COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION

An essential objective of SEF is the active participation of affected people living in the corridor areas. In the target areas SEF is encouraging local people to become entrepreneurs of small businesses and create their own means of earning a living. We are achieving this by giving them the necessary skills to successfully manage different ventures.

SEF has through its contacts, over years, with the various role players in establishing corridors, came to the realisation that the local communities play an imperative role in the creation of corridors. Rural communities are the first line of defence against poachers, without employment opportunities they will assist poaching to earn an income, hence SEF has embarked on an educating, job creation, awareness campaign to help communities to earn an income from their surrounding environment. This is creating a sense of place and the communities sees our wildlife now as an asset that creates work for them, hence they are also helping to protect it.

Achievements to Date

Handcraft

30 men and women have been capacity built for business administration and crafting.

Education Programmes

Education and training is the key to the elephants and rhino’s long-term future.  The first step is the creation of awareness of how valuable these pre-historic creatures are.  Future young conservationists will receive the know-how and training to become responsible custodians of our environment.   Education does not stop with the youth.  Any person wishing to expand his or her knowledge and understanding of wildlife will be sure to find something enriching in the museum and centre.

60 matric students from three communities accomplished a one year national certificate on tour guiding.

SEF have committed to embark on a series of education programmes suited for various ages in nature conservation, wildlife, environmental education & tourism awareness.  They have also, together with Rotary Eshowe, sponsored by Soul of Africa, built a resource centre, a library, toilets, & provided water tanks & furniture at Myekeni School.

Training manuals, consisting of 12 modules, have also been compiled.  These are studied over 12 weeks for elephanting and rhinoing guides to perfect their field work to lead to a tracking skills certification, as well as a Tourist manual about how to behave near elephants and rhinos in a game reserve.

Space For Elephants Foundation:

  • Has established tourism awareness at schools near various game reserves.
  • Sponsored 60 matriculation students from three communities on a one-year national course on tour guiding.
  • 30 men and women from neighbouring communities have attended business administration and hand crafting skills.
  • 10 adjoining neighbours trained and attended Rhino and Elephant youth summit followed by appropriate training programmes.

Small Business Ventures

The Gemstone and Geology trail

Follow a winding mountain road through the time span of the past, and dig for your own treasures of the earth at their precious stone mine.

Indigenous meal at a typical Zulu home

Visitors have expressed their surprise and enjoyment at tasting foods prepared by the local people.

The Gemstone and Geology trail
Indigenous meal at a typical Zulu home

Bhekamanzi Thonga Village

This is a delightful joint venture between the Ama-Thonga people and Space for Elephants Foundation, close to the Ndumo Game Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park, and incorporates several exciting micro-tourism projects developed by the local community.

The architecture of the Ama-Thonga people has been lost in recent years. The purpose of this village is to encourage the restoration of the wonderful art forms used by the Thonga people in the past and to promote the use of local people’s homes as periphery accommodation facilities for tourists visiting the game reserves. A delicious indigenous food enhances the truly African experience. Local people of the Ama-Thonga tell stories about their history and culture as guests sit around the fire.

Space for Elephant and Rhino Centre (sponsored by Elephant Gin)

This is one of the most ambitious conservation projects to emerge in Southern Africa in recent years.

The Vision

  • To build a world-class elephant and rhino museum, supporting the value to Africa of the elephant and rhino.
  • To promote the African wisdom and knowledge of elephants and rhinos.
  • To establish a conservation research facility.
  • To assist neighbours adjoining wildlife areas and corridors to develop their economy.
  • To create a visitor Education Centre.
  • To create a cultural centre promoting theatre and story telling and where visitors can experience indigenous culture and knowledge.

The Centre

The site has already been acquired on the N2 in Zululand. The plans are drawn, the land and expertise is in place. The centre will be built in a traditional African style. The centre will provide opportunity for different groups of people to promote their own cultural values.

There will be a youth theatre as means of promoting conservation and the values of animals. Story telling is an old African tradition and an ancient way of passing on knowledge, reviving and keeping legends and of instilling moral values. To lose this valuable cultural asset would be a loss to humanity.

The centre will include:

  • An elephant and rhino museum
  • An education and research facility
  • Cultural awareness programmes
  • A tourism information centre

Activities promoted from the centre:

Elephanting

Here guests will have a one-on-one experience whereby one goes out with the elephant monitor and spends time in their habitat learning about all aspects of the elephant.  This includes tracking the elephant by means of radio as well as ground markings, how to determine height and how to approach it. Aside from the ‘contact’ experience, guests will also be informed about their conservation and social habits,  how communicate takes place and why they need range expansion.

Rhinoing

A holistic approach to the understanding of Rhinos whereby people can go out with the rhino monitor and learn how to identify individuals, sex and age rhinos, how their behavioural habits and how they communicate with one another.  Guests are taught about their conservation: about the failures and successes of bringing back this prehistoric animal from the brink of extinction, why rhino horn is so highly prized and why we need to look after them for future generations.

Sounds of the night

These are unique holistic special experiences providing insight into the world of the elephant, rhino and creatures of the night.

The World of our Ancestral Spirit Tour

A learning experience about the history, culture and traditions of our Ama-Thonga and Ama-Zulu people and the philosophy of Ubuntu.

Border Cave Tour

This ancient cave of world significance is one of the oldest known burial sites of homo sapiens in the world.

Ghost Mountain Tour

View the silent battlefield of Tshaneni. We ponder the legends of Ghost Mountain, and learn about the sacred burial caves.

Still Needed

Paper making out of elephant dung

A simple elephant dung paper-making project has been started. This venture is inundated with orders that cannot be fulfilled due to lack of equipment.

Printing and binding of story books

The printing and binding of story books about African tales from long long ago and short stories written by famous early game rangers are in the production stages. Funding is needed to establish an efficient marketing and distribution network.

Tiger and fly Fishing

This popular sport is now being offered by our young tour guides who have recently been trained by Space for Elephants Foundation. They need to be assisted with boats and fishing gear.

Canoeing

An adventure sport that can be developed if canoes and the appropriate safety equipment could be provided to our young trained tour guides.

Birding

There are over 6 million birders registered with birding associations. The Zululand-Thongaland area has the highest number of bird species in South Africa. Our keen young tour guides desperately need binoculars and reference books and further training.