‘Farmers feel trapped in small-scale or subsistence projects …’
– CEO of Kwanalu, Sandy La Marque, expressing the hope that the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development would consult farmers about implementing its Master
Plan 2020 to 2025
The community-owned Somkhanda Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal has announced that it is establishing an environmental education facility.
Somkhanda, which was officially proclaimed in 2005, is owned by the Gumbi community’s Emvokweni Community Trust. The community allocated part of the land that it successfully claimed in 1998 through the land restitution process, for this purpose.
Executive director of Wildlands, Dr Roelie Kloppers, the trust’s long-term partner, told Farmer’s Weekly that the Somkhanda Community Conservation Centre would build on Somkhanda’s existing income initiatives by providing environmental education and training facilities.
“To date the reserve has hosted mainly foreign students who have benefitted greatly from their visits to Somkhanda. We would like to build on this model as it generates income for the reserve, but then reinvest profit into providing a similar experience for local communities,” Kloppers explained. A statement issued by Wildlands added that the reserve would host group tours for academic field trips and youth development, as well as provide volunteer and internship opportunities. Nathi Gumbi, a member of the Gumbi community and also Wildlands’ strategic manager for community engagement in northern KwaZulu-Natal, said that the community was “excited and hopeful” that the centre and other developments on Somkhanda “will take us forward and bring a better life for our community and produce future managers for Somkhanda tourism”.
“The [training centre] is currently operational and we encourage South African schools looking for academic bush-based experiences to contact Africa Insight, who has been running field trips at Somkhanda,” he added. – Lloyd Phillips
THE RESERVE will HOST academic field trips