Virtually all our staff are from the local community and their income and advancement helps to feed a large number of families in the impoverished Ekuphumleni township. Traditional arts such as dancing and beadwork are also offered to our guests as well as cultural tours. We purchase food & products locally & employ local people for construction/repairs.
Cattle are selective grazers – by constantly grazing the sweeter grasses the coarse sour grasses are always able to seed and slowly begin to take over. By introducing the entire spectrum of indigenous grazers and browsers the veld and forest areas will be restored over time to their natural state.
Furthermore a constant program of eradication of alien plant species (particularly prickly pear, wattle, pine and lantana) has already added greatly to the naturalisation of the environment.
We are involved in an ongoing survey and conservation program of the rare Oribi Antelope. As with many endangered species loss of habitat is one of the major causes, so we have initiated a program to “reclaim” suitable habitat to ensure their continued survival. We also have a thriving population of Bontebok, which are now no longer endangered due to reserves such as ours stocking and breeding up this species (from less than 500 twenty years ago to now close to 5000). We work with a government organisation helping with ongoing monitoring of water quality of the Kariega Estuary, using our boats and staff to take water samples to be analysed at Rhodes University. Furthermore, Sibuya has recenty started a cheetah breeding programme.
An exhaustive three yea EIA process was undertaken to ensure that our camps impact only minimally on the environment. Both of our lodges are constructed from local and mostly natural materials using local staff. Our couches for example are made from old cattle fencing poles. We have two vegetable gardens which do not use fertilizers. Our new camp will utilise solar energy for lighting in tents. All laundry is done out of the reserve as is the bulk of the catering. This has been done to avoid much of the greywater in the sensitive forest around our camps.
Sewage is by means of digestive tanks and a herringbone percolation system as per details and plans supplied to us (and approved for us in) by camps in the World Heritage Site – the Okavango Delta, and our new camp in the forest has close to 500m of raised boardwalks to avoid impacting the animals and plants on the forest floor. We have a sheet of recommendations in all our tents. Our game reserve is an amalgamation of three historically cattle farms employing approximately 5 permanent staff and we anticipate a staff complement of close to thirty.
Furthermore the move to tourism has resulted in a substantial increase in income for the staff and the construction of formal housing for the families that historically have lived in traditional wattle and mud houses.
Due to the fact that all our clients are brought into the reserve via the Kariega River we have had a number of specially constructed low impact, low emission river cruisers made, which, when not in use, are offered to local school children at no cost for environmental education trips.
Education of the next generation is the best way to conserve and protect the ecosystems of our Estuaries.
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