Women in Travel: Zambia’s Female-Led Initiatives

From female anti-poaching units to local craftswomen, projects across Zambia are focusing efforts on the importance of working with local women. These projects not only help support their careers, but also their local communities.

In 2021, Conservation Lower Zambezi formed Kufadza, Zambia’s first all-female community scout and anti-poaching unit. Operating throughout Lower Zambezi National Park, Kufadza aims to inspire the next generation of women and girls to get involved in anti-poaching protection for their local communities, helping preserve nature and wildlife for the future and change the face of conservation. 

Inspired by the beauty of South Luangwa National Park, Mulberry Mongoose consists of a group of local craftswomen who make jewelry from recovered wires used in poaching traps. Inspired by the motto of “beauty through brutality,” their aim is to support local families through the sales of hand-crafted jewelry.

The female guide program at African Bush Camps aims to develop female safari guides through skills training, mentorship, job shadowing and rotations through multiple camp departments. Following the launch of the first cohort of female safari guides in Zambia in 2023, the program, which entails four weeks of training before starting as guide trainees, aims to train 25 female guides by 2025. Through the project, the team is contributing to addressing gender inequality in the safari guide sector, where women account for less than 5 percent of the workforce.

In July 2021, Game Rangers International established Shachiwondwe Women’s Group to provide education and empowerment opportunities for women living near Lusaka National Park. Since the program’s inception, 13 women have been trained in vegetable gardening, equipping them with essential tools and climate-smart knowledge. To help enhance economic stability, GRI has also helped women to identify where it might be possible to sell farm produce, enabling women to support their families and lessen their reliance on male poachers.

Founded in 2018, Musekese Conservation started as a response to an increase in illegal activity across the landscape with a notable number of carnivores falling victim to snare-related injuries. In 2020, Musekese Conservation trained its first two female anti-poaching rangers from the local community and continues to work to ensure the safeguarding of female law enforcement personnel. To date, the initiative has seen four women interns through its civilian program, which offers enrolled students a range of opportunities from field ecology to research.

Mukwa River Lodge supports a selection of community-based projects, including Mukeya Development Centre. This community center aims to combat poverty by equipping women from the local community with income-generating skills such as clothes making. Those staying at Mukwa River Lodge in Livingstone have the opportunity to purchase handmade, one-of-a-kind clothing from the women working at the center. Guests can be measured by a tailor at the hotel before bespoke garments made from Zambian materials are created to size, with all profits going to the local community.

Classic Zambia Safaris has placed greater emphasis on training women without previous guiding qualifications to achieve National Guiding Level Three certificates. Among several trainee guides at Classic Zambia, Yvonne and Mildred from Livingstone and South Luangwa will attend the Level One Driving Safari Guide course this year, besides attending off-season training in hospitality, best practice guiding, natural history and bush skills. At Classic Zambia Safaris, trainee guides are mentored by directors and spend time on rotation across various national parks to gather as much knowledge as possible. In 2024, the team has plans to induct two additional women trainees.

For more information, visit www.zambia.travel.

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