Community Collaboration at Zambian Horseback Safaris

As the morning mist rises over a blanket of grasslands, an indescribable stillness precedes the intermittent sounds of wildebeest snorting and zebra braying. This is a special place on Earth, where the benefits of community collaboration are highlighted at every turn.

Imagine sipping your early morning coffee and looking out on the seemingly never-ending plains of the Simalaha Flats. Horses are quietly chewing their breakfast, blinking with satisfaction, and saddles are on the rack in preparation for a full day’s riding. This is an African wilderness with a unique disposition; a place where wildlife and people co-exist under one magnificent sky.

Wildlife at dusk in Simalaha Zambia

It is the Simalaha Wildlife Conservancy, inspired and driven by visionaries—Chief Nyambo Yeta of the Sesheke Chiefdom and Chief Sekute of the Sekute Chiefdom. The Simalaha Conservancy links Botswana’s Chobe National Park and Zambia’s Kafue National Park. Also, interestingly, the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) is the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area ever established and is an exciting initiative that involves five countries: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Map ofKavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA)

The Conservancy comprises 180 000 ha of communal land. It lies within one of six key wildlife dispersal areas in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), namely the Chobe Zambezi dispersal area that extends from Chobe National Park in Botswana to Kafue National Park in Zambia.

Community collaboration is how riding horses in Simalaha started for tourists

Peace Parks Foundation has been working alongside the people of Simalaha to focus on improving the region’s social, economic and environmental circumstances. As the first tourism operator in the Simalaha Wildlife Conservancy, Zambian Horseback Safaris contributes to the Conservancy Trust to empower and support community initiatives to move out of poverty and develop a love and ownership of their wildlife. In addition, partners are dedicated to hiring community members for employment at the camp itself.

  Community collaboration includes using traditional building methods like mud bricks

Simalaha Camp areas are beautifully handcrafted each season by members of the Simalaha community – designed and inspired by traditional Lozi mud-style methods.

 A bathroom at Simalaha Camp that features numerous community collaboration details such as chitenge robes, reed walls and local handicrafts

The bush bathrooms are handcrafted with the aid of the Simalaha community using sustainable local reeds.

The result is peaceful synchronicity of design, community and nature – all fused with breathtaking views over the Simalaha Plains.

The horse riding safari camp accommodates a maximum of 8 people in four tents. Each tent is raised above the ground with views over the endless grassy plains. Our tents all feature ensuite open-air bathrooms and seating on the front deck. Gail and her team have taken special care to provide good quality mattresses, linen and towels to ease those achy bodies after long hours in the saddle!

Zambian Horseback Safaris offers a 3-night safari or longer for intermediate riders and above. Riders need to be fit, confident & competent. However, they will accommodate riders of all abilities if a group books out the camp on an exclusive-use basis. Your hosts, Doug Evans, will guide you through the story of the Simalaha, the land, the people, its cultural history and its relevance to sustainable community and wildlife development.