It wasn’t all roses from the outset, however. Apart from the challenge of road and perceived distance from our home in Kabulonga, we found the extent to which the land and fauna had been damaged, quite depressing. Trees had been severely damaged by the wanton felling of almost all the large trees by charcoal burners. Very few large trees remained and the remaining young and stunted trees were not representative of what was once pristine miyombo woodland where kudu, buffalo, lion and the like roamed wild and free as late as the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
Just as the trees had been felled mercilessly, so too had the game animals been poached to near extinction. One would occasionally chance the odd duiker, grysbok and francolin, for example, but the land had been denuded of almost all game animals.
We quickly came to realise that the land was not at all suited to conventional farming. The undulating terrain was made up of sandy soils ill unsuited to commercial farming. On the upside, the terrain made for truly magnificent and quite breath-taking vistas of the surrounding land, and a simply stunning view of the Lusaka CBD, particularly at sunset.
And so the dream came about….. Why not develop a game ranch? If we could nurture the natural trees and fauna back to miyombo woodland that they used to be, perhaps we could re-introduce game animals on to the farm? And if both thrived, perhaps, one day, we could even open a commercial game ranching operation open to the public. We decided “Let’s go for it!” That was fifteen years ago….
In the intervening years, we constructed a 10km game fence, made good gravel roads, introduced numerous animal watering holes, cleared selected parts of the ranch to create a savanna-like plains, made special paddocks for particular animals, etc. We also started purchasing game animals, mostly from fellow private game ranches and slowly began to establish a reasonable variety of game animal species.
We now have a diverse range of game animals that includes giraffe, buffalo, eland, zebra, hartebeest, kafue lechwe, waterbuck, kudu, impala, puku, sable, bushbuck, spotted indian deer, duiker, grysbok, ostrich, etc.