My time in Zambia with the guides, porters, and Safpar crew changed my life in powerful ways I'm still trying to understand. These incredible people, who took me in like family, are now just barely making it because of the Covid-19 shut downs and sudden lack of tourism. The restrictions on international travel have disproportionally affected the rafting community in Livingstone, other sections of the tourism industry have concentrated on domestic tourism to generate income. Due to the nature of whitewater rafting on the Zambezi, only a limited number of domestic tourists choose to take on the challenge. I'm starting this Gofundme project in the hope that we can all help them more than I could ever help by myself.
If you’ve ever been to Zambia or Zimbabwe, you know how delicate the community around the Zambezi is, completely dependent on tourism for basic shelter and sustenance. Because of Covid-19, tourism in Livingstone has come to a halt and the community of Safari Par Excellence staff and guides needs our help.
The Zambezi River at Victoria Falls is one of the seven wonders of world. Tourists from all over the world travel into Livingstone to see the falls and most of those tourists also raft the Zambezi River. There are only a few companies on both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides, and all are dependent on the international clientele brought by Victoria Falls tourism. While the park itself and the falls are heart of Livingstone, the money from tourism reaches out to all parts of the community. Tourists fund the restaurants and bars, the shops, the craft malls, and the rafting companies which pay the adventure guides, raft guides, and porters from the villages who carry everything into and out of the gorge.
The community is full of some of the hardest working men and women anywhere, just trying to make enough to live and to share with their families in the villages. At the heart of the community is the largest guide service and rafting company in the gorge, Safari Par Excellence. Safari Par Excellence is a medium sized tour operator with a number of different operations. Income generated from accommodation, food and beverage sales and other activities have not been as adversely affected, and have allowed Safpar to continue to pay a subsistence allowance to all their rafting guides, porters, raft repair team and drivers. This is however a fraction of their employees normal income.
Without help from the Zambian government, Safpar has gone above and beyond to help their employees. It is still far from enough. It’s a hard enough way of life when tourism is good, but with the life blood of the community shut off, they need our help too.
Anything you can do will help. All the money donated here, aside from the GoFundMe fees, will be distributed to the guides, porters, and to their families. For about $20 USD you can support someone for about a week. For $150 you can support a small family for up to a month. Every little bit helps, so let's show their community the love and support they show us when we visit.
- Sam B
- Christopher Dwyer
Fundraising team: Boyd & Chris (2)