Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I should have a lot more photos from Lochinvar but unfortunately they were deleted from my camera before I could store them on my computer – my fault I suspect. However, here are a few photos to give some idea of the wonder of that place.
In the UK we have a rather different view of some of the wildlife to the local people. On several occasions during our visit the desire for a bit of 'game meat' was expressed – fotunately – or unfortunately that desire wasn't satisfied! When I talk about my ponds at home, many people can't understand why I would have fish in my garden but not eat them! For me to be walking across fields frequented by lechwe, zebra and other animals is a joy. We didn't see any Hippos though we could hear them calling in the distance and could see there footprints in the mud by the stream.
I hope that Zambia will find a way of providing access to their wildlife without destroying it, also that the local people benefit from the tourism. Unfortunately it seems to be rare that benefits are seen locally. Often people are displaced and profits go out of the country. Even at Lochinvar I suspect that there are few if any benefits for the local people. I have heard that those living in the park now have difficulties with access.
The past week there have been the Big Cat programmes on the BBC live from the Masai Mara. There are no big cats in Lochinvar – though I have seen suggestions that leopards hunt here (which might explain the leopard in the convent, next to Monze Mission Hospital, last year) – however the sights and sounds of the Masai Mara are very familiar. There is something very unique and awe inspiring about the African landscape and I feel very privileged to be able to experience it.
I have often said that I would love to enjoy being a tourist in Zambia, but I could only do that when my friends can also afford to enjoy the joy and wonder of their own country. A day in a safari camp costs the equivalent of a year's wages for the local Zambian which demonstrates the huge gap that exists. It also shows however the potential for providing income if it was properly managed.