An Easter Story of Community Development in Zambia

Paul Changuion | April 14, 2022

The story of Shawa Luangwa Camp and how its people have taken the opportunity to recreate themselves is a true Easter tale of new life. Get ready to be inspired by this project championing community development in Zambia.

Shawa Luangwa Camp is part of our community development in Zambia

As one of our latest Zambian camps that opened for the first-time last year, Shawa Luangwa Camp has brought new beginnings to the communities neighbouring South Luangwa National Park.

The front view of the main boma area of Shawa Luangwa Camp in South Luangwa National Park
The main boma at Shawa Luangwa Camp as dusk falls over the South Luangwa National

Many have played an integral part from the start of the camp – all the way from construction into its first year of operations. They are the brilliant people that make Shawa tick, under the guidance of Head Guide (and the camp’s eponym), Jacob Shawa and General Manager, Killian Sylayabonga.

Head Guide and General Manager side hug and look at cameraat Shawa Luangwa Camp
Jacob Shawa (Head Guide) and Killian Syalyabonga (General Manager) at Shawa Luangwa Camp | Photo credit: Dani Rose of Zambian Ground Handlers

Our lodges and camps are the means to an end that is built on empowering local people through community development in Zambia (and Malawi at Kaya Mawa). Shawa Luangwa has been no different, and while we also support community projects beyond the camp, onboarding and training an entirely new team of staff has created sustainable livelihoods and income for local people.

Meet the team of Shawa Luangwa Camp

We chat to Fanny Sakala and Peter Manda about some of their learnings, experiences and contributions as staff members at Shawa.

The team at Shawa Luangwa Camp is an example of Green Safaris project of community development in Zambia
(From left to right, top to bottom) Jacob Shawa, Abinala Shonga, Fanny Sakala, Peter Manda, Isaac Njobvu, Wade Mpokonta, Olipa Phiri, Killian Syalyabonga, Simon Ngoma, Benson Njobvu, Cephas Zimba, Samson Tembo & Amos Ngoma | (Absent) Jobri Ngoma, Limbi Tembo & Kenny Njobvu | Photo credit: Dani Rose of Zambian Ground Handlers

Fanny – she’s in the third spot from left in the photo – comes from a nearby community and joined the Green Safaris family as a trainee waiter at Shawa. Her love for nature and people means working at a bush camp is where she’s meant to be.

It’s important for her that people understand and appreciate the importance tourism plays in conserving Zambia’s precious fauna and flora. That’s why she talks to her friends and family back home about what she learns while at camp – from chatting with other staff members about looking after the surrounding South Luangwa environment to meeting guests from different parts of the world.

Fanny’s wow wildlife moment was watching two big bull elephants fighting in camp and she feels it’s a privilege to experience wildlife so close. She looks forward to the day when she sees the elusive pangolin – it’s not an if for her, it’s a when!

An elephant at the firepit of Shawa Luangwa Camp of the South Luangwa National Park
One of the curious ellies of the South Luangwa pays the camp a visit | Photo credit: Linda Rorbye

Peter – you can spot him standing to the right of Fanny in the photo – started at Shawa from the very beginning, building the camp from the ground up as part of the construction team. Today he is an assistant at the camp workshop, where he is upskilling in welding, mechanics and repair.

When he’s not in the workshop, Peter is enjoying the beauty of the wild South Luangwa bush. His best wildlife sighting to date has been the rather noisy and vicious affair of a pair of lions mating. At the top of his wildlife wish-list is seeing a leopard on the hunt. We don’t think it will be long before his wish comes true because, after all, he lives and works in the Valley of the Leopard.

Guests on a guided game drive stop to watch a pack of African wild dogs
Guests on a solar-powered, guided game drive watch a pack of African wild dogs | Photo credit: Gerben van der Waals

Shawa also brought with it a fresh start to the entire safari experience. It is the first camp in the South Luangwa to have game drive vehicles and boats that run completely off solar power. Our Silent Safari concept was born in Kafue National Park at Ila Safari Lodge, but has taken root and blossomed across our two new Zambian properties – Shawa and Chisa Busanga Camp on the Busanga Plains. By exploring these pristine wilderness areas in an eco-conscious way, you get the chance to really tune into the quiet of nature and the animals are less disturbed by our presence.

From the whole Green Safaris family, we wish you and yours a happy (and chocolate-filled!) Easter spent with the ones you love.

P.S: If you’re taking this downtime to plan your next holiday, you can make an enquiry or booking for any of our properties in Zambia and Malawi.

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