Zambia Travel Guide
Groupon is offering another all-inclusive volunteer vacation after the success of the first trip, this time to Zambia. Volunteers will spend nine days working alongside children in Zambia through Spark Ventures. Participants will help serve meals and read with students at the Hope Community School, where many of the kids have lost their parents to AIDS.
The trip will also include a Botswana Safari and an excursion to Victoria Falls. All hotel accommodations, meals, and park entrance fees are included.
Spark Ventures, a Chicago-based nonprofit that helps provide children in poverty with nutrition, education and healthcare, is planning a summer trip to Zambia and it might not be too late to get involved.
The Zambia summer trip will run from July 15 - July 21, 2012 where volunteers will work with Hope Ministries and the children they serve in Ndola.
Even though most voluntourists have good intentions, a recent study suggests, in some cases, they may be doing more harm than good. The Human Sciences Research Council looked specifically at students who spend a gap year (the year between college and the "real world") working with orphans in South Africa. Linda Richter advises, "Many of the children they [volunteers] leave behind experience another abandonment to the detriment of their short- and long-term emotional and social development."
What the study doesn't address is that there several other extended voluntourism opportunities in Africa for those who want to help out, without having to work with kids. Like working with chimpanzees!
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Plenty of people go to Africa to see animals, but most are looking for exciting safari animals like lions or maybe rhinos. But if you head to Zambia in November, you can experience something that the experts consider to be near the top of the wildlife calendar for unique experiences.
You might be surprised to learn that this wildlife fantasy come true is actually the migration of a million fruit bats. Apparently they show up every November in Kasanka National Park in Zambia at just the time the fruits on the local trees ripen – smart bats.
Tourists get to climb to a 60-foot high tree-top "hide" to watch the bats, and sunset sounds especially creepy – the sky becomes black with bats as they head off for their evening meal. There are expensive-sounding tours run out of Britain for £3,599 ($6,000) per person just for the week, and at that price we wonder if the tourists might just be a bit batty already.
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Forget "Victoria Falls." Zambia's Toka Leya tribe calls the falls Mosi oa Tunya, "The Smoke That Thunders," and it's a spot-on description of the rumbling mist created by the world's largest waterfall. Every February, at the height of the wet season, the tribe gathers in the fog to offer sacrifices--and you can join 'em.
To view the falls on foot, trek the well-marked, paved paths through the rainforest, catching glimpses of the cascade through the trees. At the Knife Edge Bridge, you won't be able to see much, but the cool spray from the pounding waters offers some relief from the heat.
For another perspective, you can see Victoria Falls from above. It isn't hard to find a pilot in the area to take you out for a flight, zipping through the gorges and marveling at the sheer size of the falls. United Air Charter is one local outfit you can try.
If seeing it from the sky is too wimpy, you can always try bungee jumping. These
crazies adventure lovers are jumping from 365 feet above the Zambezi River.