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Conservation & Communities

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Isibindi Africa

Our Efforts


We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for Shiyane High and Oscarsburg Primary Schools, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects.

Isibindi Africa Lodges has developed numerous small ecotourist lodges in pristine areas of South Africa. Our company’s philosophy pivots on the recognition of the following vital issues in developing ecotourism projects in rural Africa:

  • Tread gently. Respect for the environment and the minimizing of any impact on her when establishing and later, operating an ecotourism venture. A strong aesthetic feature of our lodges is their ability to blend strongly into their immediate natural environment.
  • Shared sustainable utilization of natural resources with neighbouring communities within these protected areas
  • The upliftment and training of neighbouring communities to ensure their full involvement in the ecotourist project, so as to maximize the flow of benefits to the communities.
  • The educating of all visitors to these pristine areas on the role neighbouring communities play in maintaining the protected area

 

Track Record

To date, Isibindi Africa Lodges has contributed to and initiated numerous upliftment projects including:

  • The Zulu cultural experience at Isibindi Zulu Lodge
  • The involvement of the community as shareholders in the development company at Thonga Beach Lodge (in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund and the Wildlands Trust)
  • The establishment of the first private operator-community development within the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve; Kosi Forest Lodge

Should you wish to make a donation please see the contribution form, chat to your lodge manager or contact us directly. All donations will be acknowledged on our website for a period of 3 months following the donation. All donors will receive an annual progress report on the project chosen.

Please do contact me should you have any queries.

Paige Gehren (paige@isibindi.co.za)
Conservation Economist


Rhino Post Safari Lodge & Rhino Walking Safaris

Our Efforts

Rhino Post Safari Lodge & Rhino Walking Safaris combine efforts with an array of partners to benefit the environment and the local communities.

Kruger National Park Private Concession

In August 2001 the successful bid was awarded to Rhino Walking Safaris of the Mutlumuvi Concession. The concession boasts a variety of natural habitats.  The primary purpose of the Rhino Walking Safari Concession is to share the natural wonder of the Kruger Park without damaging it; it is from this wish to preserve the legacy of the park that their motto of “tread lightly” arose.

Strict environmental considerations were recognised and special care was taken and continues to be taken throughout the operation of the concession.  Specialising in luxury walking safaris, Rhino Walking Safaris offer exclusive traversing in 12 000 hectares of pristine bushveld in the only official wilderness concession awarded in the Kruger National Park.

In keeping with our motto “tread gently”, the lodges have been constructed in the most environmentally friendly manner possible, utilising natural materials, and minimising the use of concrete.  They are sensitive to the environment and for this reason the lodges apply numerous methods to minimise our impact.

For example –

Power Reduction – We generate our own power, and switch generators off overnight to reduce emissions.

Water Conservation – We pump borehole water for both the guests and the waterhole in front of the bar.  This water usage is strictly monitored, and kept to below 350 litres per person per day, including common areas water and the waterhole.
Grey water is filtered through a natural reed bed system and tested for quality before being released back into the environment.

Recycling – All waste is sorted and glass, metal and paper recycled.

Wilderness Care –  Extreme care is practiced at all times by guides both on drive at Rhino Post Safari Lodge or on walks at Plains Camp/Sleepouts.  Animals are not harassed for photo opportunities. All driving takes place on existing park roads and gravel roads.  No “bundu-bashing” or off-road driving takes place. No baiting of animals, with carcasses, salt licks or any other baiting takes place.

Rhino Anti-Poaching Support

With the onslaught of rhino poaching within South Africa Rhino Walking Safaris has supported many initiatives with raising funds for anti-poaching training, equipment as well as raising awareness globally of this terrible situation.

Most significantly support has been given to the Honorary Rangers for their fight.  The company has also donated many bed nights for charitable initiatives attempting to raise funds for the continued support needed – most recently to Save the Rhino Foundation at their gala dinner in London, November 2012.

 Our efforts in this respect include:
  • Co-sponsoring an anti poaching awareness concert in White River
  • Providing prizes for fundraising to the World Wildlife Fund.
  • Providing prizes for fundraising for Save the Rhino Gala Dinner 2012
  • Providing prizes for fundraising for Lowveld Wessa Concert
  • Providing prizes for fundraising to the SANPark’s Honorary Rangers
  • Providing a cash donation to the SANPark’s Honorary Rangers for the purchase of anti-poaching equipment.
  • Running an sms competition the proceeds of which went to WWF.
  • Offering an accommodation package from which a percentage of the revenue is donated to the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

WWF-SA

Rhino Walking Safaris with Isibindi Africa is a corporate member of WWF-SA


Thonga Beach Lodge

Community – Thonga Beach Lodge

Thonga Beach Lodge
Guide Bheki & a local member of Mabibi Community handing over monthly food parcel to Mabibi Primary School

Through the Mabibi Community Trust, the local community at Thonga Beach Lodge owns a 65% share in the lodge and a 51% share in the campsite. During the building of the lodge, all labour was sourced from the Mabibi community and, wherever possible, construction materials were purchased from local enterprises. The lodge has created employment for 30 community members, and the water treatment plant at Thonga Beach Lodge also provides the local community with between 40 000 and 50 000 litres of much needed water per day. Older women from the community (many of whom are heads of households) support their families through the sale of their handiwork to lodge guests.
Thonga Beach Lodge has extended their social responsibility by creating a school feeding programme that provides the local pre-primary school with a meal three days a week, and have undertaken repairs to windows and paintwork at Mabibi Primary School. They have also donated computers to the primary school and purchased a vehicle for a local community member to establish a business providing transport services. The lodge utilises this service on a regular basis.
Thonga Beach Lodge and the Mabibi Campsite have been recognised by the Sappi WWF Tree Routes Partnership as being “benchmarks for the development of private sector/community partnerships in eco-tourism.” And “a significant empowerment exercise combining conservation ethics with major equity for a local community”.

Isibindi Christmas Project – Pack for a Purpose

Thonga Beach Lodge has identified projects within the surrounding communities where help is most needed for this initiative. We invite all our guests to bring with them an item in their luggage as per the recommendations, to contribute towards the Isibindi boxes.

Mabibi basket ware and pottery

An opportunity exists for the Mabibi community to substantially expand their supply of arts and crafts to Thonga Beach Lodge’s busy curio shop. An expert in community arts training has identified the community’s potential. In addition once this project is implemented it will allow the community’s pool of skills to expand to supply other outlets in the Maputaland area.

Private Sector and Community Venture

The Mabibi Initiative is a joint venture between the Mabibi community and Thonga Beach Lodge. The local community benefits in three ways: temporary jobs were created during the building of the lodge and permanent jobs have been created for the on-going operation of the lodge. The income generated for the community as a return on their investment, will be administered by a trust to facilitate social delivery for meeting the community’s development needs such as schools, clinics, crèches and roads.

“We have also created opportunities for a myriad of small businesses – walking safaris, transport outsourcing, the supply of curios and vegetables to the lodge and all sorts of ancillary activities for the local communities” says Brett Gehren, Isibindi Africa Lodges.

Isibindi Africa Lodges – Conservation and Communities

Isibindi Africa Lodges has developed numerous small Eco tourist lodges in pristine areas of South Africa. Our company’s philosophy pivots on the recognition of the following vital issues in developing ecotourism projects in rural Africa:-

  • Tread gently. Respect for the environment and the minimizing of any impact on her when establishing and later, operating an ecotourism venture. A strong aesthetic feature of our lodges is their ability to blend strongly into their immediate natural environment.
  • Shared sustainable utilization of natural resources with neighboring communities within these protected areas.
  • The upliftment and training of neighboring communities to ensure their full involvement in the ecotourism project, so as to maximize the flow of benefits to the communities.
  • The educating of all visitors to these pristine areas on the role neighboring communities play in maintaining the protected area
  • Track Record

    To date, Isibindi Africa has contributed to and initiated numerous up-liftment projects including:

  • The Zulu Cultural experience at Isibindi Zulu Lodge
  • The involvement of the community as shareholders in Thonga Beach Lodge.
  • The establishment of the first private operator-community development within the Kosi Bay Nature reserve; Kosi Forest Lodge.
  • The establishment of the first privately owned lodge in the oldest park of Africa; Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. This lodge is operated and jointly owned with the Mpembeni Community.
  • Projects for 2016:

    The following projects have been chosen to contribute to the welfare, income and conservation spirit of the Mabibi community neighboring the Thonga Beach Lodge conservation area:

    The Lodge has two community ambassadors. These ambassadors work closely with the Mabibi community on the following projects.

    1. Mabibi School Feeding Fund – Funding for the school feeding scheme –R2 500 is needed per week to feed the children a meal every day for lunch (twenty six children).
      • two slices of bread
      • Peanut butter
      • Apple or Banana or fruit in season
      • 200 ml milk
    2. Assisting the Mabibi Orphan drop off center with an evening feeding programme for the child reared families in the area.

    The Lodge has two conservation ambassadors. These ambassadors who work closely with the Isimangaliso Parks authority on the following projects :

    1. MAP (Makoti Art Project). The story of Makotikoti Zikhali, the turtle butcher turned sculptor, is inspiring growing numbers of children to create artworks in aid of environmental education at the school.
    2. Working in conjunction with our community ambassadors to start a vegetable garden and compost programme.
    3. Working in conjunction with the community to start and operate a recycling project.

    Any donations from visitors are welcomed. Should you wish to help, please do not give money directly to individuals at the school or within the community but rather speak to management to arrange this.


    Kosi Forest Lodge

    Conservation – Kosi Forest Lodge

    Kosi Forest Lodge
    Guide Zach teaching local children.

    Kosi Forest Lodge has been operational for over 15 years in a partnership with Isibindi Africa and the uMvumamvubu Development Trust, on behalf of the Mnyayiza community. During the past few years the property on which Kosi Forest Lodge is located has been fenced into the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve which is part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
    It is an immense privilege to have a lodge facility within this very unique and precious environment and that the lodge makes it possible for people to access and enjoy the incredible variety and beauty of the lake system, Raffia forests, swamp forests, Estuary and Maputaland Marine Reserve. The responsibilities that come with this privilege are taken very seriously, both to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and its conservation ethics, and to the community.
    In consideration of these ethics the rooms and lodge buildings were built on raised stilts to render as light an imprint as possible. Rooms were sensitively placed around trees, with special care not to disturb the canopy. Low impact LED lighting and paraffin lanterns have been used, and the water from the communal areas is filtered through a natural reed bed system.
    The iSimangaliso Wetland Park boasts a unique biodiversity and natural beauty with three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems and 280kms of pristine coastline. Kosi Forest Lodge is situated in the sand forest on the edge of Lake Shengeza, part of the Kosi Lake System in the far northern section of iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
    Saltwater fish are protected by the adjoining St Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves which stretch southward from the Mozambican border for 145 kilometres and 5.6 kilometres out to sea. This combined marine reserve contains 80% of the total species that may be found in South African waters, and is home to coral reefs and coelacanth caves.
    There are 8 known Red Data (threatened) fish species in the lake system, most of which have their largest known populations in the Kosi lake system.
    During the summer guests are invited to join the Community Turtle Tracking walks that happen at Bhanga Nek every evening. The local community have the concession with the iSimangaliso Wetland Park & the Ezemvelo Turtle Monitoring Programme to conduct tours on foot along this stretch of coast. Bhanga Nek Turtle Monitoring station was the first turtle monitoring station of its kind on the South African coast and 50 years on still commands the central data capturing base for the monitoring programme. The evening walks provide an opportunity to witness this magnificent wildlife event. Watching a Loggerhead or Leatherback turtle emerging from the sea and nesting is for many a once in a lifetime experience and a highlight of their whole trip to South Africa.

    Wildlands Conservation Trust

    Kosi Forest Lodge with Isibindi Africa Lodges has worked closely with Wildlands Conservation Trust since 2002 on community projects in Maputaland. Isibindi Africa Lodges has also made contributions towards fundraising for Wildlands Conservation Trust of R 7200.00 in 2007, R 12920.00 in 2010, R12560.00 in 2011 and R 35320.00 in 2012.

    Private Sector & Community Venture

    The Mnyayiza Initiative is a joint venture between the Myayiza community and Kosi Forest Lodge. The local community benefits in three ways: temporary jobs were created during the building of the lodge and permanent jobs have been created for the on-going operation of the lodge.

    “We have also created opportunities for a myriad of small businesses – walking safaris, transport outsourcing, the supply of vegetables to the lodge and all sorts of ancillary activities for the local communities” says Brett Gehren, Isibindi Africa Lodges.

    Isibindi Africa Lodges – Conservation and Communities

    Isibindi Africa Lodges has developed numerous small Eco tourist lodges in pristine areas of South Africa. Our company’s philosophy pivots on the recognition of the following vital issues in developing ecotourism projects in rural Africa:-

  • Tread gently. Respect for the environment and the minimizing of any impact on her when establishing and later, operating an ecotourism venture. A strong aesthetic feature of our lodges is their ability to blend strongly into their immediate natural environment.
  • Shared sustainable utilization of natural resources with neighboring communities within these protected areas.
  • The upliftment and training of neighboring communities to ensure their full involvement in the ecotourism project, so as to maximize the flow of benefits to the communities.
  • The educating of all visitors to these pristine areas on the role neighboring communities play in maintaining the protected area.
  • Track Record

    To date, Isibindi Africa has contributed to and initiated numerous up-liftment projects including:

  • The Zulu Cultural experience at Isibindi Zulu Lodge
  • The involvement of the community as shareholders in Thonga Beach Lodge.
  • The establishment of the first private operator-community development within the Kosi Bay Nature reserve; Kosi Forest Lodge.
  • The establishment of the first privately owned lodge in the oldest park of Africa; Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. This lodge is operated and jointly owned with the Mpembeni Community.
  • Projects for 2016

    The following projects have been chosen to contribute to the welfare, income and conservation spirit of the Myayiza community neighboring the Kosi Forest Lodge conservation area:

    The Lodge has one community ambassador. These ambassador works closely with the Myayiza community on the following project.

    Myayiza School Feeding Fund – Funding for the school feeding scheme –

  • Two slices of bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Apple or Banana or fruit in season
  • 200 ml milk
  • The Lodge has two conservation ambassadors. These ambassadors who work closely with the iSimangaliso Parks authority on the following projects.

    1. Upskilling local guides as birding, canoeing and forest walk guides.
    2. Working in conjunction with our community ambassadors to start a vegetable garden and compost programme.
    3. Working in conjunction with the community to start and operate a recycling project.

    Any donations from visitors are welcomed. Should you wish to help, please do not give money directly to individuals at the school or within the community but rather speak to management to arrange this.
    All donations will be recorded and then the funds will be distributed to the school or the community or the church according to specific upgrade or development projects identified.


    Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge

    An SCI African Success Story – the history of Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge

    written by Peter Ruddle – June 2015

    Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge
    Minister of Tourism congratulates Brett Gehren at Indaba 2015 on the opening of Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge.

    It all started 15 years ago with the support and development financing from Safari Club. The driving force behind this particular project was Inkosi (Chief) Daniel Hlabisa of the Mpembeni Community who had the vision to establish an ecotourism enterprise.
    The story begins some 15 years ago when Nic Vaughan-Jones, a professional hunter took up the challenge of initiating the project having secured finance to fence off the Mpembeni Community Game Reserve Game Reserve (MCCGR). Without financing from Safari Club International (SCI) this project would never have seen the light of day. Let it never be said, “What do hunters do for conservation?”
    The 750ha (1,850 acres) of land set aside by the community consisted mainly of abandoned agricultural lands and three koppies adjoining the original Hluhluwe Game Reserve (HGR) at the time administrated by the Natal Parks Board (NPB).
    The Natal Parks Board had their own vision of creating buffer reserves around HGR on the surrounding community the land adjoining the Park. This initiative was headed up by Paula Morrison and Ernest Tshabalala. The idea was to encourage the communities in the region to become involved in the business opportunities that ecotourism offered and at the same time improving the public relations between the reserve and its neighbours.
    Nic raised the money from Safari Club to game fence the property to the specification as required by the State Veterinary Department to allow for the introduction of Buffalo to the property. This was very important as the founder population of game introduced to the newly fenced reserve would include a number of buffalo. These animal populations would need to establish themselves and the trophy animals would be hunted to service the reserves running costs. Any profits would be used to develop the reserve.
    The reserve was financially self-sustaining but it was always the intention to build a lodge in the second phase of this development. However, it soon became apparent that as a stand-alone project, a property of this size could not sustain itself as there were just not enough trophy animals that could be harvested to follow through with Inkosi’s dream, of the community owning their own lodge.
    Nic got the Umbono Foundation involved. This was a foundation established by Pastor Terence Rose and Nic Vaughan-Jones. Umbono is a charitable organisation to aid and assist rural communities in Africa. This partnership with the church was a major turning point and through their efforts we gained the trust and support of the community at large.
    Another factor was the influence that the late Ngcobo had on the project. He worked tirelessly changing people’s opinions on the advantages of having such a reserve with an ecotourism lodge. There were many hurdles and sceptics to be overcome. Unfortunately, he passed before the lodge was built and would never see the completion of the project. There are not many community people who are (were) prepared to voluntarily work on a project for the benefit of their fellow citizens.
    The Umbono Foundation built a clinic and a crèche for the community under the auspice of the MCCGR project. Soon after this, Nic moved to southern Mozambique to continue the work of this Foundation.

    At this point, Peter Ruddle had undertaken all the marketing and trophy hunting conducted at the reserve and had built up a little nest egg but did not have anywhere near enough money to build a lodge. The responsibility was now his to oversee the project. So, they continued without a lodge and this made marketing hunts at the reserve very difficult.
    Hunters used accommodation near Hluhluwe or at St. Lucia town when hunting in the reserve. This meant they had to drive for an hour to get to the reserve before they could hunt. Not ideal, making the marketing of these hunts very difficult and off putting to many potential clients.
    Peter’s management input was also limited as he lived four hours from the reserve and he noticed that the game numbers were starting to dwindle and trophy animals becoming few and far between. Was this the start of the end?
    Unbeknown to Peter, Inkosi had asked the local section manager from HGR to shoot him a few animals for a ceremony. The Natal Parks Board had been replaced by Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife. This provincial conservation body now administered the Park and have had their fair share of problems. One of them being the section ranger in question, who was dismissed by the organisation. We were never given the reasons for his dismissal but still very suspicious that he was running a bush meat business at the local market. Many of these animals being poached at Mpembeni. His demise came after eight Rhinos were found poached in one incident in his region. We can only speculate if he was involved or not.
    However, after his dismissal there was a definite increase in the game numbers at the MCCGR. Buffalo, leopard, giraffe, zebra, nyala, kudu, wildebeest and impala were hunted in order to achieve our goals and pay the bills. Nobody showed any interest in helping us to develop the reserve.
    Many of the well-known non hunting private reserves established in South Africa initially started off as hunting areas and through the process of evolution changed their emphasis to non-consumptive ecotourism usage. What were our options?
    Enter Wellman Kkumalo, a local politician based in the area. At the time he was a school deputy principal at Mpembeni. Being young and having great aspirations to become a successful politician he took up the cause with the government, community and KZN Wildlife. Seen as a local shaker and mover, he made it happen albeit in African time.
    Khumalo used his political skills to shape and manipulate the goals of the project into a process that could be used as the corner post for what was to follow. The reserve was running out of money as the nest egg mentioned earlier had been used to repair the local municipal borehole that was non-functional. Although not a reserve priority, it was an opportunity to show the community what the money generated from hunting could do for them. Two people had died in a tragic car accident trying to transport water from a nearby dam to their residences.
    Without the necessary funds to keep this project alive, was it doomed for failure after all these years? Khumalo was doing a good job and things were headed in the right direction so I decided to use my own funds to keep all the dreams alive, but time was of the essence.
    KZN Wildlife had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the community to allow the reincorporation of the MCCGR back into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park with the option to conduct game drives into the Park. This was another significant move in the right direction.
    Ruddle had done the Environmental Impact Assessment for the establishment of a lodge at Inkosi’s original homestead site from where he moved in the 1980s. Authorisation to build a lodge had been granted and the way was now cleared to find a developer to build the lodge.
    Frencken and Associates (architects and developers of Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge), who had worked with Nic on some previous projects had actually visited the lodge site in 2007. In fact, they had even pegged out the development.
    Peter Ruddle recommended to the Mpembeni Tribal Authority and reserve steering committee that they re-approach the Frenckens to see if they might be interested in building a lodge. They dually accepted the challenge and it has without doubt been a mighty challenge.
    They sourced the funding for the lodge from the National Empowerment Fund. Khumalo kept up the heat from his side and Peter worked alongside him smoothing the way for things to develop
    Today, Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is operational being managed & marketed by Isibindi Africa Lodges, who own 5 other lodges and have a very successful record of partnering with rural communities. Khumalo continues to play a role in the project while following his political career.
    Peter Ruddlebecame Chairman of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa Empowerment and Conservation Fund in 2014 a year in which the fund experienced it most successful fund raising gala dinner ever, raising 2.4 million Rand.
    Today, the guns are silent at Mpembeni as Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge and a hunting operation cannot coexist. So from a hunter’s point of view, let the question never be asked, “What does hunting do for conservation?”


    Isibindi Zulu Lodge

    Community – Isibindi Zulu Lodge

    Isibindi Zulu Lodge
    Kids on Amoibe School Trip to Lake St Lucia
    It was community enrichment and development that instigated the development of the Isibindi Eco Reserve and Isibindi Zulu Lodge – and it was this dream and ethos that led to the establishment of the other Isibindi lodges and drives the brand. The Gehren family, who farmed the land that Isibindi Zulu Lodge is situated, have established a beautiful reserve and lodge and the father and son team (Dennis & Brett) who built the lodge have long established connections within the local community that stretch back decades.
    Isibindi is the Zulu word for courage and it took courage to create a lodge where community involvement is a priority and where the history of the area is celebrated honestly and with compassion. The goal for the lodge & the company has always been to give back to the community, and the neighbouring communities play a critical role in all of the lodges, whether through partnerships, leases, employment, small business opportunities, education or sponsorships.
    Isibindi Zulu Lodge is more than just a secluded retreat in the heart of Zululand. It is a cultural experience which contributes to the anchoring of Zulu ways and traditions and serves its surrounding community in doing so.
    In 2007 a young student was sent to Isibindi Africa by her International Hotel College for her internship. Nala started her training at Thonga Beach Lodge and continued to assist the management teams during her holidays when she returned to her studies. Nala then started work at Kosi Forest Lodge but returned to Isibindi Zulu Lodge in August 2010 as part of the Management team.

    Projects that are supported by Isibindi Zulu Lodge

    Shiyane High School and Oscarsburg Primary School

    In 2008, Isibindi Zulu Lodge started a sponsorship programme, to help needy children from our local schools – Shiyane High School and Oscarsburg Primary School. This programme was started to improve the lives of the children in areas surrounding the Isibindi Reserve, and to help show how important education is to the sustainability & development of a community.
    Isibindi Zulu Lodge over the years has sponsored reference books, library book s and text books as well as assisting with the financing of some of the pupils School fees. An additional problem occurred when the library was burnt down. In 2009 the new library was completed and not only housed the much needed reference library but a full set of Encyclopaedia Britannica’s.
    The need for the children has grown annually and with the help of the Isibindi guests the children have been assisted through school – from 2008 the company helped 73 children to
    In 2008 we were able to pay for 73 children to attend school, to 412 children in 2011. In addition the contributions also helped with providing uniform for nearly 100 pupils, stationary and sports equipment. Looking ahead the lodge hopes to provide learning guides for Grade 11 & 12 pupils at the local school as well as a playground so the children can play and be carefree in between their lessons. Amongst the children who are supported are the Zulu Dancers who entertain the guests at the Zulu boma dinner.

    Pro Nobis School, Dundee

    One of Dennis’ many projects is the Pro Nobis School, a school he helped start for mentally handicapped children in Dundee. Beginning with a mere 7 students, today they have 242 of which 232 are previously disadvantaged. This school is now regarded as one of the best training centres for handicapped children in Natal. The students remain there until the age of 18 after which they attend an adult centre, again started by Dennis. With money from the trust a hotel was purchased to provide a protected workshop situation for graduates where they could learn skills such as furniture making, refurbishing of furniture and woodwork, amongst other things. Isibindi is responsible for the transport of students to and from Dundee and ensures that Dennis’s dream continues.

    Pack for a Purpose


    We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for Shiyane High and Oscarsburg Primary Schools, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects.

    Click here

    Isibindi Zulu Lodge has identified projects within their surrounding communities where help is most needed for this initiative. Guests are invited to bring with them an item in their luggage as per the recommendations for children to contribute towards the Isibindi boxes. This project has the additional support of Pack for a Purpose which spearheaded this initiative across the globe.

    Private Sector & Community Venture

    The Amoibe Initiative is a joint venture between the Amoibe community and Zulu Lodge. The local community benefits in three ways: temporary jobs were created during the building of the lodge and permanent jobs have been created for the on-going operation of the lodge and the Zulu Cultural Experience at the lodge.

    “We have also created opportunities for a myriad of small businesses – transport outsourcing, the supply of curios and vegetables to the lodge and all sorts of ancillary activities for the local communities” says Brett Gehren, Isibindi Africa Lodges.

    Isibindi Africa Lodges – Conservation and Communities

    Isibindi Africa Lodges has developed numerous small Eco tourist lodges in pristine areas of South Africa. Our company’s philosophy pivots on the recognition of the following vital issues in developing ecotourism projects in rural Africa:-

    Tread gently. Respect for the environment and the minimizing of any impact on her when establishing and later, operating an ecotourism venture. A strong aesthetic feature of our lodges is their ability to blend strongly into their immediate natural environment.

    Shared sustainable utilization of natural resources with neighboring communities within these protected areas.

    The upliftment and training of neighboring communities to ensure their full involvement in the ecotourism project, so as to maximize the flow of benefits to the communities.

    The educating of all visitors to these pristine areas on the role neighboring communities play in maintaining the protected area.

    Projects for 2016:

    The following projects have been chosen to contribute to the welfare, income and conservation spirit of the Amoibe community neighboring Zulu Lodge conservation area. The Lodge has 1 community ambassador and this ambassador works closely with the Amoibe community on the following projects :

    • Vegetable garden and compost programme.
    • Recycling project.
    • Rorke’s Drift Zulu Dancers upliftment programme.
    • Community beading and pottery projects.

    Any donations from visitors are welcomed. Should you wish to help, please do not give money directly to individuals at the school or within the community but rather speak to management to arrange this.

    All donations will be recorded and then the funds will be distributed to the school or the community or the church according to specific upgrade or development projects identified.