How Our Guests Are Making a Difference in Africa

When you travel to Africa, what kind of impact are you hoping to make? Many of our guests ask for ways that they can help to tackle some of the problems that face this beautiful, wild, interesting continent. It’s true: simply travelling to Africa and visiting beautiful areas makes a big impact on the local economy — jobs are created, land is utilised, and conservation is empowered. But, if you so wish, there are also many other ways you can get involved if you are looking to go further, and help more.As you might know, rhino poaching is a huge problem in South Africa. The illegal horn industry not only affects the animals themselves, but the parks, the staff, and the surrounding communities; who are often taken in by poaching syndicates with promises of wealth on the other side of the fence. The last few years have seen a surge in rhino poaching, and it's time real measures were made to stop the scourge before its too late.A University in the BushWe love to support organisations that take a holistic approach to solving big problems, and one such organisation is the Southern African Wildlife College; just outside the boundary of the Manyeleti. This “University in the bush” trains young rangers, trackers, ecologist and conservationists; empowering the leaders of tomorrow who will hopefully help solve the problems of today. Here. students are equipped with the qualifications, practical experience, and thought leadership to manage complex ecosystems, conserve wildlife, and empower local communities.One particularly successful project in the K9 tracker dog program. The strategy of tracking down poachers with sniffer dogs was adopted in 2015, and since then, the college has been at the forefront of meeting the demand for well-trained dogs and handlers to help combat wildlife crime; by training rangers (handlers) and dogs in the disciplines that are not currently being offered elsewhere.Since February 2018, the College’s K9 Unit has been involved in more than 70 deployments in the Greater Kruger National Park where 61 poacher arrests have been made and 25 rifles have been pulled out of the system. They dogs are finding and tracking poachers now on a daily basis; as they use their expert noses to locate the trails, and run down the criminals before they can get out of the park. This is having a marked effect on the poaching numbers, and really dissuades poachers from becoming involved in the first place.At Safari Lodge, we often take day trips to the SAWC to show our guests the wonderful facilities at the college, and some of the projects that are currently being implemented, and how they can be involved. When you are there, seeing the people working hard on the front lines, it's easy to see how helpful your donations can be to helping the cause of conservation and community upliftment.Here are a few other projects in the area that we help support:

‘Eye in the Sky’ Bathawk Programme

The SAWC’s Bathawk and Savannah aircraft are vital in terms of anti-poaching training, ground to air patrols and support in terms of rhino monitoring and data capture. The inclusion of ground-to-air training, using actual helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, has raised the capabilities of the trainees being trained within the ranger division. This equipment makes a vast difference. The level of confidence has also grown exponentially in term of the application of air operations.SUPPORT (LINK)

Wildlife Guardianship/Anti-Poaching Field Ranger

In a partnership between the SAWC and the Game Ranger’s Association of Africa (GRAA) gave rise to the Wildlife Guardian Programme. This programme holds as its main aim the training of field rangers to compete with poachers to ensure the territorial integrity of Protected Areas and in so doing, protect its wildlife and our natural heritage.SUPPORT (LINK)

Community engagement

We also encourage our guests to join their trackers on a day in the community, to visit the local schools and see the art and talent on offer. This gives guests a true, non-marketed view of the community and they are able to identify where they might like to make a direct contribution; whether it be to a school, clinic or to enable further conservation education for kids.Often guests will come away very moved after their experiences outside of the reserve.The Manyeleti is one of the last places in the world where that Wild Africa of old still exists in abundance. And many of our guests want that escape and nothing else. But for some, a trip to the College and into the communities gives them a taste of the real Africa … not necessarily the one you see in the Lion King. The Manyeleti is still a safe haven for that old, ancient Africa. It is one of the last places in the world where that Africa still exists in abundance, and we want want to be able to make sure it exists forever.

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