- Flora & Fauna
- Wildlife Protection
Zimbabwe is located in north of the southern tropic bordered by Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana. Generally most parts of the country are on higher ground thus offering a climate that is hot, dry but most still chilly.
The country can be divided into four main regions: the Highveld (1.200m to 1.500m over sea level) is a plateau stretching through the centre of the country from south-west to north-east. The Middleveld (900 to 1.200m), which flanks either side of the Highveld. The Lowvelds (under 900m) extend north to the Zambezi River and south/ south-east to the Limpopo and the Save rivers. The eastern Highlands (up to 2.600m), is a mountain range stretching from north to south bordering Mozambique.
North of the Lowveld is the Zambezi River – the 4th largest river in Africa. It is also the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. In the south and the west of the Lowveld is the Hwange National Park which divides Zimbabwe and Botswana. The sandy soil and sandstone formations are a result from storms out of the Kalahari.
The Lowveld is characteristic of grassland and dry savanna. Rainfall is much less than the other regions. Common trees of the Lowveld are Mopane, acacias, giant Baobabs’ and teak forests. Grass pastures are ideal for cattle ranching.
Commercial farming is not possible as a result of erratic rains. People till enough land just to feed their families. The Middleveld forms a transition zone between the Highveld and the Lowveld, with variable vegetation depending on rainfall and altitude. The Highveld includes both moist and dry savanna woodland. The eastern Highlands are mainly moist savanna woodland and forest.
The Hwange National Park is the biggest protected area in Zimbabwe with one of the highest game populations per area in the world.
Present in this park is a combination of the big five (elephant, hippo, buffalo, rhino and lion), nearly all species of antelopes, zebra, giraffes, leopards, cheetah, baboons and smaller wild cats, as well as different types of snakes (green and black mamba, egypt cobra, spitting cobra, etc).
The bird population in Zimbabwe is amazing. From about 9.000 species that are known all over the world, not less than 400 are found in the Hwange National Park. Amongst these there are different kinds of eagles, buzzards, falcons as well as the biggest: the ostrich and the great bustard.
From the whole size of Zimbabwe, which is about 390.000km²over 50.000km² are declared as protected areas. The Hwange National Park is with 14.000km²the biggest Conservation area in Zimbabwe.
The present Hwange National Park was then used as the royal hunting ground by most colonial settlers trading mostly in elephant ivory. By the end of the 1920s it became a protected area and Mr. Ted Davidson founded the National Park with its opening for the public in 1932. Hwange is now a stronghold of the endangered species of black and white rhinos.
Today the elephant population in the park is one of the largest in the world. The elephant population is a big threat to the environment as well as the other surviving animal species.
Next to the National Parks there are further protection areas, like the so called safari areas. In 1975 the Wildlife Act was enacted through the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management Zimbabwe. It ensures a nature healthy reproduction as well as keeping the natural balance.
The Campfire Association Zimbabwe (communal area management program for indigenous resources) seeks to empower rural communities to manage their own wildlife resources. Each year the national parks committee together with the rural district council issue sustainable quotas for harvesting game. It ensures to keep the natural environment in balance, especially in cases of problem elephants.
Okatoie Safaris and Tours (pvt) Ltd acts on the programs principle and the communities gain the fees, which have to be paid by hunters for each trophy. It helps the communities in financial issues and keeps villagers away from poaching, forced by poverty and hunger.