November 2008 Travel Zambia 43 live in them," she reflects. " Nothing rivals finding a spot where you can sit in total solitude and watch the wildlife pass you by". Of course life in the bush has its downsides: " The hours are often very long and exhausting," admits Storm. " Sometimes the novelty of being in a remote location can be tough: contact with family and friends back home is limited, and it can get lonely as you are often cut off for long periods of time." But every camp manager I spoke to said they wouldn't swap their job for anything. " When a guest leaves and sheds a tear because they have had the time of their lives," reflects Storm, " there is no greater feeling of satisfaction!" So next time you're relaxing in camp, remember that in the background there may be elephants raiding the garden, the generator breaking down, honey badgers in the store cupboard, baboons in the scullery and all sorts of other unmentionable happenings. And spare a thought for your manager, who'll be there at the bar – come hell or high water – to greet you with a smile and pour you that perfect gin and tonic. Anna Devereux Baker now works as a safari consultant for Expert Africa ( www. expertAfrica. com), where she manages the Zambia department. Lodge life Some handy hints from Anna Devereux Baker: Build a good rapport with your staff: they're the ones who make it happen. Check around camp each morning for ' visitors.' Store all food securely, and out of the reach of the local wildlife. Cook for your staff once in a while, instead of always vice versa. Add character to camp, with seed pods, baskets and other interesting items. Add rehydration salts to your guests' fresh juice during the hotter months. Keep a game sightings book for guests to look through. Smile – even when dinner is late, the monkeys have pinched the cake and the ice has defrosted. Ten top tips for MANAGERS
44 Travel Zambia November 2008 My alarm clock this morning was the plaintive squeak of a little rhino. All things are relative of course: even a ' little' rhino weighs more at birth than most mere mortals can lift, and this was a sub- adult sized hulk that woke me up. But on a rhino scale, she's a baby! Her name is Intanda, which means ' Star' in Chinyanja, and she is the last of the newly- delivered batch of black rhinos left in the bomas. Her journey to North Luangwa National Park ( NLNP) in Zambia has been a long one – the culmination of a story that began before she was born, and one that involves governments across Africa and the hard work of many, many dedicated people. Throughout the late 1970s and ' 80s a poaching onslaught devastated North Luangwa National Park ( NLCP). Black rhinos, valued for their lucrative horn, were hit particularly hard. Efforts to save this threatened pachyderm were in vain: as a designated ' Wilderness Area', North Luangwa received little protection, and its rhinos – along with the rest of the 2,000- strong population that inhabited the Luangwa Valley – were soon wiped out. The North Luangwa Conservation Project was launched in 1986, with the support of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, in order to support the local Zambia Wildlife Authority ( ZAWA) in its conservation programme. Renewed efforts and increased funding soon allowed more scouts to be recruited and trained, and poaching pressure started to diminish. Wildlife numbers began to recover, with the recovery of elephant populations, in particular, being a sure sign that the worst was over. The tide was beginning to turn. Central to many a conservation initiative lies the belief that if an area is made sufficiently secure it should be possible to reintroduce a highly endangered species, such as the black rhino. Furthermore, by returning such a species to its former range, one ensures a long- term commitment to security that will benefit not only the species in question but also the entire ecosystem on which it relies. Of course, none of this can be achieved without the support of local communities Above: The waiting will soon be over for this latest arrival in the bomas. Right: The rhinos undergo periodic veterinary checks as they adapt to their new life in the wild. All pics by nLCPnLCP The dilemmas of a horn Treats such as sweet potatoes and sugar cane sticks often helped encourage good behaviour. 2008 marks the tenth anniversary of a bleak moment in Zambia's history. In 1998 the black rhino was declared ' nationally extinct'. One of the Big Five was gone forever – or so it seemed at the time. But, with the help of the North Luangwa Conservation Project, times have since changed. Claire Lewis, project leader since 2007, reports on an exciting success story.