We just returned from an amazing journey exploring the wilds of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe with Imvelo Safari Lodges on this year’s Friends and Family Conservation Safari! Our small group of nine not only enjoyed phenomenal encounters with lions, cheetahs, and elephants, we also donated funds to drill a new well in Nkoba village which has not had a water source for over a year. We won’t soon forget the dancing, singing, poems and offering of food as thanks from the community members.
This trip embodies Moraway Adventures core values of conservation, connection, and giving back, and our hearts are full knowing what a profoundly impactful trip this was for both our guests and the Ndebele people who live near the Park.
Cheetahs in Hwange
A highlight of our time in Zimbabwe was running into Cindy, a six-year-old cheetah, and her two 18-month-old male cubs. We first met Cindy back in 2018, when she was a young adult who had just struck out on her own, and she made a lasting impression after we saw her successfully take down and kill an impala on the Ngamo Plains.
Although they are big cats, cheetahs are smaller and weaker than other carnivores, and they face constant threats from lions, leopards, and hyenas. Cindy has not only survived threats from competition, she was also involved in a poaching incident several years ago, getting caught in a wire snare that Park vets had to remove from around her neck.
Seeing Cindy thriving all these years later, with two young adult cubs about to strike out on their own, was truly inspiring when you consider the many dangers cheetahs face on a day-to-day basis. We wish Cindy and her boys the very best and we hope to see them again on our next visit to Hwange!
Immersing in local culture
How many cows must one pay for a bride as a dowry? What are the responsibilities of a local headman versus a regional chief? Do most girls get to go to school or is it more common to just send boys? These are just some of the questions our guests asked during our visit to Ngamo village.
We pride ourselves in offering guests authentic and meaningful cultural experiences. We toured a school with a teacher and the principal and also spent time on a homestead with the village headman and his wife, which were highlights of our trip. We not only enjoyed asking our hosts about daily life, education, politics, and religion in their country, we also enjoyed answering the questions they asked of us.
What our guests had to say:
"I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the fundraiser to help with a new water well in Nkoba village. I loved that we actually got to see where the funds went. Just, Wow! I absolutely loved everything about this educational adventure!!!
All I can say is, “WOW!” I had been on a small group safari in 2013, which was amazing. But this experience topped that one in so many ways. Going to the village where the well we funded was being drilled; visiting our guide’s parents in the village; touring the anti-poaching facility; learning so much about the wildlife (and so many very special sightings); loved the variety of the accommodations, from sleeping under the stars to the rather luxurious stay at Victoria Falls, with the sunset boat cruise; loved just getting to know the guides and the culture; and enjoyed our travel group immensely. Thank you!!
This was the trip of a lifetime. I learned a lot about not only the wildlife but also about the country, people, and customs. Having the opportunity to give back and our donations funding the drilling of a well for a remote village whose well dried up 2 years ago made a lasting impression on me.