You’re never far from breathtaking adventures with the Porsche Adventure Experience Namibia. On a trip east you take a helicopter ride over Zambia’s imperious Victoria Falls, and look down on the trail of migratory elephants heading along the Lower Zambezi river
A true natural wonderWe are spiralling high in the vast, blue African skies in a helicopter, as below us the largest waterfall on earth rages with ferocious power. We hopped into the helicopter at Victoria Falls Airport, having arrived here on a small plane that had brought us from our lodge in Botswana. Our reward is to experience first-hand this remarkable corner of the African continent.
Clouds of spray rise up from this rugged waterscape on the mighty Zambezi river. Such is the force generated by the world’s largest waterfall that its spray can reach up to 300 metres in the air. Up here we have a stunning panoramic view over the green heart of Africa. He might not have seen it from the air, but the famed British explorer David Livingstone was presumably left similarly awestruck when he became, it is believed, the first European to set eyes on the falls in late 1855. He would describe them as the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in Africa and named them in honour of his queen, Victoria.
As the helicopter points south, and we leave Victoria Falls behind, we fly across the border and into Zimbabwe. Below us, in these dreamlike surroundings, are the migratory routes of elephants. This is the Phundundu Wildlife Area, located in a 3,500km2 ecosystem in the Lower Zambezi. These doughty elephants travel up to 70km (42 miles) a day through absolute remoteness in search of a watering hole.
The Brave Ones: Zimbabwe’s formidable female anti-poaching unit The elephants need protection at night here in the green jungle. The estimated 10,000 elephants are guarded by perhaps the most unusual wildlife protection group in all of Africa: the Akashinga. Armed and trained by former special forces soldiers, these gamekeepers are all from the local area and understand how to negotiate successfully with the poachers. The Akashinga also happen to be entirely made up of women.
The all-female Akashinga anti-poaching unit track elephant hunters in the Zimbabwean bushThis extraordinary model of female empowerment has been hugely successful since its introduction in 2017. The rangers of the Akashinga – which means ‘the brave ones’ in Shona, a local Bantu language – patrol a 200km2 (115 mile2) area of northern Zimbabwe. Their mission? To stem the terrible illegal cull that has cost the lives of thousands of elephants and leopards in the last couple of decades. Many of the women in the unit are abuse survivors. Being a member of the Akashinga has helped them turn their lives around as well as give them greater standing in their communities.
As well as offering hope for themselves, with their unwavering dedication to their mission, the Akashinga are also changing the narrative for the wildlife of this area too. With their help, local communities and visitors alike will continue to enjoy the beautiful animals and scenery that make this place so special.
This story is part of the 25 Years of Porsche Travel Experience anniversary series. We take you on a virtual world tour around the globe – with a new, fascinating episode each week. Click here to read all stories.