Toka Leya Camp

ZAMBEZI RIVER, ZAMBIA

Toka Leya is hidden on the banks of the Zambezi River in the western sector of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, about 12km upstream from Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

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Overlooking the mighty Zambezi River and some of its islands is Toka Leya, consisting of 12 spacious en-suite safari-style tents (including three family tents). Wooden walkways snake between the units and main area, limiting our footprint on this pristine area.

 

Tent interiors at Toka Leya boast cool wooden flooring, tasteful, uncluttered African décor in earthy hues, expansive wooden deck from which to soak up the views of the Zambezi River, often to the sights and sounds of birds, elephant and grunting pods of hippo. The islands in front of camp are intriguing and form part of the braided channel of the Zambezi River with several rapids, a main channel and dense vegetation.

 

The eastern side and main area of camp is under a shady canopy of jackalberry, knobthorn and waterberry trees. The western side is in a more open setting – an ancient baobab tree is the focal point and panoramic Zambezi vistas. Family units are positioned to offer quiet seclusion.

 

The camp’s dining, lounge and bar areas offer ample space for relaxation and are complemented by an infinity pool, with meals served on the sundeck, the pool deck and dining room all overlooking the Zambezi. The novel pizza oven is a great hit with our younger visitors! A curio shop exhibits a fine selection of local crafts. The spa rounds off the experience, making Toka Leya the ideal place for a leisurely couple of nights before or after a safari.

 

Activities at Toka Leya include a tour of the Victoria Falls on the Zambian side, game drives within Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, river cruises, back-of-house tours, fishing excursions and guided nature walks (subject to availability of a qualified walking guide and Zambia Wildlife Authority Scout; a nominal fee is charged). Tours of Livingstone town and museum and visits to Mkuni Market and a local village are all outstanding ways of learning about the people and culture of this part of Zambia. Other activities on offer in the area at an additional charge include sunset cruises, helicopter flights, micro-lighting, canoeing, jet boating, and white water rafting. The Zambezi River offers some fishing opportunities and tiger fishing is an unforgettable challenge for keen fishermen.

 

www.wilderness-safaris.com/camps/toka-leya-camp

The 4Cs

Toka Leya Camp joined The Long Run in 2015 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.

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CONSERVATION

One of the key conservation focuses at Toka Leya is the control of alien invasive plant species and the rehabilitation of indigenous flora. The area where camp stands today was originally on harsh, scorched landscape and devoid of much natural vegetation. The large baobab tree located on the north-western side of the site was the only indigenous tree remaining in the area. This is far from the case today, as Toka Leya immediately took it upon itself to restore the area to its once-flourishing state which in turn has allowed wildlife to return and thrive in the area. To ensure the lasting impact of its efforts it has set up a greenhouse and nursery project where indigenous seeds and pods are collected from the National Park, germinated and their shoots placed in the greenhouse to take root and grow.

 

All aspects of the area in which we operate are conserved. There is no use of any natural resource that negatively impacts any biodiversity or habitats in the region. There is special attention given to any IUCN Red list species, such as the grey-crowned crane, that are found in the area. A growing population of white rhino are part of a dedicated conservation project supported by Wilderness Safaris through the camp. Toka Leya assists with logistical support to scout teams that monitor the white rhino introduced into Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which are under 24-hour guard administered by Wildlife Police Officers.

 

Its focus on environmentally friendly technologies extends throughout the running of the camp, such as the use of solar geysers to heat water and a state of the art treatment plant that processes waste water so that it can be used in the plant nursery. In addition, organic waste from the camp is broken down by a worm farm and in turn produces compost for the greenhouse.

 

COMMUNITY

Toka Leya has a relationship with the Sinde Village which is situated about 25 minutes’ drive away from the camp.  Cutlural visits to the village or organized by Toka Leya and a per-head fee is paid to the community. This money is then used for various community development activities within the village, focusing particularly on income-generating activities and assisting children via schooling and nutrition.

 

To ensure continued community engagement, Toka Leya maintains a highly consultative approach when dealing with matters that potentially impact the community.  A full time Children in the Wilderness (CITW) coordinator, based in Livingstone, works closely with Sinde Village in terms of all community projects and the implementation of the CITW programme, including Eco-Clubs, Eco-Mentor training, scholarships and annual camps.

 

As much as possible, Toka Leya employs staff from the local communities and provides previously unskilled employees with the training needed for them to become experts in various fields and rise through the ranks to managerial positions.

 

CULTURE

Wilderness Safaris has developed a protocol for cultural tourism in the form of the Wilderness Safaris Ethics Charter and Codes of Conduct for Cultural Tourism. These documents incorporate the main principles which govern Wilderness’ cultural tourism and engagement with communities living in and around the conservation areas in which they operate.

 

Aside from displaying the rich traditional arts and craft at camp, cultural visits to the nearby Sinde Village are encouraged by staff at camp. Guests here can interact with local communities and get to understand various aspects of local culture. Guides are encouraged to, and do, incorporate and impart their traditional local knowledge to guests on all activities, from walks and drives, to boating and village excursions.

 

The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and Victoria Fallls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Wilderness adheres and supports all laws pertaining to this World Heritage Site. Preserving the cultural heritage of the area is also of high priority as Toka Leya is situated on the ancient homelands of the Imusho communities.

 

The Zambia Cultural Map seen at camp provides information on local culture and aims to raise awareness amongst guests and encourage them to engage with local staff to learn more about their culture.

 

Celebration of the Annual Wilderness Heritage Day in the camps encourages staff to wear their traditional attire, to talk about their culture and share stories with other staff and guests.

 

COMMERCE

Toka Leya is part of the Wilderness Group and is marketed as a Classic Camp in the Wilderness Safaris portfolio. Its main income-generating activities emanate from its tourism enterprise through offering a host of attractive activities, the main ones being game drives, nature walks and boat safaris. One of the key focuses of the business is providing employment for local communities and providing continued support for its conservation efforts. It actively invests its profits into the other 3Cs as it has adopted the 4Cs (conservation, community, culture and commerce) approach across its entire business and reporting framework.

 

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