page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68

False May 2008 Travel Zambia 33 Interview anti- poaching work and Anna wanted to run a wildlife and conservation education project. Anna: After arriving in Lusaka, we heard about two plots of land for sale just outside South Luangwa National Park, near Mfuwe. We had visited the park in 1994 and knew it to be one of Africa’s best, so we drove over 500 miles to view them. I understand the plots were unsuitable. Steve: Yes. They turned out to be too close to Mfuwe, they weren’t well positioned and they were too expensive. You must have been disappointed, given how much you loved the area? Anna: Very much so. But fate then played a strong hand. After attending a conservation class at a local school, we told the teacher about our dream to build a wildlife education centre. He amazed us by saying that he was closely related to Chief Kakumbi of the local Kunda people, and offered to introduce us to him to ask for some land. What did Chief Kakumbi think of your plans? Steve: He loved the idea. What’s more, he immediately gave us a huge plot of tribal land with long river frontages. The chief told us that we were the first white people who had wanted to do something directly for his people. Did everything proceed smoothly after you acquired the land? Anna: Unfortunately not. There was a lot of opposition to what we wanted to do – including from some of the lodges, who thought that such a prime site should be used for tourist purposes. Steve: But we felt local children had just as much right – if not more – to their own place alongside the Luangwa River. Somewhere that they, too, could view wildlife. How long did it take to get permission to build? Steve: Thirteen months. We were forced to fight a political battle. Fortunately, we received the backing of various MPs and government ministries. We were especially grateful for the strong support we got from the Deputy Minister of Education, who was also MP for the area. Permission was finally granted on 31 August 1999, at a high- level meeting chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Eastern Province, as a result of ‘ overwhelming community support’. Chief Kakumbi, who sadly died in 2000, spoke strongly in support of the project and probably tipped the balance in our favour. So where did you get the name ‘ Chipembele’? Anna: It’s the local Nyanja name for rhino. It seemed a fitting emblem for a conservation venture, since black rhinos were poached to extinction in the Luangwa Valley by the 1980s. How was Chipembele financed? Steve: Initially from our savings, the proceeds of our house sale and my police pension. Now, friends in the UK have established a registered charity, the Chipembele Trust, which helps raise funds to support the charitable body we have set up in Zambia. Who built the centre? Steve: Amazingly, I did – with the help of 30 local labourers. It took nine months to erect the building, which stands 22 metres by 12. We used tons of natural stone from the local Nchendini Top: Local schoolchildren make the acquaintance of Chipembele’s resident warthogs. Middle: The centre’s museum is crammed with fascinating artefacts. Below: Game drives in the park are all part of a day at Chipembele. RON TOFT MIKE UNWIN CHIPEMBELE

False 34 Travel Zambia May 2008