This part of Africa is so beautiful

This part of Africa is so beautiful

This part of Africa is so beautiful, it makes me want to come and build an open-cast copper mine here! Not. But that’s the kind of thinking that must be going on in the heads of people like the directors of Zambezi Resources Limited (an Australian mining company). They are planning to open an open-cast copper mine in the middle of the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia!

Here are a couple of things that are very interesting about this case:

  • The Lower Zambezi National Park lies on the northern banks of the mighty Zambezi river, directly opposite the Mana Pools National Park (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

  • There was a formal, proper EIA done (Environmental Impact Assessment). This EIA strongly recommended that mining does NOT continue in this area.

  • The minister responsible for these decisions in Zambia has recently simply overturned the EIA and the decision not to continue with the project, for no apparent reason (he cites job creation but probably received a fat incentive cheque too).

  • Tourism is the fastest growing economic sector in Zambia, and the one with the most potential for sustainable economic contribution to the country’s GDP.

  • Did I mention thatthe Lower Zambezi National Park lies on the northern banks of the mighty Zambezi river, directly opposite the Mana Pools National Park (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site)?

  • The Lower Zambezi National Park is listed to also be given UNESCO World Heritage Site status soon. This will obviously fall flat if the mining continues.

  • The mining company claims this will be the “cleanest, greenest copper mine ever”. Have you ever seen open-cast/open-pit mining? Puhleeeze. What a load of hogwash!

  • Any pollution to the ground or surrounding water sources will flow DIRECTLY into the Zambezi, which sustains a myriad of wildlife and human settlements for hundreds of kilometers before it reaches the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.

What can we do? Mostly make a noise, spread the word and support our Zambian conservation colleagues in any way possible – believe me they are fighting this thing tooth and nail on the ground.

Firstly – check out the “No mining in Lower Zambezi National Park” Facebook page. Join up by liking the page and make sure you stay updated and share important announcements from them to your Facebook network.

You can also check out their blog. Secondly – check out and sign the petition they created on Avaaz. Have a look at this photo I took in Mana Pools:

elephant drinking 4 ManaPools 2012

This lovely chap is standing in the Zambezi river (in the dry months). Do you see that escarpment behind the elephant? That’s Zambia…moreover, that’s the Lower Zambezi National Park and even more precisely – it’s right in that basin up there that they want to open a freaking open-cast copper mine. Huh? You want to what? Go on, click on that link – tell me if you think it will be “beneficial to the wildlife” as the mining company’s PR release put it…

Greed is going to be the end of Africa, especially with corrupt politicians selling out our natural heritage to make a quick buck. It’s sickening. Okay, rant over.

Please have a look at the links I shared and do your part to at least spread awareness of this issue.

Have a great day, friends!


Morkel Erasmus

I used to relish writing these kinds of “bio” pieces and would flaunt the odd impressive word and use dashing grammar to make it sound like I am a boundary-shifting photographer. These days I prefer stating it in much simpler ways, much more relatable ways, much more believable ways… The fact of the matter is this: I love Africa. I love its people, its wild places and its wildlife. I love being immersed in these places, observing and photographing the fall of light on the land and the daily lives of the creatures that call it home, and presenting the results to whoever will take a look. To me, nature photography is all about being in the moment, and capturing that moment in a way that can relate to someone who didn’t have the privilege of being there with me. Sometimes I am able to capture a unique vision of the scene before me, and sometimes I just capture it the way most folks would according to classical photographic guidelines. Yet I always enjoy sharing the images and experiences and imparting the knowledge I have, both in-the-field and later online or in presentations, workshops and courses. I also just simply enjoy capturing and sharing the beauty of God's creation! The greatest thing I’ve found about wildlife and nature photography in Southern Africa is the unity and familiarity of the community of people that share this passion. We come from all walks of life and all cultures and backgrounds, yet our passion for our natural heritage and our dream to see it preserved for future generations binds strangers together and fuels conversations around campfires long after other people have run out of conversation and energy. Join me on a WildEye adventure to experience this sharing community spirit and learn to anticipate that fleeting moment and be ready for it, learn to immerse yourself in the experience without losing focus of your photographic goals…and above all, learn to see Africa anew… because there are none as blind as those who look but do not see!

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Morkel Erasmus

Since picking up a DSLR camera for the first time, a little over 3 years ago, Morkel has been invigorated with an unbridled passion for the photographic art form. He has grown at a tremendous pace and put immense energy into the creation of his images. He absolutely loves spending time in the wild places of his native Southern Africa. From a young age he has been visiting legendary wildlife and outdoor locations, including the Kruger Park National Park and the Drakensberg Mountains, with his family. Now that he has found a way to share the natural beauty of his homeland with the rest of the world he is regularly out on photography trips. An Industrial Engineer by profession, and an accomplished artist in genres like music and poetry, Morkel has always enjoyed whatever allows him to express his creativity to the fullest. Photography turned out to be the perfect "marriage" between his engineering brain and artistic soul. "I hope that in some way I can raise awareness through my imagery of the plight of not only our wildlife but also the fragility of the last remaining wilderness areas that they call home.” Morkel was recently honoured for his commitment to his craft by receiving a "Highly Commended" for one of his images in the 2010 BBC Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He is based in Mpumalanga, South Africa and even though he prefers going on safari with his family and friends, Morkel also leads the odd photographic safari and has recently begun presenting workshops in post-processing techniques.

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