What makes it Open Hearted?

Many people who go on safari learn about wildlife and habitat. But the people on the Open Heart Safari learn about local people and community. Most of us don’t really think about the fact that the animals AND the villages were there before the national parks and game reserves were created. And, yes, people and animals co-existed and people also relied on wild game for food. Truth is that hasn’t changed in many areas of Africa. What’s different is that foreigners came in, designated park reserves and evicted local villagers. They also turned game hunting into a sport, one with various prices depending on the type of game you want to hunt; and it became expensive for local people to hunt traditional foods. In Zambia, community people have control over the land on the perimeter of the national parks. They collect a share of hunting fees to cover costs of basic needs: schools, water and small income generating activities. Safari goers learn about poaching and habitat management but they never learn about the communities or the villagers who lost their homes. For me, knowing that game feeds hungry families gives new perspective about what happens when people impose national parks and hunting restrictions.