Zimbabwe News – April 2013
An elephant approaches from the waterhole during afternoon tea at Davison’s Camp
Situated on the easternmost edge of the Kalahari, the absence of permanent surface water in Hwange means that animals rely heavily on man -made waterholes to survive. Over the years, a series of boreholes have been drilled deep into the ground, pumping life -sustaining water for the park’s wildlife. Overlooking one of these pumped waterholes, Wilderness Safaris Davison’s Camp is named after Ted Davison, the first warden in the park.
When the waterholes shrank to muddy pools or dried up, animals had to cover huge distances to find water, often leaving the park boundaries. ‘Recognising the need to create a permanent supply of drinking water throughout the year, Ted Davison began drilling boreholes in the early 1930s,’ said Johnson. Since that time, elephant numbers have climbed steadily and it is estimated that there are now more than 35,000 of these massive mammals in Hwange.
Elephants rely on pumped waterholes to survive the dry season between June and October.
Despite these drawbacks, boreholes remain essential for the future of Hwange’s wildlife. Within their private concession, Wilderness Safaris pumps 16 of the 57 boreholes in the park year -round, helping to create a sanctuary for elephants and other African animals. According to Johnson, ‘removing the boreholes would have dire consequences for many animal species living in the park as most have become reliant on this pumped water.’