ECO TOURISM = Sustainable utilization of natural resources for the benefit the humankind
Camp Jabulani has launched two new sustainable projects, the ‘Weeping-Boer-Bean Tree’ and the ‘Sharing is Caring’ projects, in a bid to further the camp’s eco-initiatives.
The ‘Weeping Boer-Bean’ can be bought in a ‘grow-it yourself kit’, available at the camp’s sister property, the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. The kit contains one elephant dung ball with potting soil at its centre. It is here that the bean is planted, along with water. Easy to follow directions and information on the tree are included.
The dung project, ‘Sharing is Caring’, recycles the elephant dung gathered from Camp Jabulani and sells it as a ‘soil amendment’ at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Visitors to the Centre are able to purchase this unusual souvenier, as the gift that keeps on giving. Plans are nourished and fertilised, and in the process become strong and healthy.
Funds raised contribute to the anti-poaching rhino patrols in the area.
The Camp Jabulani Philosophy
Merging nature and architecture
- Considering that it takes more than a human lifetime for a tree to grow to maturity, Camp Jabulani and its suites were designed around the trees, instead of cutting them down to clear the area.
- Solid living wood is scarce. Therefore the wood utilized within the design of Camp Jabulani is from dead Leadwood logs which were found in the vicinity, prior to the construction of the camp, and specifically incorporated into the camp’s general design to fully utilize this valuable natural resource without destroying thriving vegetation in the process. The Leadwood tree (Combretum imberbe Wawra) is regarded as the great ancestor of all living things by the Herero’s and the Ovambo’s of Namibia. They never walked past it without paying the necessary respect.
- The thatched roof over the main living areas just outwards by one meter, preventing sun-damage to interiors, and in fact utilizing the sun’s energy and daylight to its fullest potential. Significant energy usually wasted by air conditioners and artificial lights is therefore saved. During winter months when the sun is lower and sets earlier, natural heating in reverse is then maximized.
- Similarly, deciduous trees (such as the Jackalberry tree) protect the living areas and suites from summer’s heat.
- Camp Jabulani’s architecture incorporates and in fact focuses on natural elements from the environment i.e. utilizing surrounding stones for building stonewalls and creating decorative footpaths as well as marula pits in the walls for aesthetic design.
- The gardens in and around the suites, consists of indigenous bushveld in combination with various aloe plants. These eco gardens are largely sustainable without human intervention.
- The staff quarters at Camp Jabulani were largely constructed from recycled materials obtained from an abundant mine in the surrounding Hoedspruit area. Thus rehabilitating the environment as well as ensuring the minimization of daily staff transportation requirements.
A strong indigenous approach has been followed in the landscaping of the lodge. This not only ensures a man-made environment in harmony with its natural landscape – it in addition ensures that minimum maintenance and natural resources such as watering vegetation is required to sustain Camp Jabulani.
- During the seasonal grass-cutting, the grass is utilized as fodder for the elephants to prevent veld fires.
- Intensive Bush Clearing Programmes are practiced. All Combretum branches are utilized in the stables as fodder for the elephants.
- Dung and branches left in the stables each morning are collected and dumped in erosion trenches which assist in preventing rain damage, and generally to rehabilitate the area.
- Dung beetles are kept busy through the digestive activities of the 15 trained elephants which produce in excess 2,2 tons of dung per day. Re-administrating dung to the soil, dung beetles are pro-actively prompted and play a crucial role in improving soil ventilation, increasing nutrient recycling and assisting in the control of parasites that usually breed in this environment. Dung beetles are excellent indicators of the health of a biosphere, due to their narrow habitat tolerance and their complex assemblage structure. The use of dung beetles as indicators of habitat quality in South Africa is a world first!
- All vehicles are diesel operating.
- Used oil from vehicles are collected in drums, and delivered to a service provider who refines the oil and delivers the “recycled oil”, called “Cutter bar lube” to chain saw dealers. Camp Jabulani in return purchases the oil to power our chain saws used in the Bush Clearing Programmes.
- The Roode family purchased 12 000 ha of farm land and transformed this land into a Big 5 game reserve, receiving Nature Reserve Status in 1990.
- Previously, cattle had overgrazed the farms, and a lot of chemicals (utilized for dipping the cattle had been released into the environment). In addition agricultural farming had been practiced for maximum productivity, but with little concern for the effect on the natural environment.
- To assist in rehabilitating the land, over-grazed areas were ripped. Nutritious top-soil was brought into areas where dams were constructed. Branches from the reserve itself were packed to provide a substantial base from which grass could grow.
- The Roode family recreated a balanced system, considering nature and therefore preventing the negative impact on the natural resources and inhabitants. The Big 5 were re-introduced to the reserve, as well as the Tsessebe, fastest Southern African endangered antelope, and various others. These species continue to thrive in this well preserved habitat.
- The reserve is home to a variety of different ecosystems – woodlands, grasslands, riverside bush etc.
- Indigenous birds like the Red-billed Oxpecker (which lives on ticks and their larvae) returned to exist symbiotically with the various antelope species on the reserve.
- A Wildlife & Nature Management Plan (WNMP) compiled by the Range Forage Institute (RFI,) has been implemented. The management plan consists of the following:
- specifications for the identification of species according to habitat capacity;
- correct procedures for the introduction of identified game species to avoid the outbreak of diseases that could affect other farming activities in the macro area;
- measurements to conserve the natural open-space ecosystems that are not being developed;
- improvement aims of veld condition and grazing capacity;
- therefore enabling maintenance and improvement of biodiversity;
- conserving a variety of game species;
- In conclusion: providing the recreational need for the owners and visitors to the lodge.
- A fire management plan has been identified and is strictly implemented according to specifications.
Additional measures include:
- No burning of vegetation and waste are allowed.
- No firewood may be collected.
- Fire fighting equipment must be readily available and fully functional on-site at all times.
Camp Jabulani / Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC)
- Sewerage dams were introduced to all the camp sites and staff quarters. This reduces the risk of underground water being polluted by human debris
- A water treatment facility has been installed to ensure that water from the Klaserie River is sufficiently treated for the purpose of human consumption.
- A Groundwater and Surface Water Monitoring Plan has been established with the objective of identifying pollution and irregularities in good time to establish and implement means to rectify poor situations. This programme includes:
- Routine monitoring of groundwater levels, rainfall figures and water quality;
- The evaluation of hydro-geological monitoring data by a qualified hydro-geologist on a bi-annually basis.
- The water quality of the sewage affluent should comply to the required DWAF standards at all times and it is non-negotiable.
- Rain water is collected
Household waste generated during the daily operation of the lodge and associated activities is disposed of at a permitted waste site in terms of the Environmental Conservation Act 1989 (Act 73 of 1989), thereby ensuring that all strict guidelines for waste management sites have been implemented to ensure that groundwater pollution is prevented.
- Recycling of waste materials is strongly supported as follows :
- Sortation of glass according to color
- Sortation of metal and tin
- These items are then recycled
- Organic waste is handled as follows :
- Bones and meat not utilized during the feeding of the cheetahs, wild dogs, etc at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre are offered to the vultures at the HESC’s “Vulture Restaurant”
- Old bones at the Vulture Restaurant are collected and ground at a bone mill. This is then sprinkled over the meat of the animals to increase their calcium intake.
- Precautionary methods are implemented for the storage and handling of chemical substances that could impact on the soils’ ground- and surface water (mostly relevant where vehicles are serviced and filled with petrol and diesel):
- A container filled with sand to soak up any spillages, as well as an empty container into which the “contaminated” sand is placed and stored for collection by the supplier of the relevant substance, is always available on site.
- It is known that the Regional Representative of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry must immediately be informed if pollution of any groundwater or soils occurs. They will instruct on any actions to be adhered to in this regard.
- We think green by saving documents electronically, rather than filing them into folders.
- Weekly meetings are held by conference calls, rather than utilizing air transport for travelling from the Camp Jabulani and Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre’s head office (located in the Gauteng province) to Hoedspruit (Limpopo province), where both Camp Jabulani and HESC are located.
- Organic food are promoted in our kitchens
- Camp Jabulani and HESC offers on-the-job training which ensures employment from members of the community.
- All promotional material is produced with recycled paper made with elephant dung.
Environmental Awareness Programmes
- An environmental education programme is implemented by the staff and all labourers on site in terms of relevant environmental issues with specific emphasis on:
- the purpose of conservation of the natural environment;
- the prohibition of cutting firewood from the surrounding veld;
- pollution control;
- recycling of waste material;
- Waste management, etc.
- Regular briefings take place in the form of on-site talks and demonstrations.
- The education / awareness programme is aimed at all levels of staff.
- Notices are placed within the units requesting that guests to take note of the fact that water is a scarce commodity. It is required that guests do not unnecessarily request clean towels for replacement.