Written by Savory Journey Leader, Trey Shelton
Savory Journeys’ recent tour to the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe “exceeded expectations” with “like-minded people coming together to learn and share the joy of travel”.
The priority of the Africa Centre for Holistic Management (ACHM) is to train, equip, and empower communities to restore their land and wildlife. Our Journey focused on immersing guests in the projects, challenges and successes of the Africa Centre and creating connections with the land, livestock, wildlife, people and hospitality of this beautiful part of Africa.
During this unique, intimate Journey, much of our time was spent with the locals seeing their work, learning and successes in connection to Holistic Management. We were privileged to experience firsthand the exciting landscape transformations happening with the help of cattle, sheep and goats, herds of sable, kudu, and buffalo, and the lions that follow them. With the Africa Centre’s knowledgeable Training and Consultancy Team, we explored much of the ranch and participated in creative learning activities aimed at immersing participants in the ecosystem processes directly on the land. The group enjoyed working with the local herders and their mixed herd of cattle, sheep and goats. We were invited to spend an early morning connecting and seeing the animals leaving their night, predator proof kraals for a day of planned grazing. We worked directly with the herders learning their methods of low-stress livestock handling and helped move the herd through the bush for their daily grazing. We even enjoyed an excellent dinner by the kraal interacting with the herders and hearing their stories and experiences working in the bush.
A valuable aspect of our Journey included time with local farmers and leaders on the 40,000-hectare Hwange Communal Lands. At these locally run community learning sites, forage production has increased four-fold or more, rivers are flowing again and wildlife and livestock are healthier and more productive. We discussed directly with the community about their close collaborations with ACHM and experienced the practical application of Holistic Management within this communal context. We walked crop fields benefiting from the high animal impact of nightly livestock enclosures, saw full food storage bins and got to sample the locally brewed beer.
During our Journey, we enjoyed exploring the incredible local wildlife. From calm, clear early morning walking safaris with the Centre’s game scout to evening drives through the grass and savanna of the ranch, we saw many elephant, buffalo, sable, giraffe, kudu, and various birds during our Journey. We even saw swimming elephants and a leopard while in Chobe National Park in Botswana!
Throughout the Journey, there was plenty of time spent relaxing, interacting with the friendly elephant Dojiwe, eating wonderful food, collaborating, and experiencing the beauty and culture of the area. The folks at the Centre’s Dimbangombe Safari Lodge housed us in the beautiful landscape of the savanna of northern Zimbabwe and our amazing chef’s Thabani, Witness and Jacob served excellent beef, pork, lamb, vegetables, and traditional foods, much directly from the ranch and the local area. We also spent a day around the town of Victoria Falls experiencing the vast power of the falls and the local activities. We enjoyed an amazing sunset complete with sundowners and wildlife on our Zambezi River cruise and ended the day with a traditional drumming and dancing dinner in town.
From fun group activities on effective water cycles, direct experiences with local village leaders, dinner and livestock handling work with the herders, and walking and driving through the tall grass over much of the Savory Hub’s 3200 hectares, this was truly a tangible experience in the application and education of Holistic Management. The journey facilitated quality collaboration and learning and created lasting friendships.
Come join us on our next Journey to the Enonkishu Conservancy and Maasai Mara in southern Kenya and find yourself immersed in the incredible global experience that is Holistic Management! www.savory.global/savory-journeys/.