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Be rewarded & journey with purpose at Isibindi Africa Lodges

Isibindi Africa Lodges wants to reward everyone and encourage people to journey with purpose by extending their SADC specials until November 2021.

Many crises bring both great suffering and solidarity. Somehow living through adversity provides us with an opportunity to show the best in ourselves, and this is especially true of the way the staff and management of the Isibindi Africa Lodges have handled the impact of Covid-19 on the communities and families who rely heavily on the lodges.

Brett Gehren, founder of the Isibindi Africa Lodges says, “I don’t need to say how the Covid-19 pandemic brought the safari industry to its knees – it spared no one. The negative effect was universal, it was the varied responses that either wore people down further or turned it into a hugely positive opportunity.  I believe that Isibindi Africa managed to dig out the positives during this time and it has left us feeling very proud and grateful. The loyalty and commitment from all our staff has been humbling. Everyone was prepared to sacrifice whatever it took to make sure that Isibindi would open its doors again at the end of this saga. This gave us an incredible sense of purpose as we felt we could not let down our team and had to make sure that the business was intact when this pandemic passes. Our doors are open again and we have had incredible support from our domestic market. I can now safely say that we have survived and we look forward to the arrival of our first international guests in the next months.”

Another hugely positive experience was the generosity shown from across the world when the Isibindi Foundation extended its hand in an effort to help our neighbouring communities. Donations were generously given and with the enthusiasm hard work of the Isibindi Foundation Team and the help of our staff members in their rural communities we managed to distribute in excess of 850 food parcels, 7500 masks, 350 bottles of hand-sanitiser and 100 infrared thermometers. The positive impact of this on our neighbouring communities and the incredible gratitude from them has been a humbling experience.”

Tsowa Safari Island is a brand new fledgling little camp in the middle of the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. Rooted in its pristine natural context, Tsowa Safari Island is bringing relief aid to the neighbouring communities who depend so heavily on tourism for income. During this global pandemic of COVID-19, communities surrounding rural lodges in Africa have been hard hit, as they rely on tourism conservation levies collected by lodges and the plentiful trade brought by tourists to local income generating initiatives. The funding of the conservation levies is channelled thoughtfully by the Isibindi Foundation, who carefully balances the needs of communities surrounding the lodges with the protection of the natural wildlife, thereby stopping poaching, over-grazing and encroachment into natural areas.

From her perspective as Director of the Isibindi Foundation, Paige Gehren, who manages the community conservation fund of Tsowa Safari Island and the other Isibindi Africa lodges, was struck by how severely communities were affected by the reduction in tourism during this challenging time. It was clear that emergency food support was a priority, both to serve the community and protect the surrounding natural land.

Paige Gehren and Francie Sherren, Lodge Manager of Tsowa Safari Island, immediately knew which local organisation to approach when they wanted to provide assistance through the Isibindi FoundationGreenline Africa Trust is a reputable and highly valued local organisation which is able to provide sustainable support. Together with Greenline Africa, the team from Tsowa Safari Island were greeted with open arms and jubilant singing while delivering 40 food parcels to some of the most vulnerable families who have been hard-hit by this crisis.

 

Food parcels ready for delivery by Tsowa Safari Island staff Nobert Chikovera and Elton Andy Moyo

 

ISIBINDI – JOURNEY WITH PURPOSE

When you travel with Isibindi Africa Lodges you become part of the family that has as it’s purpose saving our planet for our children’s children. This purpose drives us all at Isibindi Africa Lodges whether it’s removing single-use plastics, creating micro-economies in our neighbouring communities to supply our lodges, replacing plastic water bottles with reusable ones for guests, investing in huge solar energy farms, refusing to serve seafood at our beach lodge that is not ethically harvested or recycling unused lodge food into feeding schemes for our neighbouring creches.

Brett and Paige Gehren, both come from a strong conservation background. “This has and always will be our authenticity. Twenty five years ago we began with pioneering community conservation establishing one of South Africa’s first lodges in a protected wilderness sanctuary with the local community as joint shareholders. Today we own a number of lodges scattered around Africa in world-renowned protected wilderness areas and we partner with many neighbouring communities. Our purpose is to create a human fence between our wilderness areas and neighbouring communities so that the flow of benefits to these communities motivates them to protect these resources. Neighbouring communities need to share in these flow of benefits. Without this they have not only lost their ancestral lands but also access to its resources.”

When travelling with Isibindi you will be supporting a host of community projects that rely on the lodges you will be visiting, to flourish and improve people’s lives.

Our conservation programmes range from supporting conservation of the endangered turtles on Mabibi beach (tagging, guide training, monitoring) to our children’s environmental programmes in rhino education in rural neighbouring communities and financially and logistically assisting the anti-poaching units.

Isibindi wilderness lodges partner with neighbouring communities with supportive rural programs in education, farming, child nutrition, health and employment through micro business support. We aim to uplift our communities by investing in resources and skills training, while emphasising the importance and value of conserving protected areas for future generations.

Our vision is to invest in our communities – to create human fences between our protected areas and neighbouring communities, allowing for the flow of benefits within the communities to prioritise conservation.

BE REWARDED – MAKE A DIFFERENCE 

Enjoy a well-earned break and take advantage of the SADC special being offered at all Isibindi lodges until November 2021. Book now and quote the DUrbanTV booking code 5412 directly via the website or by emailing : res@isibindi.co.za     

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read more about the work of the Isibindi Africa Foundation and in particular, the community support activities done during Covid-19, read: When a 101-year old gentleman does a happy dance and The Isibindi Foundation Covid-19 Courage Foundation.

 

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