24th November, 2014
is a whole year since I last brought you up to date with what is happening in the ZHA world. Basically there is a great deal going on but not what you would call earth shattering news. The Association keeps upgrading and improving wherever possible but in these times one does not always notice as the changes come in slowly but very surely with assistance from our donors and hard work from loyal supporters and staff.
It would be great if members would drop in and see us. For those that have not called around for a long while, we have made some small ‘decorating’ changes at the office and now have our trophy cups on display. We may not have our annual prize giving these days but we still remember our traditions and maybe those occasions will resume in the future somewhere.
Membership has slipped down to 85 paid up members! This includes Full Hunters, Non-Hunters and Dagga Boys. I send emails to about 130 members and ex-members because I know there are members out there who have been with us for a long time. They have probably just not got around to paying their subscription or simply forgot. Then, of course, there are those that need to license their rifles and remember us temporarily. Having said that, we are still getting the odd new member now and again and they are very welcome.
The fees for 2015 again remain the same as for the past few years, i.e.
Full Hunter $140
Junior Member/Non Hunter $ 40
Dagga Boy $ 15
Associate Member $ 40
As usual citizen hunting was scarce. We are fortunate to still have access to the hunting at Shashani in the Fig Tree area. We were also offered hunting at affordable prices at Nuanetsi Ranch in Mwenezi but, unfortunately, there were not many takers. Maybe the few that did hunt there will pass on good reports and perhaps we will be offered the opportunity again next year. I am sure the lack of interest was probably due to the tight economic situation in the country.
Some very fair hunting was offered in the Save Valley but as it was late in the year, there have been very few enquiries. Some hunters have said that had the offer come out much sooner they would have loved to take it up but time was too short for them to make all the necessary arrangements. We hope this offer will be made a little earlier next year and then I am sure a great deal more interest will be shown by our members.
Rifa Conservation Education Programme
The Rifa Management, Dave and Elspeth, together with Freedom, our Education Officer, are doing a great job at Rifa and our camp is getting very popular now. We have already had seven new schools applying for places in 2015 but, as it is, we have to really juggle the bookings around to try and fit all our regular schools. This year there were 34 camps but in fact this covers 38 schools as the small sponsored schools share with other schools. In between the schools we have regular visitors to our ‘rustic’ cottage which is very popular these days.
We have had some fantastic support from Safari Club International Foundation, SCI Sacramento Chapter and SCI Houston Chapter. These donations contributed towards two sponsored school camps as well as inputs into repairs and maintenance at camp. These funds will also cover the purchase of possibly three air guns for the children to enjoy at camp.
A roofing programme was lent urgency due to a big branch crashing through the roof of the ‘Honeymoon Suite’. Our Rifa Chairman managed to source a donation of sheeting from within the tobacco industry for the Honeymoon suite, the ‘Kennels’ block, and for the Hunters’ Bar as well. A big thank you goes to them indeed. The timbering, creosote, nails and other necessary materials were paid for out of the SCI Sacramento donation.
Due to a generous donation of paint from Dulux we have been able to paint most of the buildings. Further paint has been purchased to finish off a small amount still to be completed.
Thanks to Mrs. Penny Raynor’s efforts we received a welcome donation from the Dallas Safari Club which will be put to re-roofing the three dormitories and the teachers’ accommodation. Our camp is starting to look really good. We will be so smart just now we won’t know ourselves but, as I said, slowly but surely our guys are accomplishing a great deal.
Peterhouse has raised funds for their project to pipe water to Mopane pan. The first part of this exercise is complete with water already in the pan and animals coming there to drink. Part II of this project is to erect a hide to enable the students to watch the comings and goings of the Rifa wildlife residents. There is great enthusiasm for this addition to the Rifa programme.
Bryden Primary School held a photographic competition and raised over $1 000 for Rifa. Most schools have donated in cash or kind and we are so grateful to them considering the hard times we are living in. The list is long but includes enough funds to purchase new improved nets for the dormitories and other urgent requirements.
One must never forget the annual support we receive from National Parks in the form of the full Quota for Rifa. This is of tremendous assistance to the whole programme.
Mr. Peter Banks volunteered as hunter for several camps again and mostly the same hunters gave their time once more this year. This means taking time off from work to devote to our programme. Our thanks go to our faithful volunteer hunters.
We are proud to report that we had a school group at Rifa all the way from Kroonstad and from all accounts, everyone, including Rifa staff, thoroughly enjoyed their visit. It says something for our Rifa Camp that word of our programme has reached Kroonstad in the Cape!
Nyakasanga Fishing Camp
Our Nyakasanga Camp is still holding its’ own but, unfortunately, with the loss of the Nyakasanga hunting area this year there were quite a few days cancelled. Nevertheless, we still managed 103 nights booked at this stage.
As usual we thank Mike Malleus and Nigel Raw for doing their best to keep the camp up and running when they and everyone else is so busy. We still have the problem of erosion of the river bank and the run off rain water into the river. The actual river is not a big problem at this stage as the Kariba gates are closed and the reeds and grass are starting to grow well and hold the soil together. We hope to get a work party together in a hurry but still need a donation of piping to undertake this exercise. It is now a matter of urgency. I know I mentioned the same story in last year’s news letter and although work has been done at Nyakasanga, the work party story never gets off the ground. We need someone who has the time and expertise to spend a few days at Nyakasanga to oversee and organise it all. Any offers??
The office will be officially closed from 15th December through to Monday 5th January, 2015 but as usual I will go to the office regularly during this period to download emails or sort out any problems. I will always be available on my cell phone 0772-329434.
As well as the above shut down period, I will be taking a bit of time off here and there to be with my family arriving from Australia but, as above, I will be in every day to answer emails, etc., and otherwise, always available on my cell.
The Committee, ZHA and Rifa staff wish you a peaceful and happy festive season.
Very best wishes,