When It Comes To Community, Sharing Is Caring At Abelana - Business Media MAGS


When It Comes To Community, Sharing Is Caring At Abelana

SPONSORED: What's in a name? For Abelana Game Reserve, it’s everything.

In the Northern Sotho language, abelana means “to share among each other” and the name was chosen because it sums up the ethos of sharing that underpins the reserve’s business model and its relationship with the reserve’s owners, the Mashishimale community.

The Mashishimale community in the Limpopo region where Abelana is located won a landmark land claim that restored ownership of the land to them. Instead of using the land for farming or hunting, they elected to use it for conservation and eco-tourism purposes, partnering with MTH Lodge Holdings to create Abelana Game Reserve.

Abelana works closely with the Mashishimale community to help them realise their dream of preserving their land for generations to come, while at the same time directly benefitting from it sustainably and responsibly. Guests pay a R104 per person, per night community levy that is paid directly to the Mashishimale community

Jobs for the community 

Job creation was one of Abelana’s main objectives to ensure the community ultimately benefit from the land ownership. At inception, seven people from the community were fully employed by the reserve. The permanent workforce has since grown to 80, of which 52 come from the local community. They were mostly unskilled when they took up employment but they are undergoing ongoing training in their various roles on an ongoing basis and are encouraged to reach their full potential and create a meaningful career in hospitality.

The lodge’s laundry services are outsourced to a local community business and a process to similarly outsource staff transport services is currently underway.

All of the reserve’s waste is removed and recycled by a community company. Abelana has its own water bottling plant so no single-use plastic bottles are used, which means guests don’t pay for bottled water still or sparkling!

The game reserve aims to develop community vegetable farmers to supply the lodges with fresh produce, and an area has been earmarked to establish an environmental education centre that local schoolchildren can visit and learn about the history of their land and the benefits and career opportunities that exist on their doorstep.

The spirit of sharing is everywhere 

The spirit of abelana is very much part of the reserve’s DNA. It inspired the logo too, which shows two hands coming together in the spirit of sharing. Sharing also happens at every stage of a guest’s journey – from the welcome to the Abelana Safari Camp where the love of the African wilderness is shared with them to the teachings about the plants and animals inhabiting the area, and the telling of traditional stories and cultural beliefs that give them insight into the incredible way the ecosystems work to ensure the survival of untold species of fauna and flora.

Abelana Game Reserve employees continually share their knowledge and display great passion for hospitality, from the way the housekeepers prepare the tents each day to how the guides make each game activity unique and exciting. When it comes to catering, the chefs express their boundless love of food in the wonderful meals prepared for guests – each dish made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. And when the guests leave, they share their amazing experiences with their friends and family, and the spirit of sharing comes full circle.

So, the name truly reflects who and what Abelelana Game Reserve is.

Support local safely 

As the world once again closes its borders to South Africans, now is the perfect time to explore all South Africa’s hidden tourism gems. Abelana Game Reserve ranks highly among those, offering not only value for money, but also an experience with a difference that, ultimately, contributes to local community upliftment.

The reserve is open for visitors – for bookings, contact reservations by email at info@abelanagamereserve.com or telephone on 061 952 4302, or for more information visit www.abelanagamereserve.com.

And, there is no need for health concerns – all COVID-19 safety and hygiene protocols are in place and enforced.

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