People in Lunyangwa, which is one of the communities surrounding Kasungu National Park, have built a Village Lodge to accommodate visitors at a fair price and generate income.
Speaking during a media tour funded by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, Senior Chief Lunyangwa said the idea is to use the income for different activities in the community including buying resources at a funeral, supporting the needy and investing the money in agriculture practices.
Senior Chief Lunyangwa added that the Lodge which has currently two traditional houses needs more of them to accommodate a lot of visitors most of whom are tourists.
“This Lodge will not only attract tourists but also resemble our culture so that the coming generation should know about our culture. Apart from, that we will be able to make enough money so that our people should refrain from killing animals,” he said.
He then asked well-wishers to support them with resources and funding to build more houses considering that they cannot finish the project on their own.
Mary Banda Luckson, a member of the community, said that they have been working with the chief in the construction of the lodge and being one of the women who has been involved in different activities such as drawing water during the construction, she will continue being committed and also in fight against wildlife crime such as poaching after being sensitized by the Park’s management about the importance of wildlife.
Luckson told Malawi24 that they have been facing a lot of challenges previously caused by wild animals. She said some people lost their lives, some had several bodily injuries and there have also been cases of destruction of granaries and crops.
As a way of protecting human life and people’s crops, the park constructed a fence consisting of durable bonnox wire, electric wires, solar panels and energizers that will power the fence.
Matias Kachepa Elisa who is head of Environmental Education and Extension in Kasungu National Park said that Village Lodges are significant because they serve two purposes which are community empowerment and environmental conversation.
Elisa added that other surrounding communities will also be encouraged to build a village lodge to get an immediate benefit out of wildlife resources.
Kasungu National Park within Kasungu District has a good diversity of large mammals birds and other animals including Elephants, Buffalo’s Zebras and predators include Leopards, Hyenas, servals and Jackals. Poaching has reduced the number of some species of the animals but there is still Wildlife to be seen.
The park which is 800 square Mile (2100 square Kilometers) area is engulfed with natural woodland and bush with occasion stretches of more open grass with a lodge called Lifupa.
Historically, Kasungu was Malawi’s main game park, closest to Lilongwe and favoured by the country’s first president Hastings Kamuzu Banda but it has been long overtaken by Liwonde and now Majete in South as well as Nyika in the North.