Planning to visit one of South Africa’s magnificent luxury game lodges? The good news is that you’ll be contributing to the upliftment of local communities at the same time. In addition to their conservation efforts, many reserves are doing heaps to let their communities share in the wealth created by tourism. There are too many to do justice to in this blog but we thought we’d cover a few where we regularly take visitors.

Madikwe Game Lodges

Madikwe Game Reserve is run as a joint venture between the private sector, the state and local communities. The aim is to benefit the local communities through wildlife tourism and the protection of the environment.

The various lodges in the reserve all have their own projects to empower local people through skills development, training and job creation. For example, the Tau Lodge’s Tau Foundation, a non-profit organisation, implemented a number of impressive projects in the Supingstad community that are delivering tangible results. Guests are offered the opportunity to visit Supingstad schools, the leather factory and various historical sites or contribute to the soup kitchen, which Tau arranged at schools.

Kapama Private Game Reserve

Forty kilometres south of Kapama is a safe haven for orphaned and abandoned children. Currently Thulamahashe Children’s Home can only accommodate about 12 children, although there are often more because no-one in need is ever turned away.

Kapama established a trust that is raising funds to build these children a larger and better home so that more of them can be accommodated in a brighter environment. Kapama also supplements the meagre government grant the home receives with money and with resources. In addition, they sponsor an annual Christmas dinner and game drive for the staff and children, providing all with an unforgettable experience.

Pilanesberg National Park

Established by the Northwest Parks and Tourism Board, the Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust not only has a significant impact on conservation and eco-tourism in the area but also has the upliftment of local communities as a core function.

The Trust’s main focus is on youth development, including education, and on sustainable economic development. Not only do they instil a love of nature in the local youth by sponsoring game viewing and educational trips for schools but they also issue bursaries for local students who show potential in the area of conservation.  The recruiting and training of field rangers from the local communities provide much-needed jobs in the area.

If you want to do your bit, simply book your next bush break at one of these lodges or contact them to find out how you can assist with additional funding.

Relaxing at Thorny Bush Resort, & giraffe