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IMVELO'S CONSERVATION INITIATIVES

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Finally a true eco-lodge company

 

At Imvelo we recognise that the fate of people and wildlife are inextricably connected.  In recognition of this, our strategy is to develop lodges on the edges of parks or peripheral areas.   The reason for this is twofold; firstly our footprint has less impact on the park, and secondly our development is in conjunction with local communities, rather than central government. For us this is the front line of wildlife conservation.

 

Driving ecotourism through providing game water supplies

Hwange National Park is one of the few great parks of Africa without any major rivers or lakes. Due to this, the park’s population of water-dependant species congregate in enormous numbers around the waterholes throughout the dry season.  From May to November Imvelo maintain 15 waterholes in and on the borders of the national park which provide essential water to the wildlife during this time of the year.    Read Article

 

 During these 7 months we supply diesel for the engines, oils and filters, and payment of wages and rations for the pump attendants who man the pumps. Annually we spend over $100 000 to operate and maintain this water supply program. Over the years these forays into the park to drop off supplies and make repairs has evolved into an actual activity - a ‘pump run’, affording our guests a hands-on insight into Hwange’s water supply situation.

 

This means Imvelo is looking after approximately 20- 25% of the waterholes that sustain Hwange's wildlife – a huge commitment of which we are truly proud!

Driving ecotourism through providing fire protection

Our next greatest priority is protecting the food sources for herbivores. During Zimbawe’s dry months the grass is incredibly vulnerable to fire and Hwange is usually victim to several annual bush fires which are usually started by humans. Imvelo’s presence on the edge of the park enables us to quickly detect and react to any destructive manmade wildfires.  We take direct responsibility for a network of fireguards along Hwange Park’s southeastern boundary, and every year we fight fires alongside the hard pressed National Parks and Forestry Commission rangers.

 

Driving ecotourism through providing  wildlife buffer zones

The long Tsholotsho Communal Land boundary with Hwange National Park is the stage for some very serious wildlife/human conflicts. Elephants relentlessly raid crops, which devastate the villagers’ food supplies. Lion and hyena also attack the livestock almost nightly. This is a classic ‘hard boundary’ in conservation jargon.

 

When Imvelo started work here, local attitudes to wildlife were extremely negative. As part of our work, these impoverished communities are now receiving significant and life changing benefits from the presence of wildlife in their areas. Positive benefits are starting to outweigh negatives, and slowly attitudes are changing – ‘the hard boundary’ is softening. Our guests become part of this exciting conservation initiative that not only secures the future of Hwange but also the southern boundary of one of the world’s biggest elephant populations.

 

Driving ecotourism through raptor protection and education:

Along the Batoka Gorge in Hwange District a raptor protection and education program has been developed. A number of birds of prey nest in the communal area portion of the gorge – black eagles, lanner, peregrine and taita falcons, augur buzzards and bathawk. In just one example, previously villagers in this area persecuted the bathawks, believing they kill young livestock and poultry.

Through our education and protection program, this trend has been reversed and the raptors that rule the skies above the Batoka Gorge are enjoyed by our guests daily.

Driving ecotourism through rural conservation awareness

Annually, in conjunction with the Rural District Councils and traditional leaders, we are involved in dozens of community meetings, both formal and informal. The aim is to continuously increase local awareness and garner an ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation by all levels of the community as they recognise and are made aware of the significant benefits that accrue as wildlife and responsible and sustainable tourism grow.

 

Driving ecotourism through presence and support in peripheral areas

Part of Imvelo’s mission is to operate in the peripheral areas of our parks that were previously neglected. As we establish a presence in these areas we employ locally and ensure other significant benefits go to the local villagers, thus dis-incentivising poaching. Very quickly these neglected areas become a paradise for wildlife and any of our guests who have visited the Ngamo Plains astride the Hwange National Park boundary can attest to the success of this program. As we go forward, this model is being extrapolated for use in areas such as Jozibanini in the far south of Hwange.

 

Come and be a part of how we are connecting people and nature.

 

Information updated as at August 2016.

Imvelo Safari Lodges

68 Townsend Road

Suburbs

Bulawayo

Zimbabwe.

 

Tel: +263 9 252232  | Mobile: +263 783 568 632 or +263 772 155 872  | Fax: +263 9 232331

 

Email: res1@imvelosafarilodges.com