The RockFig Safari Lodge team believes that conservation of the natural heritage of Timbavati must be a collaborative effort between ecotourism operators and local communities, with guests playing their part too. Managed properly, conservation creates opportunities for economic empowerment, employment and skills training, as well as preserving fauna, flora and habitats.
Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, where RockFig Safari Lodge is located, embodies the freedom of the African bushveld. With the removal of game fences between Timbavati and Kruger National Park in 1993, animals were once again able to move at will between the two.
This was no mere gesture, but reflects an integrated approach to true open-system conservation involving all stakeholders working together to rehabilitate and preserve the Timbavati ecosystem. Just as the area has been fully integrated into the Greater Kruger, the local communities have joined forces under the auspices of the Timbavati Foundation.
RockFig Safari Lodge employs local people and supports the local economy. These immediate benefits, however, are less important than the shared long-term conservation vision of the lodge and the Timbavati Foundation, which emphasises environmental education and outreach programmes in community schools.
Timbavati Foundation initiatives such as permagardening teach children the importance of wisely using resources and recycling. To ensure that future generations inherit an untainted legacy, the foundation also channels resources into supporting rangers on anti-poaching patrols, and into alien-plant-eradication projects.
Poor management decisions in the past resulted in erosion of valuable topsoil, while non-indigenous vegetation increases the risk of destructive bushfires and reduces the amount of food available to wildlife.
The priority now is sustainability: rehabilitation, to restore previous mistakes, and a holistic approach to conservation based on environmental best practices. There is a recognition that management decisions can’t be imposed on Timbavati, but that they must rather be devised in conjunction with neighbouring communities, who have just as much of an interest in the viability of the land as any of the wild species that inhabit it.
RockFig Safari Lodge is honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to programmes spearheaded by the Timbavati Foundation, from deterring rhino poachers to controlling fires and inspiring schoolchildren to grow vegetables.
CLICK HERE to read more about the Timbavati Foundation