Operating lodges and camps in protected ecosystems in Africa alongside local indigenous communities and wildlife comes with a great deal of responsibility.
The lodge operator is committed to responsible tourism. They conduct their business in a manner that benefits the environment and wildlife conservation, the people who work for them, and neighbouring communities. In this way the tourism operations, and the presence of guests, has the capacity to protect natural wildlife areas, alleviate poverty through good employment practices and contribute positively to the local community.
They work together with community development, wildlife conservation and responsible tourism specialists to ensure that they operate in accordance with these principles. They are guided by our Responsible Tourism Policy along with annually prepared responsible tourism plans that detail all of their activities.
The guides are from the local area, so have a vested interest in sustaining the environment and the ecosystem around it.
In recognition of our commitment to responsible tourism, the safari operator has won prestigious international awards including the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards Joint Overall Winner in 2011, making them the ultimate winner across all 13 award categories.
The photographer will demonstrate the best ways to take pictures of the wildlife in their natural habitats - without getting too close to them
A percentage amount of the guests stay goes towards Project Luangwa: Project Luangwa is a privately supported NGO that attempts to improve the lives of the communities in the Luangwa valley.
Health Luangwa Safaris Association (made up of people from the safari camps and lodges in South Luangwa National Park) funds a doctor in the Luangwa Valley to care for their staff and clients. We are far from a major hospital in case of emergency for members of staff or guests and so formed the medical fund to pay for doctors to come and work in the Luangwa Valley. Our doctors not only look after the medical needs of guests and staff but also work as consultants at our local rural health centre which is extremely under resourced.
Indeed, most of the doctor's time is donated to the Kakumbi Rural Health Centre in Mfuwe near the main entrance to the national park. At the clinic the doctor works as a consultant to the staff nurses seeing patients with a wide variety of health problems ranging from malaria to AIDS to trauma to obstetric issues.
School In 1988, we started the Kawaza School Fund (now Project Luangwa). At first just a borehole and pump were installed but money was continually raised and small improvements made.
In 2004 the Romilly Forshall Foundation donated £22,000 to pay for new classrooms. But classrooms are no use without teachers and the fund started to pay a small living allowance to a few volunteer teachers making it possible to reduce the teacher pupil ratio to an acceptable level. That same year the community itself built 3 teachersí houses and 5 single toilets.
As funds grew more work was undertaken and the school now has 9 classrooms plus 1 for pre-school children, 3 twin toilet blocks, 5 teachersí houses, 2 boreholes and an overseas volunteerís house. A library was completed in 2009. Recently a solar power system, a television and a video have been donated.
Kawaza teaches up to Grade 9 and has over 1000 pupils. Project Luangwa pays monthly allowances to 5 volunteer teachers.
Over the years Kawaza Basic School has been well supported with funds from many generous donors. With regard to infrastructure and equipment it far outstrips many other schools in South Luangwa. Project Luangwa is working hard to bring its other supported schools up to this standard.