year the large population of “food stressed” hippos are feeding on the sausages of the Sausage Tree (Kigelia – one of the only places where this happens and something that I have never seen before) & the many crocodile nesting sites can be seen from the micro light flights along the Luangwa riverbank in the early mornings.
ROGERS BIRD FACT
Chamberlain’s LBJ Book – by Faansie Peacock
Here is a real find!
This book is a field guide to help with a very difficult section of bird identification known by birders as “little brown jobs”. These often non-descript birds can drive birders crazy due to the similarity in closely related species.
The author of this book has completely revolutionised bird identification in Southern Africa.
It is immediately visible that the author is not only an extremely accomplished birder but one who has a passion for not only the subject of birding but an immense desire to empart his knowledge to other birders.
Not only novice birders but accomplished birders will benefit immensely from this book. The attention to detail is something that I have never witnessed before in a field guide.
Thank you very much Chamberlain’s and Faansie for this much needed ornithological masterpiece.
For more details or to order the book, please visit the following link www.LBJS.co.za