Zambezi Society Survey - Proposed tourism development at Nkupe Campsite, Mana Pools

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PROPOSED TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AT NKUPE CAMPSITE, MANA POOLS The Zambezi Society seeks your views - Feel free to share widely


Ledgeback Safaris (Pvt.) Ltd trading as African Bush Camps is planning to construct an exclusive tourism camp at Nkupe Campsite in Mana Pools National Park in line with an offer letter from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and a proposed lease.

Some details of this development and a map of the area provided by the developers are given below, together with some additional facts about the site.  PLEASE READ ALL CAREFULLY.

The Zambezi Society has been asked to provide inputs by 20th June 2017into a stakeholder consultation exercise for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is required for this development.

To this end, we are conducting an urgent survey of our supporters and Social Media constituency to ascertain public opinion about the issue.

PLEASE RESPOND BY 16TH JUNE 2017 Give us your name and tell us where you live (country). Then answer the questions below as succinctly as possible. Note that your responses may be copied directly in The Zambezi Society’s submission to the consultants conducting the EIA and to ZimParks.  

1. What are your views about the proposed camp? 2. Do you see any negative impacts? 3. Do you see any positive impacts? 4. Do you have any recommendations to mitigate any negative impacts or to enhance positive ones? 5. Any other comments/suggestions?

Please e-mail your responses BEFORE 16th June 2017 to


BACKGROUND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY AFRICAN BUSH CAMPS:-  "This project is part of on-going efforts by ZPWMA to ensure that Zimbabwe's national parks are operating in a financially viable and environmentally sustainable manner. The project contributes to specific global sustainable development goals (clean energy and responsible non-consumptive tourism) and to the Infrastructure and Utilities cluster of ZIMASSET.

Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO) and the Lower Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (shared with Zambia). Mana Pools and is an Important Bird Area and the floodplain is a RAMSAR wetland site. The proponent is fully aware of the international importance and sensitive ecology of the site and aims to minimise any negative environmental impacts by adopting appropriate “green” initiatives that conform to the general practices associated with the operations of camps in Mana Pools.

The development consists of a semi permanent tented camp and associated infrastructure at an existing exclusive camp site at Nkupe, which was previously open as a temporary camp to operators and the public.

The site is at the junction of the Mana and Zambezi rivers, downstream of Nyamepi Camp and the ZPWMA head quarters (see map).


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The camp will be constructed in two phases, each catering for up to 12 beds. Guest accommodation will be in the form of khaki coloured tents on raised wooden platforms, each with en suite ablutions, located under shady trees with views of the Zambezi River and either side of a central living area.

The kitchen, storeroom, workshop and staff accommodation will be of prefabricated structures set on raised wooden decks to limit the use of concrete where possible, and set back and out of sight from the river.

Power will be provided by solar panels with battery storage and cooking fuel will be gas. Water will be drawn from the river and treated to potable standards. Waste water and sewage will be passed through a closed biological treatment system approved by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

Dry season access will be via existing bush tracks from Nyamepi Camp but during the heavy rains, the camp may be accessed by boat from Nyamepi or Chirundu. A temporary floating jetty will be constructed for mooring the boats.

Detailed environmental management plans will be developed to enhance the positive impacts of the camp and to mitigate the negative impacts during the construction and operational stages of the project. The management plans will form part of the EIA report.

In line with Statutory Instrument No. 7 of 2007, the Environmental Management (Environmental Impact Assessments and Ecosystems Protection Regulations) and the Environmental Management Act, 2011, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required for such projects.  The project is at the third stage, following submission of an Environmental Prospectus/Scoping report to the EMA. This notice serves to inform stakeholders that the EMA registered environmental consultants, BLACK CRYSTAL CONSULTING, and the proponent, LEDGEBACK SAFARIS, wish to solicit concerns and views regarding the environmental and social aspects of the project."

SOME ADDITIONAL FACTS:- a) Change of use from Public to Private:  Nkupe campsite was previously a public campsite and is now to be removed from Public Use for development of a private tour operators camp. b)  Potential impact on public access rights to the Zambezi River/Mana Mouth for recreation: The Mana River Mouth area (and Chessa camp) which are immediately adjacent to the development are popular scenic and recreational spots for the visiting public and fishermen. It is not clear what impact the development of the Nkupe site for exclusive tour operator use will have on this public access, nor if any exclusion zone around the new camp will incorporate these places and therefore restrict access to them. c)  The Mana Pools Management Plan:  it is not clear where this proposed development fits with the existing Management Plan for Mana Pools (which is quoted by ZimParks when submitting progress reports to UNESCO on the status of this World Heritage Site). d)  Traffic impacts:  it is not clear what impacts increased tour operator traffic will have on the existing game-viewing bush tracks to and from Nyamepi Camp which are to be used for dry-season access to the new camp.

Please e-mail your responses BEFORE 16th June 2017 to




NewsSally Wynn