Safari operator Werner van Noordwyk has brought me up to speed on some significant changes with Nsonga Safaris in Zambia. Seems Nsonga is under new ownership, and we had some negative reports in our database that were over five years old and reflected the previous owner's management. Van Noord- wyk tells me he bought out all the shares in Nsonga Safaris back in 2006 and has invested more than $200,000 in the last two years alone to build up the company and its concessions. Nsonga has the Nkala and Manwala hunting areas along the eastern boundary of Kafue National Park. Subscribers who purchased The Hunting Report's Zambia Country Report know that these areas have had some serious problems, namely heavy poaching and human encroachment from a nearby town. Their locations next to the national park and another prime GMA, however, afforded some hunting opportunities. For the past four years, Van Noordwyk says he has been working with the local communities, building schools, clinics and water projects - basically, all the community development projects that the previous owner was supposed to do but did not. He has also hired 10 additional game scouts and built scout houses to increase anti-poaching efforts in the area. Those efforts are paying off, he says, with increased game numbers, increasing trophy quality and increased good will with the surrounding communities.
Van Noordwyk, who is originally from South Africa, says he is committed to the area as the managing director and resident-registered PH. In fact, he is establishing his full-time residency there. Van Noordwyk is taking about 22 hunters for the season and says he has been under-shooting his quota to rebuild the areas. The two concessions offer lion, leopard, buffalo, sable and a variety of plains game. The buffalo, he says, have come back in large numbers and his leopard hunters have been 100 percent. He says he is also taking good lions, although the success rate has been 60 to 65 percent. "We sent three hunters home without a lion," he told me, "because we will not shoot any lions that are not at least five years old. Our........(continued)