Safari Guides Devastated by COVID-19

51349656_160067868074618_r.jpeg51349656_1600678708542012_r.jpeg51349656_160068052239278_r.jpeg51349656_1600679198276265_r.jpegDuncan Shangah enjoys working as a private nature safari guide at the beautiful South Luangwa National Park in the Eastern Province of Zambia. For more than 16 years, he has taken international visitors on long tours in his jeep through this amazing national park that covers 9,050 square kilometers—an area larger than the state of Delaware.

The South Luangwa National Park abounds in a wealth of pristine natural beauty and charismatic wildlife with elephants, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, lions, leopards, and many other animals all roaming freely on the plains.  Majestic balboa trees dot the savannah. And more than 400 species of birds flock to this area, while crocodiles and hippos lounge along the Luangwa River.

Since February 2020, however, no international visitors have been allowed in Zambia because of the global outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). This means that Duncan Shangah, a father of six children, and his village of 600 people near the South Luangwa National Park have lost their major source of income. The whole village depends on nature tourism—they are  either guides like Duncan, or they work in the lodges near the park, or they create crafts to sell to visitors, or other activities. All of these opportunities have vanished under the current pandemic.

Without nature tourism and its income and jobs, the community is experiencing hunger and poverty. Children cannot go to school because the families do not have school fees. It is a tragic situation that this nature tourism village is experiencing through no fault of their own.

The key to saving the spectacular African wilderness is the villagers who live near the national parks. They truly are the guardians of this stunning bounty. Supporting the villagers will help save the elephants, lions, zebras, hippos, and all the other animals and nature we all love. Not only do the villagers work with park rangers to find and stop poachers—they also inform the rangers and government officials about what is going on with the park’s animals and landscape, and they educate visitors and others about the importance of the park.

 I am raising money for Duncan and the villagers to help them during this difficult period brought on by COVID-19. Duncan was my nature guide to South Luangwa National Park when I was in Zambia on assignment for a client. Duncan was an excellent nature guide, very knowledgeable, extremely conscientious of guests, and passionate about protecting the environment. We started our four-hour tour in the afternoon, with Duncan slowly driving through the national park and we saw every animal you can imagine—from elephants to lions to giraffe to zebras to impalas, all in their natural habitat. We then stopped and watched the sun set over a lagoon. Afterwards we travelled throughout the park at night so we could see the nocturnal animals.  It was truly a magical experience and one I will always treasure. When I returned to the United States, Duncan acted as a research source for my articles and he kindly answered my questions about nature and life in Zambia.

The money I am raising will go directly to Duncan and his fellow villagers so they can buy food and other essentials for the entire community. The money will also be used to pay for school fees for the children.

If you can spare $5 or $10 or more, please give. I am also asking, even if you can’t spare a few dollars, to forward an email about this GoFundMe campaign to your friends or post it on Facebook or other social media.

I hope that Zambia will be able to lift the travel restrictions soon, and that international nature tourists can return and see all the wonders of South Luangwa National Park and the other national parks and reserves in Zambia. Duncan and everyone in his village would love for life to return to normal so they can work again to share and help preserve these precious resources. Until then, your gift can make a huge difference.

On behalf of Duncan, his village, and all of the wildlife in South Luangwa National Park they love and protect, thank you! 

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Donations

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  • Lisa Oelfke 
    • $15 
    • 5 d
  • james blackmore 
    • $40 
    • 5 d
  • Dominic Trujillo 
    • $50 
    • 6 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 11 d
  • Linda Zlotoff 
    • $75 
    • 13 d
See all

Organizer

Carollyne Hutter 
Organizer
Berlin, MD
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