8 Day / 7 Night Program in the South Luangwa National Park
In this Nature Calls Adventure the main players are endangered Wild Dogs and majestic Lions. The Luangwa valley, covering 9000sq.km and marks the end of the Great Rift Valley. It is one of the last unspoilt wilderness wildlife sanctuary’s in Africa traveresed by the Luangwa River with her oxbow lagoons, woodland plains and valleys which draw a huge host of game – including elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, giraffe, hippo & over 450 species of birds. Your daily hosts are members of the African Wild Dog Conservation (AWDC) team which has been operating in Zambia since 1998 to conserve the endangered African Wild Dogs. They will take you tracking and share many interesting research understandings of the animals in the area.
On arrival at Mfuwe International Airport a guide will meet you. The drive to Nkwali Camp is 1 hour through colourful local scenes of villages, agriculture as well as bush. Nkwali Camp has a wide view of the Luangwa River. The first night of your stay, Mandy will inform you of the Ecotherapy aspects of the week and one of the full-time project staff from African Wild Dog Conservation will give an introductory talk on the African wild dog and the African Wild Dog Conservation AWDC project. This will include wild dog natural history, their endangered status, key threats as well as the aims of AWDC and the current programs which are running. You’ll also get a demonstration of our tracking equipment which will be used to find wild dog packs when they join you out in the field.
At dawn breakfast is served around the campfire. The morning drive will leave soon after, entering the park by boat from the camp or by the nearby pontoon. The game in the area is excellent – and includes many family herds of elephants and the endemic species of giraffe, the Thornicroft Giraffe. A mid morning break of tea, coffee and cake will be taken by a scenic point on a lagoon or the Luangwa River and you will enjoy your first opportunity for self-reflection and new life insights facilitated by Mandy. This morning you will also be joined by AWDC for the game drive. Gain exclusive insights into African wild dog research as you track for dogs through the National Park – see their tracking equipment and techniques in action! They’ll also explain about lion identification and prey counts which are used in their annual predator and prey surveys. You’ll get to use these new skills in species identification and scientific technique as you drive around one of the most beautiful areas in Africa. We return to camp for lunch around mid day. After lunch cool off around the swimming pool or enjoy a siesta. Tea will be served mid afternoon before we set off on a second game drive that extends into the early evening providing the opportunity to see some of the nocturnal inhabitants. We return to camp around 20.00 and enjoy supper at 20.30.
After breakfast a walk into the game reserve taking a scout with you. Our second group session will preceed lunch which will be under a tree or next to a lagoon. Enjoy a siesta or simply spend a lazy couple of hours reading a book or watching the fascinating animals and landscape around you. Returning to camp when you are ready. In the evening you will be joined by AWDC for another talk about the dogs. This evenings lecture will focus on competition between lions, hyenas and African wild dogs, why AWDC researches these inter-predator competitions, and what it means for the survival of the wild dog. They’ll also tell you all about exciting hot-off-the-press findings for Zambian wild dogs and other associated wildlife in the area from their research.
A visit to Chipemebele Environmental Education Center where you’ll learn all about wildlife conservation education in general as well as the education programs AWDC have in place for the African wild dog and other species. Education, and in turn the reduction of human-wild dog conflict, is key to the survival of this endangered species. After your return in the afternoon, you will be able to choose to go out on an evening game-drive, or just relax in camp watching the sunset over the river.
These last days are very flexible. Similar to Day 2 but an evening or morning game drive or walk can be choosen. possibly even a boat cruise on the river. AWDC will join you on either a morning or evening game drive to track the dogs and we will participate in Ecotherapy group sessions at times jointly decided. Provision will be made each day for rest and personal interests. An optional extra cab be a visit to the Kawaza Village, to experience a bit of the local culture.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Mfuwe Airport for your flight to Lusaka and your connecting flight home.
US$ 4817.32 per person participating:
The alarm has been sounded – the Environmental Movement – is taking great strides into every critical industrial, political and lifestyle arena around the world turning the health of the planet into a major political issue. Unlike the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions that evolved over hundreds of years, changing the way people related to themselves, each other and the earth, we only have decades to restructure the global economy so that we do not destroy each other and the natural systems that support us.
Although we live on a planet that is deteriorating ecologically and inhabited by people who are psychologically troubled it is no use overwhelming people with guilt and shame as they offer up their recycling whilst still destroying the world with addictive consumerism, and it no use overwhelming everybody with the enormity of the earth saving task at hand rendering them passive and numb. Possibly a psychological impact study together with an environmental one would help us understand that healing ourselves and healing the earth is interconnected. What is the use of understanding our inner reality if we live in a non-adaptive way with our external environment, or vice versa? For example, if you feel down and out-of-sorts at work is it because your lover left or your child had a tantrum on the way to school, or is it because you sit in backed-up traffic for 40 minutes each day breathing smelly car fumes, or your office has no plants, no view and the air is stale? Admit it, you long to breathe again in a garden, a park, alongside a stream or even take a step out of the office door, not to smoke, but to look at the clouds or the stars.
Animals often show us the way towards better survival through taking care of our ‘team’. They get excited about meeting up and working together. Daily they greet each other with elephant trunks entwined, fin-rubs between dolphins or snarly kisses amongst wild dogs when they let each other know, ‘hey you are part of my team, lets go and kill a kudu, I’m hungry’. Possibly we could spend more time affirming our interdependence instead of competitively trying to be better than the person at the desk next door?
Mandy Young, Ecotherapist & Psychotherapist is suggesting that corporate restructuring, sustainable lifestyles and loving relationships can best be fostered through Team Building African bush style. She says, ‘here we have time to slow down from the stresses of busy lifestyles and deadlines to reflect and restore. Mother Nature accepts us for who we are regardless of our status, colour, culture, race or the number of possessions we own. These natural systems, untainted by human enterprise are balanced, harmonious and have stood the test of time.’ She continues, ‘Our ancestors understood this – our interconnected with nature’ and suggests this is the best place to return to recapture our balance.
Passionate about taking people into wilderness places, because Young has seen the impact she adds: ‘all our senses are engaged and our intuition has a chance to come out and play. We can dream new dreams and discover aspects of ourselves we have neglected. Bring all of this together and we enjoy a cutting-edge way of thinking that transforms our personal lives and working environment’. After spending 20 years researching and observing wild dogs, elephants, dolphins, wild meerkats and more recently baboons on her doorstep, Young believes that spending time with animals, birds, plants, insects and tribal people helps us to recall and pay attention to a gut-level, innate ancient wisdom we have not forgotten. She says, ‘if we take time to reflect and dig deep, a more humane, ecological intelligence is exposed and comes to our rescue as we seek earth-saving and team building insights’.
Get excited, there is an opportunity to engage with Young in a Corporate Wildlife Team Building Adventure that takes place at the end of March, called Carnivore Week. The main players are endangered Wild Dogs and majestic Lions. They live in the 9.000 square kilometres of Zambia that demarcate the Luangwa Valley Wilderness. The Reserve, one of the last unspoilt wildlife sanctuaries in Africa, begins at the end of the Great African Rift Valley. It is traversed by the Luangwa River with her oxbow lagoons, woodland plains and valleys hosting large herds of elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, giraffe, hippo & over 450 species of birds.
Our daily human hosts are members of the Carnivore Conservation team who have researched and observed these energetic, competitive species on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis since 1998. They will take us tracking and share many interesting research understandings of the lion prides and wild dog packs in this area. Young will tie together your wildlife experiences with personal life insights and team building connections through daily self-reflective group discussions.
You may be asking, ‘what can we learn from endangered African Wild Dogs and lazy Lions that have relevance for our Corporation anyway? They are animals, we are people’! Or you may be questioning with a sense of disillusionment – ‘why another team building session, the last one was fun, but nothing much changed’? Young believes that unless we return to our roots – our interconnectedness with nature – to understand our psyche and the soul of the world, there will be no personal understandings that facilitate lasting teamwork. As we begin to know ourselves – our capabilities and weaknesses, our creativities and strengths as well as the areas in which we need to mature and be more skilled, we become more confident as to how we can integrate well with the others we work together with?
Wild Dog packs and Lions prides have different social structures and ways of relating and surviving. The Alpha male and female in a Wild Dog pack mate for life, under normal circumstances and are the only breeding pair in the pack. When Wild Dogs feed, the pups – the future generation eat first, then the Alpha couple. Others in the pack may go hungry, even though they are the ones who brought down the kill. They may even have to hunt again. When Lions eat, even though the Lionesses are usually the ones who work together most successfully to provide the food, it is the dominant male that eats first. The cubs eat last. In fact the cubs may not even survive to 6 months of age if a new majestic male in his prime enters the pride and takes out the current lion king, eats his offspring and impregnates his lady. Wow, this is getting tricky, how does one apply these truths to Corporate structuring and team building?
Possibly we can ask the following Corporate question, what strategies does your team need to survive – cooperation like the Wild Dog pack, who hunt as a team with each pack member rolefully engaged for the final kill or deadline? Does your team work best with a culture of leadership where everyone shares responsibility or do you need a dominant leader that eats first and enjoys most of the privileges, but also has the skills, resources and takes on the stresses of protecting the company and ensuring it survives the competition? In your team do you need to nurture the young so that they become the future brain children who carry the Company plans into the future, or do you need to get rid of those who are ineffective so that the pride is strengthened? I won’t offer an explanation right now about impregnating the ladies and dealing with Corporate takeovers, you will have to join Young during Carnivore Week to discover some of these animalistic truths.
In addition to Wild Dogs and Lions, there is much to see and experience in the bush: the 8-legged spider who spins his web between a treed domain, is a leader who is at the centre of his web, he knows where the wind blows and who is going to pass by. How effective would a spider be on the periphery? When the wind blows, even howls, and you wrap your blanket around you and pull the beanie over your ears you notice the grass swaying from standing tall to being blown almost horizontal to the ground. The scene offers the insight that because of adversity, root-like resolve can be strengthened.
Young says, ‘a team does not change and team players do not gain personal understanding when they are recipients of techniques to be applied or lectures to be listened to. It is our cognitive intelligence that so often gets in the way when we really try to know ourselves and understand others’. ‘I guess sometimes we need to stare our intelligence in the face and ask it to step aside a little’, she continues, ‘so that we can experience our emotions – then we know how to turn aside from lifestyles and attitudes that alienate us from the wild women and wild man within and the wilderness without’. She emphasizes, ‘when we feel things in our hearts that is when we change’. When our insights are connecting us with ourselves, our Creator and the earth that sustains and nurtures us, then we experience synchronicity and become a team.