The Value of a Vulture Restaurant


Vultures seem almost untouchable when you watch them circling on thermals high above the clouds.

They have an air of ease and confidence when they glide, as if they are the rulers of the sky—the masters of their destiny.

But for many of the vultures in Africa, their future is not looking so bright. In some countries, vultures are running out of wild space to forage for food, and when they do come back down to earth, they often face poaching and persecution by people.

The great wingspan of a white-backed vulture. Photo by Claire Write

In northern Zimbabwe, near the famous Victoria Falls, you can still see vultures circling in their hundreds, catching thermals high into the clouds. But those soaring dots in the sky are fading from the horizon.

There are eleven species of vultures in Africa, and experts say numbers have declined at an average of 62% over the past 30 years. Electrocution by power lines, loss of food supply, poisoning and use of their body parts for traditional medicines are among the reasons for the decline.

To aid the survival of vultures, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in northern Zimbabwe created a Vulture Culture Experience for tourists to view, learn about and photograph these remarkable birds.

The dust and madness during a Vulture Culture session. Photo by Claire Write

For the last five years, guests have had a unique perspective on vulture behaviour during a daily feeding experience. Staff put out leftover meat scraps from the kitchen in a designated feeding zone in front of the lodge and the vultures in the area are able to swoop down and grab the scraps. This meat supplements their diet.

The lodge wanted to enhance the existing experience for guests, so a newly constructed wooden deck and hide in front of the main —> Read More