Up to 130,000 elephants roam the wild lands of Botswana – and that is not counting transient herds moving across country boundaries in the region. As a significant range state, Botswana was the only nation in southern Africa to support a total and permanent ban on the ivory trade at the 2016 CITES conference.
I am investigating the social and economic impacts of Ngoma Safari Lodge—one of AWF’s Conservation Lodges located adjacent to Chobe National Park in Botswana on local communities.
Besides Lupani Primary School and Machenje Fishing Lodge, a number of other key AWF projects—in this area that includes Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—are bringing benefits to wildlife and people in the Kazungula landscape.
To some African communities, the presence of wildlife is perceived as a threat to their livelihoods. Elephants are crop eating, water tank tipping nuisances. Lions are cattle attacking predators. Routine chores involve the added danger of stumbling upon a hippo or crocodile at the riverbank.
To others, where there is wildlife, they see opportunity. For many African nations, tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors. In fact, Tanzania’s earnings topped 1.88 billion US Dollars in 2013, superseding gold as their number one foreign exchange earner.
Becky Walter, AWF intern in the field, signs off with the final installment of her photo diary of adventures in the Kazungula Heartland. Click on any of the images below to view them in full size.