This Heritage Day we are celebrating conservation and our community by exploring the resources needed to maintain a Safari Lodge and shed a little light on our local community outreach program on the Mluwati Private Concession.
20 years ago, SANParks decided to allocate 7 concessions, areas of land where there was no previous development, within the Kruger National Park for the creation of luxury ecotourism establishments that would adopt a “best-practices” approach to sustainable ecotourism. We were honoured and delighted to be awarded as the concessioners of the Mluwati Concession—a 100 square kilometre piece of pristine, thriving wilderness in the Central Region of the Park.
This public-private partnership is built on the principle of adding and creating value to a biodiverse area by building a landmark tourist destination that will generate sustainable benefits for the local community, ecotourism and conservation.
In order to ensure that a rigorous standard of ecological best-practices is maintained at all times, our operations are audited twice a year by SANParks and our Section Ranger, Mr Richard Sowry. We are proud to share that all of our products on the Mluwati Concession—Hamiltons Tented Camp, Imbali Safari Lodge, and Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge—have consistently scored in the high 90 percentiles in all of their biannual audits.
Elements that are considered in the audits include water and borehole use, land management and rehabilitation, and other usages of the natural resources of the land. As Mr Sowry points out, tourists rarely give a moment’s thought as to what resources are required and used in order for a wildlife area to function. Though the survival of African wildlife depends on photographic and game-viewing safari options, many camps and lodges around the continent consume precious resources such as water “en masse”. As a concession, we are proud to say that this consideration is a vital aspect that shapes everything that we do on a daily basis.
In the words of Mr Sowry, “the next time you choose your wildlife destination, you should look at whether your lodge is practising responsible principles”. On behalf of the entire Mluwati Concession Team, we can assure you that we remain steadfast in our belief that successful ecotourism must generate sustainable outcomes for the environment, for the surrounding communities, and for the business. It is our honour and privilege to play a small part in preserving this iconic piece of South African heritage for many future generations to come.
As our collective society emerges out of the dark times of lockdown, we will continue to do, and enhance, our small part in helping to transform the world we live in for the better.
The Mirantha Youth Development Project
As an organisation, the fundamental philosophy that drives what we do is the belief that we can engage in sustainable and constructive ecotourism. Our mission is to preserve the biodiversity of the area by empowering the local community to collectively build a lasting landmark tourist destination that will continue to generate benefits for the local community, for conservation, and for ecotourism.
We are humbled to collaborate with our community partner, the Mirantha Youth Development Project, in empowering the youth of our local communities through life skills programs. The Mirantha Youth Development Project is a registered non-profit organisation that cares for, and educates, neglected orphans and vulnerable youth—the “forgotten children”— in the town of Acornhoek, Mpumalanga. The Project is run by Happiness Lubisi, a champion social worker, who currently supports more than 80 orphans and vulnerable youth in her community, offering them with food, clothes, and emotional relief.
About the Project:
Left without the guidance, financial support, and protection of their parents, the “forgotten children” are disproportionally vulnerable to poverty, abuse, crime, and extortion. The large majority of the children have dropped out from school due a variety of socioeconomic reasons, which further increases their vulnerability due to poor literacy, the inability to find jobs due to lack of skills, and the inability to integrate well in their community.
Several members of our Mluwati Concession team and their families hail from the town of Acornhoek, which lies just outside of the Kruger National Park. The survival of the surrounding communities of the Park is directly reliant on the business and investment that comes from the presence of ecotourism activities in the area. In order to secure the stability and prosperity of these communities, the empowerment and protection of their youth is a fundamental requisite.
In an exciting recent experience, the Youth Dance Group, supported by the Mirantha Youth Group, spent some time with Emmy nominated South African actress Brenda Ngxoli at Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge, who gave the young ladies some wonderful insight into the world on entertainment.
Wishing everyone a very happy Heritage Day!
The Mluwati Concession Team