The Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit (VFAPU) was founded by Charles Brightman, with the backing of the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, in 1999, and now includes backing from many other lodges such as Ilala Lodge. Since then, they have made considerable inroads into the removal of snares from the Zambezi National Park.
Apart from this tangible aspect of their work, the VFAPU has made huge strides in educating the local community in the long-term benefits of conserving the region’s natural resources. Tourists can to learn more about his important organisation, and give something back, by taking part in the excursions offered by the Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit. A guided safari with a difference, this outing takes place in the Zambezi National Park and gives participants a ‘backstage’ view of the operations of the park.
For starters, clients are given a brief introduction to the VFAPU, its mission statement, history, challenges and successes. They are also educated with regard to the different types of poaching which occur in the area and shown how snares are laid and how they function. Suitably fired up, they are then taken out, in small groups, on a fascinating adventure into the depths of the park, to experience the work of the anti poaching unit first hand. A variety of terrain is covered, and a good level of fitness is required in order to make the most of this outing.
Binoculars, hats, sunscreen, cameras, comfortable hiking boots and a supply of water are essential items to take along with you. Before setting off, you will be provided with a light breakfast, tea or coffee and mineral water. During the walk, guests actively participate in the daily activities of the VFAPU by recording any game sighted, pointing out spoor and keeping a sharp lookout for snares of any kind.
The benefits of these excursions are threefold to the anti-poaching organisation. The fees generated allow the VFAPU to visit areas that are normally beyond their means, the clients provide much-needed extra manpower by assisting with snare-spotting and the knowledge and enjoyment that the participants gain on these unique safaris is an invaluable marketing tool.
A video of the new excursion can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NK3JLWVoKw&feature=share