Case Study: Zimbabwe

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Case Study: Zimbabwe

Use this Case Study as an example of sustainable tourism, eco-tourism and successful tourism in a less developed country. You should have a good knowledge of this and the Goa Case Study for writing discursive answers.



In order to have an understanding of the successes of Operation Campfire it is important to know some background.

Under British colonial rule the indigenous population of Zimbabwe were forbidden from hunting. Prior to this hunting game had been an integral part of their culture not to mention a valuable food source.

Under conservation laws two things happened:

  1. Many animal populations boomed and as they did so the search for food bought them into greater contact with humans. This led to the destruction of human food crops, farmland, property, and in some cases even death.
  2. It increased the number of illegal poachers who found sympathy with many locals as they were often trying to feed their families but risked their lives as they tried to evade the armed game wardens.

Following independence from British rule the country had more control over its future. The policy of 'Operation Campfire' was adopted. 'CAMPFIRE' stands for the Campaign and management programme for indigenous resources. What it originally stated was that villages would be allowed to cull a percentage of certain animals to provide a meat source. Many local villages came up with a system where by local butchers would sell the meat for a nominal fee and any profits would be shared amongst villagers.

However as the policy developed it became clear that game licences could be sold to tourists increasing the profits made in the scheme. These profits could then be re-invested into local projects that would be selected by the villagers. Initially a tourism industry developed around hunting safaris - this may not sound ideal but the animals would have been culled anyway. Selling hunting licences reduces illegal hunting and provides the villages with foreign capital.


Successes of the scheme

  • A good example of sustainable tourism as the wildlife resource is managed to benefit the population today but also conserve it for the future.
  • Poaching has been greatly reduced as the local population sees its food supplies increased and takes responsibility for conserving the wildlife.
  • Profits have been ploughed back into many worthwhile local projects such as schools and hospital.
  • Profits have been used to repair a reservoir providing irrigation for crops, a better water supply and through restocking a valuable food supply - fish.
  • Locals feel they are rediscovering some of their lost heritage as they are once again living from the wildlife resource. Operation Campfire is used in schools to stress the importance of wildlife and wildlife protection.
  • The scheme has been expanded and now includes "non-consumptive" tourists, which means tourists that want to photograph the animals - not shoot them. Apparently the animals prefer this second scheme and it means a tourist industry has grown around safaris for photographers.
  • Food yields have increased as electric fences paid for by Campfire protect crops. This reduces conflict with the animals, as marginal land is not used for farming.
  • The scheme has re-opened old migratory routes previously closed by the game parks. This has increased species diversity and allowed Operation Campfire to spread across much of Zimbabwe.