Battle to save Zimbabwe’s public campsites

By Style Reporter

A fight to save one of the last remaining public campsites in the Zambezi National Park could set a precedent over the future allocation of Zimbabwe’s national parks public spaces.

Siansimba campsite, located on the banks of the Zambezi River, is understood to be among at least eight other sites that have been allocated by Zimbabwe National Parks Management Authority to private companies.

Should development go ahead on this allocated site, Zimbabweans will have only one public campsite left in the Zambezi National Park, just upstream from the world-renowned Victoria Falls .

In nearby Chamabondo National Park, more public campsites are understood to have been allocated.

Victoria Falls lawyer Paul Connolly is now heading to court to fight Dustin Harley’s Tusker Investments over the allocation, claiming it impinges on the rights of Zimbabweans to their own backyard.

Save Siansimba campaign spokesperon Chenai Dodzo says the fight for Siansimba is for all Zimbabweans, who want to ensure their rights to campsites in national parks.

“If Siansimba can go, what’s next? Public campsites in Hwange? Nyanga? Mana Pools? Where does it stop?

“Zimbabweans should be very concerned.”

Dodzo said access to national parks was part of the heritage of all Zimbabweans, and it was time to speak up “before it’s too late.”

“Concessions have a place in our parks — we are not anti-development. We are simply asking that public campsites remain just that: public,” she said.

Those interested in adding their voice to the fight for public campsites can sign a petition.

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