African Safari Collective - Pioneer Lodges of Regenerative Tourism in South Africa

Posted on Mon January 25, 2021.

"Regenerative Travel" is the buzz word on everybody's lips - yet we've been doing it since inception through our sustainable trips at each of our safari lodges in South Africa.

If you're thinking about staying with ASC, just know that you'll be travelling for good. Our lodges are family-run and strongly community-driven. Therefore, when you see levies placed on your stay, just know that you're helping us protect and conserve the natural wildlife for future generations to inherit.

So while you're enjoying our luxury safari lodges in South Africa, this is what they're doing in their local communities behind-the-scenes:

Fugitives' Drift & Fairview House -  Both run by the Rattray Family.

Having established Fugitive’s Drift Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Nicky and David Rattray recognised the desperate need in the surrounding rural communities of Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana where up to 60% of most families live below the poverty line, relying on social grants.

Apart from offering employment in the area, the Rattray family wanted to do more within the rural communities that their staff and families have 'home' for many years. It all starts with education, which is why David Rattray famously said, "without education, there is no hope. Without hope, there is no future." It should therefore come as no surprise then that the Rattray's started helping educational programmes in the area. 

Initially, the project supported local infrastructure – repairing school buildings and providing classrooms, halls, libraries, and ablution facilities. Learning of the work being done, guests at the lodge and family friends offered additional support. This grew into what is now known as KHULA Education and is supported by the David Rattray Foundation. 

KHULA is an isiZulu word, meaning ‘to grow’. And that’s exactly what we do – we partner with schools in our community, making a lasting commitment to support and improve the quality of education for the children from their pre-school years through to graduation. Today, Khula employs a dedicated team of educators who work directly with the learners and teachers across 20 rural schools in Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana. Yet the journey and vision have only just begun...

Leopard Mountain 

As one of the Founders of the Manyoni Private Game Reserve (previously known as Zululand Rhino Reserve), Leopard Mountain is acutely aware that communities and conservation are inextricably linked. Hence why this five-star lodge chose to support two great causes, with the first being the Zululand Rhino Orphanage. 

This fantastic initiative aims at rescuing and rehabilitating baby rhino when their mothers have passed away either from poaching or natural causes. So far they have an excellent track record with a good number of reintroductions back to the wild. 

The other initiative supported by Leopard Mountain is the Zululand Conservation Trust which supports both local community and conservation initiatives. Whether it's painting a crèche, conducting school children's awareness safaris, or a conservation fundraising drive, Leopard Mountain tries to support as much as possible. 


Three Tree Hill Lodge

All the staff employed at Three Tree Hill Lodge in Spioenkop Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa come from the local village, Hambrook, which is 8km down the road. Through the Three Tree Hill Community and Conservation Levy (together with generous guest donations), they are able to fund small (& large) community & conservation projects in the area. One of these projects is the Small Business Incubator assisted by the Three Tree Hill Foundation.

Hambrook Village represents a small, but vibrant portion of the approximately 10 million Zulu people in South Africa, speaking the native tongue of isiZulu. The majority of the village's working population are employed on local farms and businesses in the Bergville/Ladysmith district. Yet the unemployment rate and poverty levels are still alarmingly high.

Traditionally, men would go out and work, with women remaining at home to look after children and maintain the household. However, with living expenses perpetually on the increase and limited job opportunities in the area, the women in the village have decided to do something for themselves. With their entrepreneurial spirit and skills, Three Tree Hill Foundation has provided incubation support for the following women-run businesses in the area, namely:

MADUNA’S MARVELOUS MATS, IMBOKODO WOMENS SEWING GROUP, AMANJANDU DOILEYS and MAMA BHENGU’S DOLLS. During a stay at Three Tree Hill, guests have the opportunity to purchase their handmade items from the lodge's shop and find out more about the women behind the pieces. 

Makakatana Bay Lodge

Makakatana Bay Lodge in St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa works closely with a few organizations in the region. Namely:

  • African Wildlife Vets
  • Ezemvelo Wildlife - Anti Poaching Unit
  • Vukunyane Development Project
  • Destiny House Children’s Home

These organizations hold a special place in Makakatana Bay Lodge’s hearts, as well as that of their guests' who pay an R80 levy during their stay, which goes towards supporting these organizations. Below is a summary of what each of these organizations do, however their impact on the communities and wildlife they serve is so greatly felt that it is difficult to do them justice:

African Wildlife Vets

African Wildlife Vets is a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Dave Cooper, Dr. Pete Goodman, and Kate Church. It assists wildlife organizations, primarily in Zululand and Maputaland in South Africa, with the conservation of threatened species by providing essential veterinary support. 

The areas surrounding Makakatana Bay Lodge are so personally affected by poaching, particularly rhino poaching. Yet unfortunately, people generally have no idea how African Wildlife's dedicated vets are working behind-the-scenes and around the clock to try to support and save so many animals.

They are severely understaffed (there is only one permanent veterinarian for the entire provincial conservation organization, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) and underfunded, and often do not even have the veterinary drugs to help suffering animals. Makakatana Bay Lodge is committed to doing what they can to support these dedicated, committed, and passionate vets who work so selflessly to save our wildlife.

Ezemvelo Wildlife - Anti-Poaching Unit

Fighting poachers is not for the faint-hearted. Perhaps the bravest are those in anti-poaching teams who encounter danger on a daily basis. This is why a portion of the funds raised through our levy goes towards purchasing equipment like binoculars, trap cameras, and drones for the anti-poaching units. It is the very least we can do for the selfless rangers who put their own lives on the line to protect our most vulnerable wildlife. 

Vukunyane Development Project

Is a community initiative headed by Themba Mtembu of St Lucia Birding, a specialist birding guide. Vukukhanye has always been about supporting locals within the uMkhanyakude district in Zululand South Africa. The main aim of this initiative is to raise environmental awareness among local schools and communities, through effective educational programmes and tourist-guide training. Makakatana supports this project by supplying products needed for educational camps, from birding books, binoculars, cameras, clothing, or food parcels for the camps. 

Destiny House Children’s Home

Another project supported by Makakatana Bay Lodge is Destiny House Children’s Ministries in Mtubatuba, which exists to empower and enable children to fulfill their God-given destiny. They provide a loving home for 24 orphaned and abandoned children, and provide an Early Childhood Development Programme to the wider community. They believe in family as the foundation of a healthy society - something which resonates strongly with family-run Makakatana Bay Lodge.