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Michelle’s VFAPU walk with Charles Brightman

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks

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This was said by John Muir in 1888.  He was known as the  “Father of the Mountains and was the great mind behind the concept of today’s National Parks and sanctuaries. He was a naturalist, mountaineer, environmental philosopher and glaciologist. His epic walks were well documented and have been read and studied all over the world for the last 160 years.

Michelle was fortunate enough to do a VFAPU walk with the legendary Charles Brightman.  A professional guide based in Victoria Falls who has been doing exactly what John Muir did but not in the Yosemite Park  – but in Zambezi National Park.  This very special national park has been Charles office and is his pride and joy.   He has been “walking” its 56 000 hectares for the last 30 years.

Zambezi National Park is home to a plethora of wildlife – great herds of elephant and buffalo, crocodile and hippo and dainty antelope always on the lookout for lion, leopard and hyena. Charles knows every tree and rise, river bed and termite mound.  He is a walking, talking encyclopedia of facts and information.  His stories and knowledge will leave you stunned and speechless!   Walking in the wild with Charles is a humbling experience.  Quietly following spoor and tracking, looking for telltale signs and signals is an almost primitive feeling  – every sense is on point.  It’s being one with nature in its most natural state.

Constantly watered by the great Zambezi river which hurtles downstream eventually throwing itself over the Victoria Falls, The Zambezi National Park is a precious gem.  However Gems are much sought after and in this case, poaching is a constant battle. Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU) is the brainchild of Charles and is in its 19th year of success. Seventeen scouts working to protect the wildlife and its habitat – this crack team of professionals work tirelessly around the clock. Daily foot patrols, vehicle patrols and extended integrated multi-day patrols, venturing deeper into the Zambezi National Park. VFAPU also conducts a number of ambushes for poachers, as well as undercover operations in order to apprehend a variety of poachers.  It’s not all bad news though – education is also a key to success and VFAPU are extensively involved in the rehabilitation not only of animals but also the poachers themselves.  Assisting with training and employment for ex-poachers so that they will have a sustainable income without doing harm to flora and fauna.

It’s an all-around good thing.  A conservation success story.  A tale of commitment, passion and love for a park, its animals and their very future. Contact us today to add a walk with Charles to your itinerary and make a real difference.

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