Swimming for Nsumbu

Into the Lake

Zambia, we’ve written before on A World Different, is one country where the different arms of tourism work together to benefit the world.  Competitors work side by side to raise funds for conservation, local villages, and the people. Now it’s happening again, but in a little-known area that’s long been neglected and whose wildlife is on its way to extinction and people on the verge of losing everything – Nsumbu National Park on Lake Tanganyika.

Chris Liebenberg, the owner of Chongwe Safaris and a partner in Norman Carr Safaris, spent his youth vacationing in Nsumbu National Park, on Zambia’s border of Lake Tanganyika. In the ’70s and ’80s this is where Zambians went on holiday, to view game, fish, and swim in the lake. Chris remembers it as teeming with wildlife and offering even better game-viewing than the parks in the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa.

But about 25 years ago, Zambian Airways went out of business, all scheduled flights to the lake were stopped, and the tourism industry here collapsed. Recently, Liebenberg and his partner Thierry Dalais went back to Nsumbu so Chris could show off where he had grown up and show Dalais all that was there.  What they found was still the same beautiful place, but both land and lake had been ravaged by commercial fishing and poaching, and only some relic game had survived.

Jump into Lake Tanganyika!

During the visit they they met Craig Zytkow, who has  inherited one of the three once popular lodges on the Lake, Ndole Bay, where Zytkow is struggling to protect what is left. This struck a chord with Liebenberg, who remembered only too well how he had found the Lower Zambezi when he arrived there in 1995, in much the same state as Nsumbu National Park is now. Through Conservation Lower Zambezi, Liebenberg’s’ story turned out to be one of the most successful in conservation history.

A Village on the Lake

So, he came up with an idea to raise awareness (and funds) – by swimming across the lake – in order to start Conservation Lake Tanganyika along the same lines as Conservation Lower Zambezi, and hopefully with the same excellent  results.

Such an extreme story needs extreme measures to get it started, Liebenberg believes,  so they (himself, Zytkow, and three others) will be swimming in a relay and with a safety boat and a canoe – but not with a net or cage – to watch out for predators like crocodiles and water cobra.

A good-luck ending  is sorely needed here, and one can truly make a difference to saving this little corner of the world by following Liebenberg and his team at Conservation Lake Tanganyika in their  endeavor to bring  awareness to this wonderful cause by sharing this information. And don’t forget to make a donation too!

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