On Thursday 20th June 2019, His Majesty the Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II officially opened the Time + Tide King Lewanika Lodge in Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia. The event commemorated over a century of conservation where traditional custodianship under the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) has maintained a remarkable coexistence between people and wildlife. Liuwa Plain, managed by African Parks in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and the BRE, is one of Africa’s most important grassland ecosystems, annually hosting the second largest wildebeest migration on the continent. The official opening of this world class lodge, operated by Time + Tide, is a testament to this history and partnership in restoring Liuwa Plain as a wilderness destination of global repute, and as a thriving landscape for people and wildlife.
Presided over by His Majesty the Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II, the event on Thursday hailed the development of Time + Tide King Lewanika Lodge as a significant step in the economic revival of the park. “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved through our partnership to revitalize Liuwa Plain. In sixteen years of working with African Parks and the DNPW, we’ve seen the park transformed. Thousands of people are benefitting from a range of community programmes, populations of iconic wildlife including the park’s legendary predators and wildebeest populations are increasing, and people are visiting from all over the world, increasing revenue collection for the park.” Said the Ngambela, Manyando Mukela. “The opening of [Time + Tide] King Lewanika Lodge has further increased Liuwa’s profile as a top tourism destination and as a great asset for our communities and Zambia as a whole.” The ceremony was attended by senior officials and representatives of the BRE’s Royal Household, the Zambian Government, DNPW, African Parks, Time + Tide, and other key stakeholders.
“Few places have such a rich conservation history as Liuwa Plain. This important national park is thriving today because of the leadership of the Barotse Royal Establishment, which began over 100 years ago with King Lubosi Lewanika in the late 19th century through to His Majesty the Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II today” said Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks. “Our partnership with the BRE and the Zambian Government over the past 16 years, and more recently with Time + Tide, has helped in restoring the park’s wildlife and in securing a better future for the local people who live within and around the park”.
Liuwa Plain is one of Zambia’s most important natural treasures. Each year, it hosts the world’s second largest wildebeest migration, during which more than 40,000 animals move in long lines across its vast grasslands. In 2003, African Parks, DNPW and the BRE pioneered a unique public-private partnership to ensure the protection of the park and the 15,000 people living within it, promoting socio-economic growth and creating opportunities for local communities to derive long-term benefits from a healthy, functioning ecosystem. Security has been overhauled, staff recruited and trained, infrastructure implemented and extensive community programmes initiated to improve livelihoods. Among these include the provision of educational and healthcare support, water points in villages, employment and sustainable livelihood projects. Wildlife populations have proliferated over the past decade, and key predators have started to flourish once again.
“This occasion is a true testament to the progress that has been achieved in Liuwa as a result of our public-private partnership with African Parks and the BRE, and highlights the essential role of tourism in conservation as a driver of sustainable development and economic growth both locally and nationally”, said the Honourable Minister of Tourism and Arts Charles Banda. “By supporting a significant population of people within the park while realizing positive conservation outcomes, Liuwa sets a hopeful example for conservation on the continent”.
Coupled with the opening of Time + Tide’s King Lewanika Lodge, these developments have contributed to Liuwa’s emergence as a coveted wilderness destination, attracting increased numbers of tourists and enabling communities to benefit directly from conservation. “We are incredibly proud of [Time + Tide] King Lewanika [Lodge], the contribution it is starting to make to the local communities and the prominence it has given Zambia as a unique safari destination. We feel very privileged to share in this venture with African Parks and the BRE. We truly believe this type of relationship is the future of conservation in Africa” said Dave Wilson, COO of Time + Tide.
Time + Tide King Lewanika Lodge in Liuwa Plain has been featured as a top travel destination in leading international publications, including The New York Times “52 Places to go in 2018”, Conde Nast Traveler, the Financial Times, Travel + Leisure and in TIME Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places 2018. Its development was possible thanks to the support of dedicated donors and the Board of Stichting African Parks Foundation in The Netherlands.
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Zambia is Africa's best kept secret, with its vast landscapes, diverse wildlife and welcoming culture. Trace the steps of early conservationists while experiencing walking safaris in the South Luangwa. Come face to face with giants as you glide quietly in a canoe along the reeds in the Lower Zambezi. Feel the rumble of a distant thunderstorm on Liuwa Plain’s horizon as you marvel at the sight of gathering wildebeest amongst a flush of colourful wildflowers.
Just a one hour flight from Lusaka, the South Luangwa is known for its big cat sightings and often referred to as the Valley of the Leopard. It is in the South Luangwa that the legendary Norman Carr pioneered the walking safari and conservation-based tourism in Africa. Zambia's outstanding reputation of guiding is ever prevalent in our team with some of our guides having trained with Norman himself. Our guides offer guests a raw, authentic safari experience and don't let the finer details in these vast spaces pass you by.
Time + Tide is the only permanent lodge in the Liuwa Plain. Its vast wilderness of over 3600 km2 has been protected for over 100 years, yet it is one of Africa's best kept secrets. As the African rains arrive in the north, the plains turn to a watery wonderland bringing with it a movement of wildebeest as they journey south to calve near the lodge. Liuwa Plain is known for its apex predators of lion prides and large hyena clans as well as endangered and rare bird species that thrive in this region. It is a land unchanged by time.
Nestled between the imposing mountain escarpment to the north and the mighty Zambezi River to the south, the Lower Zambezi Valley has a variety of activities that few, if any, other destinations can offer. It has been described by guests as their "happy place" because of its beautiful scenery, peaceful riverside woodlands and abundant wildlife. The Lower Zambezi is just a short 30 minute flight from Lusaka and offers guests the thrill of tiger-fishing to peaceful wildlife sightings on the banks of the river while canoeing or boating. Our guides strive to make each guest feel like they are part of the landscape and not a mere spectator.