Poetry for Conservation in Zimbabwe

A few quick updates…

All is well at Umtshibi Pre-school in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, the outdoor play area is in good shape and the children are enjoying the new facilities. At the moment, registered students  are fewer than last year, due to the rotation of National Park workers. However, all is well and they are enjoying themselves.

The foundation is slowly beginning to grow, which is extremely exciting. The number of permanent staff members has more than doubled. They’re all working extremely hard and are coming up with some exciting future events that I can’t wait to be able to tell you about.

World Poetry Day

I’ve always been a lover of poetry. My grandfather used to write and read poems to me as a child and at school I was very passionate about it. I love how strong messages and ideas can be communicated in a typically short form of writing. Poems, short or long form, can inspire change in an engaging way. Robert Frost is a favourite poet of mine, his comments on nature and the world surrounding him have always struck a chord with me, he writes about landscape, animals and nature with such love and care.

At schools in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, that the African Bush Camps Foundation partners with, ‘Conservation Clubs’ are supported to provide practical, fun environmental education learning opportunities for students. Activities, games and literature are used to stimulate young children into understanding the environment around them. Safari guides go to the schools and give talks about the dangers to wildlife and ecosystems from plastic, fire, deforestation, etc and the children are able to learn fun facts about wildlife living within the their surrounding environment. They can talk to the guides about their own futures and what careers, associated with helping the environment, could be an option for them.

In celebration of World Poetry Day, I’d like to share a feature from one of the children at ‘Main Camp Primary School’ in Zimbabwe (a school I actually passed through on my last visit). The students there have been reading and understanding poems that bring to their attention strong environmental issues. Simbai Maurukira, who is 10 years old, was chosen to recite a poem written by her teacher about caring for nature. The aim of all the clubs is to inspire young people to engage in positive, creative ways to raise awareness around environmental issues and ways of living that are harmonious with the natural environment. They hope to stimulate others into action and for people to look after the world around them; a message that I believe is relevant to all countries and not just ones within Africa. After hearing about the children at Main Camp Primary School, I think their passion for change is amazing and surely we can all learn from them?

We are often so caught up in our day to day lives, and sometimes quick to discard items that could otherwise be recycled, and, in the moment, we don’t think of the impact of our actions. If we all make it a priority, we can make a change, and this is what Simbai talks about. I was certainly inspired, and I hope you will be too.

For these conservation clubs to keep running and inspiring kids to grow up loving and protecting the world around them the ABC Foundations are aiming to raise US$5,600 and needs your help. Please head here: https://www.africanbushcampsfoundation.org/project/school-conservation-clubs/

Part 2

Hi Everyone!

Just thought I’d keep you in touch with everything that’s happening with African Bush Camps Foundation! Here are some updates!

Updates – Umtshibi Camp Pre-School

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Umtshibi Pre-school School has received new furniture through a kind donation by the Rotary Club of Crowthorne and Sandhurst. Including a large table to work on and chairs. The children are just about to start their 3rd term now!  The playground has also come along nicely, and providing a safe space for children to do what children do best…play! An important activity for their development.   

In an recent interview, ranger parents and school committee members commented on how beneficial it is having the school functional. Rangers are now able to be close to their families whilst protecting the precious wildlife of Hwange National Park, in Zimbabwe. Click the video to see the whole interview. 

“We are now able to stay with our kids, we are no longer sending our kids far away from us”

Ranger Interview


Calvet’s Story

I met Calvet on my trip to Africa, he was such an incredible guide with an extensive knowledge on all the animals the beautiful country has to offer. He has such passion for the work that he does with ABC and such a positive energy, I loved hearing all the tales he had to tell.

Calvet & Kids with elephant.jpgCalvet was born in Gwanda in a village called Halisupi, South of Bulawayo. Growing up in the village, Calvet loved the bush and when he heard about guiding he ventured  into it.

He started his studies in guiding in 1993 and started guiding in 1995. Calvert worked for National parks, Touch the Wild Safaris, CC Africa, Matetse Game Lodge and Wilderness Safaris. In 2013 Calvet joined African Bush Camps.

Smiling Calvet.jpg

Calvet is very passionate about the African Bush Camps Foundation and enjoys taking guests on community visits; visiting schools & community projects. This way his guests get a better understanding of the how the communities outside the National parks benefit from Photographic tourism and how ABC and guests are playing a big role in building relationships with communities.

The Big Five and the Little Five


Calvet, as I’ve said, has such fantastic knowledge about the wildlife in Africa. He taught me many things on our trip around and could spot animals from an incredible distance. On my last day (a few hours before I had to leave!) with his skill, we managed to find Cecil’s pride, I had never seen a Lion before. It was such a powerful experience, they walked just by our car. Another thing Calvet taught me was about the Big five and the Little Five.

Below are words by Anouk Zijlma from this article. Anouk explains the Big Five and the Little Five better than I ever could! If you want to hear more about it too, head over to that link! 

Whether you’re an Africa aficionado or a first-timer currently researching your maiden visit to the greatest continent on Earth, you’ve probably heard of the Big Five. Initially coined by the big game hunters of centuries past, the phrase now refers to five of the most sought-after safari animals; namely, the elephant, the buffalo, the leopard, the lion and the rhino. Less known is the pantheon’s smaller counterpart – the Little Five. 

This term was introduced by conservationists who wanted to draw attention to the smaller creatures of the bush, many of whom are just as fascinating (and perhaps harder to spot) than Africa’s larger animals. In a clever marketing quirk, the names of the Little Five animals correspond to those of the Big Five celebrities. In this way, the elephant becomes the elephant shrew, the buffalo becomes the buffalo weaver bird, and the leopard becomes the leopard tortoise.

Thank you for reading! I’m really missing Africa and can’t wait to go back. If you have any queries don’t hesitate to get in contact. Talk to me in the comments or the contact page about your own experiences with these incredible animals!

Love Ellie B xxx

The Foundation’s mission is to partner with these surrounding communities to improve their quality of life and achieve long-term conservation through its partnerships. By directly linking these benefits to tourism these communities learn to positively value wildlife and nature as resources for improving their well-being. Learn more and support the work being done here – http://www.africanbushcampsfoundation.org/about-us/


The Journey With ABC Begins

Blog Post 1, 15th March 2018

Conservation Through Sustainable Community Development . — ABCF

Updates – Umtshibi Camp Pre-School

One of the focus’ of my trip to Africa was to visit the Umtshibi Camp in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, particularly its pre-school. The pre-school when I arrived was undergoing drastic updates to improve the facilities of the school to aid learning and enable the comfort of the children


in this space. The children who attend the school are the children of the rangers (Park Teams) so the updating of the facilities is also going to allow for them to be able to fully focus on their protection of the environment and the animals in the park.

The walls of the classrooms have been painted bright colours to provide the children with a bright learning space. They are just finishing up a new play area outside the school, with swings a slide and a merry-go-round and again it incorporates bright colours. New child friendly toilet facilities are also being finished off, which means the children now have separate facilities to the rest of the community.

The Foundation is now currently working on equipping the school with new and useful education tools and furniture in order to continue to increase the comfort of the children and to create an encouraging environment for learning.

Yvonne’s Story
I met Yvonne on my trip with ABC. She really encouraged and inspired me to get involved with the work that ABCF carry out. She’s works tirelessly to raise awareness for ABCF and has a kind, caring and happy energy that just lights up a room! Here’s some words on Yvonne’s work. I miss you Yvonne!

Yvonne Bahlangene – the story of a passionate ambassador


Yvonne with Village Elders at Mambanje Village

Yvonne Bahlangene was born in Gweru Midlands part of the Zimbabwe. She did her primary education and part of her high school in the capital, Harare, and finished at a boarding school in Gweru. After which she attended her University in Australia and returned home to Zimbabwe in 2013 December. In Australia she obtained a diploma in Hospitality as well as Diploma in Commerce. She worked at Jojo’s restaurant in Brisbane for 5 years and that is where she received extensive training in the Hospitality industry. Having worked under the watchful eye of a Queensland icon in Australia, who is very involved in charity within the Brisbane community, it was only natural for Yvonne to find a job within an organisation that gives back to the community, she says it is one on the main reasons she joined African Bush Camps as a Hostess at Somalisa Camp in March 2014. In 2015 she became assistant manager and in 2016 she dedicated her energy as an Ambassador for the African Bush Camp Foundation, whilst still serving as a Guest Service Officer for African Bush Camps.


Speaking with Community Members and guests about the work of ABCF

Yvonne enjoys working with children. She also works working closely with the different education, scholarship, income generating and community empowerment programs we support within the communities the Foundation partners with. As Yvonne spends a fair amount of time in camps, she meets guests on a regular basis and is a source of information and inspiration for safari goers wanting to find out more and get involved with the work the Foundation does.


Yvonne with Ellie Bamber, Ambassador for ABCF in the UK

Yvonne is a social butterfly, she enjoys meeting people and travelling. She also enjoys accompanying guests on Village Tours, which are great opportunities for insight into the work and people behind ABCF projects; aimed at empowering communities and individuals to thrive, enjoy value and harmony in the beautiful, natural areas they live within.

A species led by Matriarchs

With the rise of the #MeToo movement in Hollywood and drive for equality, which is currently at the forefront of everyone’s minds I thought it might be apt to hear about some very, very strong females!!


Insights from Makhosi Ncube – African Bush Camps Guide at Somalisa Camp, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

It’s been said that the most successful and thriving societies are those led by females. It’s hard to disprove that when you look at the elephants. Led by the oldest female, referred to as the matriarch. It is this amazing lady who holds the fate of the rest of the herd in her brain. Where they go, where they eat and drink, it’s all on her.


Elephants possess an unbelievable source of intelligence with their sense of the memory been second to none, passed on from female to female ensuring the knowledge is never lost, something we humans have a hard time doing. So high is their intelligence that of all animals the elephant is one of two that are able to recognise themselves in the mirror. They are capable of empathy as well, known to take care of their sick, chewing food for them. Helping take care of the other herd members.


The beauty is while males will leave the herd by the age of 10-15, the females on the other hand will stay together for life. Just like humans they are capable of a wide range of emotions, from celebrating the birth of a new one to mourning the death of a loved one. Just like we hug and celebrate when meeting our loved ones after prolonged absence so do elephants. The celebration is a sight to behold, trumpeting loudly and turning round in circles in a clumsily but elegant waltz as if auditioning for Strictly Come Dancing.


One of the most amazing tools they possess would have to be the trunk, made up of over 150 000 muscles, a combination of nose and upper lip, capable of so much from pushed down trees, stripping leaves of branches to picking up objects as small as a grain of rice.
It is our duty to protect these magnificent gentle giants whose teeth (tusks) have seen being persecuted and hunted. It is our duty to see to it that future generations get to experience and see these magnificent animals.


All images taken by Makhosi Ncube in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Thank you!

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll be posting again in a few months time. Do get in contact in the questions sections if you have any queries regarding ABCF.

Love Ellie B xxx

The Foundation’s mission is to partner with these surrounding communities to improve their quality of life and achieve long-term conservation through its partnerships. By directly linking these benefits to tourism these communities learn to positively value wildlife and nature as resources for improving their well-being. Learn more and support the work being done here – http://www.africanbushcampsfoundation.org/about-us/