Zimbabwean Safari Camp Operators Agonize Over the Audacity of Oil Drilling at a World Heritage Site
The prestigious Mana Pools, recognized as a World Heritage Site by the esteemed United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is at the center of a controversial issue.
Safari camp operators in Zimbabwe, who charge a staggering R20 000 per night, are actively challenging an impending oil exploration in the area. They assert that such an exploration would only aggravate the ongoing issues of global warming and biodiversity loss.
Mana Pools is known for its diverse wildlife, featuring magnificent creatures such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, and buffalo. It is alarming that precious natural sites like Mana Pools are at risk of destruction when environmental concerns loom large globally.
It is crucial to stay informed and aware of climate change issues – for more in-depth coverage, visit the News24 Climate Future section. African Bush Camps have filed an objection with the Mining Affairs Board against granting Shalom Mining the permit to explore, stating that doing so would only harm the diverse ecosystem of Mana Pools.
Similarly, Wilderness Safaris, another safari camp operator, has also raised objections. Mana Pools lies along the southern bank of the Zambezi River, which acts as the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The river braids across a flood plain, providing habitat and attracting herds of elephants and buffalo. Mana Pools and its surrounding areas have been designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Thousands of tourists flock to Zimbabwe to experience the beauty and wildlife, and Mana Pools is considered a gem among these offerings. Any damage to this precious site would not only affect Mana Pools but also the tourism industry in Zimbabwe.
Nyamatusi Camp, which falls within Mana Pools, charges tourists as much as $1,185 a night. Wildnerness charges $1,500 per night per person sharing at its Chikwenya camp.
The exploration license that Shalom has applied for covers an area of 130,000 hectares, which falls under the heritage site’s expanse of 676,600 hectares, including Mana Pools National Park, Sapi, and Chewore Safari areas. The deadline for objections was Friday, and the responses received will be reviewed before the Mining Affairs Board.
In parliamentary debates, lawmakers raised concerns about the permit’s consideration when there is a policy of not allowing mining in protected areas. Deputy Mines Minister Polite Kambamura clarified that part of the application covered an area that wasn’t protected and that due processes had to be followed.
It is disturbing to see that even sites recognized by prestigious organizations like the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization are not safe from exploitation.
Zimbabwe had previously scrapped coal exploration permits granted in Hwange National Park in the northwest of the country following environmental activists’ opposition.
It is essential to stay vigilant and protect natural sites like Mana Pools from destructive activities like mining and oil exploration.