Kamukonzo Community Campsite
The role of tourism for local communities.
Tourism plays a pivotal role in driving local income, employment, and development across various communities adjacent to wildlife regions in Africa, and the Luangwa Valley in Zambia is no exception. Dating back to the early 20th century, the people in Zambia recognized the unique natural beauty and vast potential for developing a thriving tourism industry in the Luangwa Valley. This led to the establishment of wildlife reserves, later transformed into national parks.
Presently, the region boasts four national parks and over eight game management areas, showcasing a remarkable diversity of wildlife species that annually draw hundreds of thousands of international tourists. While some national parks, like South Luangwa National Park, welcome substantial visitation – with over 350,000 visitors in 2017, potentially nearing 500,000 today – others, such as Luambe National Park, see only a few hundred tourists exploring its wonders each year.
Moreover, many individuals embark on self-driven journeys through Zambia and the Luangwa Valley, seeking unique and remote accommodations each night.
The founding of the first community campsite in Chitungulu.
In 2018, the Caring For Conservation Fund, in collaboration with the tourism lodge Luambe Camp & Conservation, made a significant decision. They handed over their well-established tourism campsite to the Chitungulu Community, located just a 30-minute drive north of Luambe Camp and directly adjacent to the national park boundary. This strategic move allowed the Chitungulu community to tap into the income generated by dozens of self-driving tourists annually.
Located along the picturesque banks of the Luangwa River, Kamukonzo provides a breathtaking view of the meandering waterway. At the campsite, visitors can immerse themselves in the sounds of grunting hippos, witness elephants and giraffes crossing the river, encounter leopards and lions calling at night, and observe curious bushbucks exploring the campsite.
Kamukonzo Campsite is managed by the Community Resource Board of the Chitungulu Chiefdom, overseeing staff, maintenance, and financing. Importantly, 100% of the generated income is reinvested in the community, covering operational and licensing costs of the business, with a percentage allocated to a development fund.
The Caring For Conservation Fund maintains close communication with the local staff and management of Kamukonzo Campsite, providing essential support such as salaries during the rainy season when the site is inaccessible to tourists. Additionally, the fund has contributed to fundamental investments, including boreholes, pumps, and bathroom facilities, enhancing the overall experience for visitors while ensuring sustainable community development.