Find another way and save the Zambezi River from commercial shipping!

by Inge Skliros
(Brandon, MB Canada)

Elephants crossing to an island

Elephants crossing to an island

The thought that the Zambezi River may be converted into a commercial waterway chills my soul! I fell in love with this mighty river on my very first trip to Africa in 1984 when I canoed down her waters for 7 days. It was an unforgettable experience and I have returned to paddle down the river each time I come back to Africa to relive how Livingstone might have viewed the river on his exploration of Africa. I have been back 5 times and although the Zambezi still weaves it's magic, she has already changed enormously since 1984. On the Zambian side, powerboats ply the waters and lodge after lodge spoils the darkness and still of the night with its lights and generators. To think of ships going down the river, disturbing the pods of hippos and possibly causing carnage, scaring away the wildlife coming to drink at its shores is unthinkable! Mana Pools NP is a World Heritage site, and it would be totally spoiled by commercial shipping along the floodplain. Zimbabwe can still generate income through tourism but if commercial interests spoil one of the most beautiful areas in all of Africa it will drive tourists away to other African countries. The Lower Zambezi in particular is an unspoiled area teeming with wildlife, especially on the Zimbabwean side. It would be a crime to destroy one of the last thriving wilderness areas in Zimbabwe in the name of commerce.

Comments for Find another way and save the Zambezi River from commercial shipping!

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Jun 11, 2009
Agree with your sentiments
by: Tony Peel

Hi Inge

Thanks for the your contribution, one can see that the passion comes from your heart. Once you have been to the Zambezi that love sinks in deep and there is just no way we can let this happen.

Coincidentally, I was a canoe guide on the Lower Zambezi in 1984. There weren't many of us in those days, can you remember who your guide was. Wouldn't that be crazy if it was me.


Jun 11, 2009
Small world!
by: Inge Skliros

My guide was Collin Welensky with whom I still keep in touch. I also kept in touch with Tony Somers-Cox for a while - he is now in South Africa. Then I went down the river with Andy Webb (1987), Carl ??? (1994) and Paul Grobler (1998). The most recent trip was guided by Titch Marowa, whose family we have sort of 'adopted' since last October's trip. Because of the political situation and the misinformation about cholera in the tourist areas, tourism has died as you well know, except for the few adventurous soul\s like me and my family and friends. Titch is only just now getting a guiding contract on the lower Zambezi but on the Zambian, rather than Zimbabwean side.

I definitely have a 'love affair', for want of a better description, with the Zambezi River Valley, and cannot imagine a more idyllic place anywhere in Africa - and I have travelled through Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Zimbabwe! In fact, in my will I have asked that some of my ashes be scattered into the Zambezi River, somewhere near Mana or in the Mupata Gorge. To think that commercial ships may be plying down the Zambezi, belching noxious fumes and frightening wildlife, seems unbelievable to me. What ARE those people thinking?!?

Jun 15, 2009
by: David Jameson

i spent 4 wonderful days canoeing down the zambezi last october with close family and friends. It was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life. To imagine commercial shipping going down the same river is unbelieveable. Do the people making these decisions not realise the habitat and animals this would destroy. 9 months after my visit i still find myself daydreaming of the wonderful time spent on the river viewing the wonderfull wildlife and vegetation and to imagine all this ruined by commercial shipping is heartbreaking.

Jan 17, 2011
Alternative Sources Of Income Could Save The Zambezi
by: BJ

Ummmmh. Sounds like the livelihood of the entire populations of Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi should play second fiddle to keeping the Zambezi looking like it was for millions of years !!!?? With all the credit crunches all over the world and the riots and political instabilities that they come with, this potentially useful resource should be kept intact despite the potential of total instability in the entire region if these economies are not competitive enough to look after their people due to clearly evident transportation systems weaknesses ? Now that there has been found natural gas in Caborra Basin's Zimbabwean side and LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) is known to be the best way to transport it, while Zimbabwe is in dire economic crisis and fully agitated with the Kimberly Process not allowing the govt to cash in and kick start the economy, what are the chances of ever stopping this ?

Answer lies in a holistic look at the economies and politics of these countries and finding alternatives to their economic and political woes. Like any other normal human beings in the world, these people also need to survive. To strike a compromise in any situation, a detailed look at both sides of any argument is necessary. Europe and USA are full of these canals. Thats where people learn from. Africa is not only designed for tourism neither do the Africans think so. Every prudent country will try to "maximise" on its resources at any point in their life just LIKE ANY OTHER BUSINESS...

May 22, 2014
save the river and millions of people
by: infairness

We need to undo the acts of others building dams, the dam built on friable rock is only there for the short term then ewe can have it all wildlife and economic improvement to the surrounding countries.

Dec 19, 2019
African Development
by: Anonymous

Typical foreign writer that has all the amenities and opportunities in a first world country.Africa needs to develop to provide for its population and cannot only sustain it self through tourism.

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