AN ECO SYSTEM OF 40 YEARS IN THE MAKING
Chaminuka Nature Reserve (the Reserve) was officially licensed in the late 1970’s, though efforts to create it started earlier. Its origins were agricultural land used for the production of tobacco and for cattle ranching. The reserve was licensed at a time when there was an over population of elephants in Zambia’s national parks. They had caused untold destruction on the environment, the flora and fauna, which in turn saw the demise of many species of Zambia’s precious wildlife.
It was in this wake that the Reserve was established. Over a period of almost 40 years, thousands of indigenous trees and plants were planted. Four lakes were created providing water and adding diversity to the habitats. Strict conservation management practices to protect the forests and the trees were exercised. Wildlife from all the national parks was trans located and introduced to the Reserve. And the reserve began to thrive naturally. Those animals that were already in the Reserve settled down, and bred prolifically. Those that were translocate have settled in and made Chaminuka their natural habitat as if they have been there for centuries. It also witnessed the successful reintroduction of the blue-necked ostrich that had become extinct in the 1940’s.
Today the Reserve has several habitats, from marshy swamps to open plains, Savannah to Miombo forests. There are more than 76 species of wildlife, featuring a three of the Big Five and all Zambia’s major antelope. In fact there are 18 varieties of antelope. The Reserve is also within an ornithological important bird area – a true testimony to its tranquility and peace. More than 300 species of bird can be spotted at Chaminuka lakes and wetlands, many permanent and other passing through as part of their annual migration from Southern Africa to West Africa and the Russian steppes and back.
Almost 40 years in the making there are now more than 7,000 animals in the Nature Reserve. The Reserve covers approximately 10,000 acres (an area totaling 40 square kilometres) in size. It is settled and its ecosystem is well established.
In and amongst the rapidly expanding Lusaka, Chaminuka Nature Reserve will remain an oasis that will continue to nurture, the Giraffe and the Zebra and the Eland and the Sable and the Hartebeest and the other antelopes of the Zambian bush and the Elephant and the Lion and the Cheetah and the Hyena and the Eagle and the Kingfisher and the Ibis and all the other 300 or so species of birds most of them native, and others visiting the Chaminuka lakes and wetlands during their annual sojourns.