Zambia’s Luangwa Valley is blessed with great natural abundance. Elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard roam the plains and forests and the rivers teem with hippo and crocodiles.
There are also trees; magnificent leadwoods, graceful red mahogany and vegetable ivory palms thrive in this verdant valley.
Our home is here in the Luangwa Valley and this is where we run Elephant Wood – from a small bush workshop – ‘Kakoma’ – surrounded by palms and acacia and alive with birds and wildlife.
Adrian Carr was born in nearby Chipata and he was joined 15 years ago by me, Christina – also known as Gid. I came from England for what was supposed to be a 6 month adventure in safaris. I met Adrian, fell in love with him, the bush, the wildlife and the people of the Luangwa – and never left.
Adrian’s father – the legendary and pioneering conservationist Norman Carr, first introduced the concept of conservation through tourism well over 60 years ago and both Adrian and I have been working in safaris and conservation for many years prior to setting up Elephant Wood.
Inspired by the raw beauty of the trees and wood that surround us, we have been turning wood and creating pieces as a hobby for many years. In January 2014 – we decided to try and make it a full time occupation as we both love being in the bush searching for the raw materials, working together at our little workshop and being with the team at Kakoma Workshop.
WE NEVER CUT DOWN A LIVE TREE – ALL OUR PIECES ARE MADE FROM FALLEN WOOD – MOSTLY PUSHED OVER BY ELEPHANTS OR WASHED AWAY IN FLOODING RIVERS.
Where there are elephants – there are fallen and damaged trees. The Valley is blessed with a healthy and growing elephant population but our elephants, like so many of the iconic African big game species, are constantly under threat (see page ** for the story of the Luangwa Valley’s elephants)
The Luangwa’s trees, in particular, the ubiquitous mopane tree with which we work a lot, are prone to elephant damage. Our river, the Luangwa, and its tributaries The Luawata, Munyamadzi, Luwi, Mushilashi, Kafunta, Msandile, Matesye, Lusiwashi to name a very few, are dynamic and unpredictable – each year at the height of the floods, huge red mahoganies, mukwa, leadwoods and knobthorns are uprooted and washed away.
It is these elephant and flood damaged trees we harvest. They have been dead for a long time and would otherwise burn or be buried in the river bed.