South Africa self drive safari in Limpopo province

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: South Africa self drive safari in Limpopo province

Environment

The incredible bio-diverse environment of the Soutpansberg where H12 Leshiba is situated, is matched by the richness of the culture and heritage of the local Vha Venda people. This combination is something special and formed the basis of a commitment by the Rosmarin family towards the preservation and promotion of the local indigenous knowledge systems (“IKS”) of the area for the benefit of future generations.
The “H12 Leshiba Venda Arts and Culture Trust” was subsequently registered to manage this project.
THE AIMS OF THE TRUST ARE AS FOLLOWS;
1. To ensure the integration of the cultural heritage of the area with appropriate technologies that can then be applied to contribute towards socio-economic upliftment of local communities in the Vhembe District with a priority given to the Kutama and Sinthemule Communities.
2. To focus on ‘Sustainable Development’ by understanding and utilising ‘indigenous knowledge systems’ combined with ‘appropriate technology’ with the emphasis being on perma-culture.
3. To be independently managed and in due course to become the think-tank and facilitation centre for a new sustainable rural development model in South Africa
The Irish Government initially came forward with a grant as a contribution towards the building of the proposed Centre. Importantly, the Centre was built using the principles of sustainable development and indigenous knowledge.
The series of courses followed and formed the foundation for broadening the scope of the programme to include a wider range of IKS including everything falling under the description of ‘sustainable development’. The programme now includes courses in permaculture and aims to undertake research and skills training in traditional healing and medicinal plants and other related fields of IKS. It must be noted that the primary objective of all these courses is to create a new range of skills in the local communities in order to make a contribution towards socio-economic upliftment in the local area and to promote cultural tourism.
H12 Leshiba is situated in relative close proximity with the Kutama and Sinthemule Communities with whom a close working relationship has been established over the last fifteen years.
The interest in research on medicinal plants led to contact being made with CSIR, which resulted in a collaboration agreement being signed between the Bio-Prospecting Unit of CSIR and the Trust. The collaboration was aimed at establishing a research, training and development programme in the field of medicinal and aromatic plants. A similar collaboration agreement has been signed with the University of Venda.

Community

Madi a Thavha Mountain lodge focuses on art and culture. They source, promote and sell local Limpopo Craft and Art in particular those that engage with the rich cultural heritage of Northern Limpopo Province in South Africa.

Their Dancing Fish gallery embraces all the art and craft displayed in the rooms, lounge, around the pool and gardens – including their Cultural Heritage centre where the stories and development of the art and craft of the Soutpansberg & Limpopo valley is displayed in a colourful nutshell.
Six talented Venda and Tsonga ladies make the soft furnishings of the lodge, they design and make items to sell in our shop, do training and create custom-made products for guests and love what they are doing

They also support a local school.
Vhutshilo Mountain School started their school for AIDS orphans in a mobile-home with the enrollment of 3 orphans, one teacher and her loyal domestic worker. Now they have 59 young students and monitor 115 HIV+ children from 19 villages as part of the outreach program.

Vutshilo works with the local HIV Clinic. Children from the school also become role models and in turn become peer educators to support other HIV positive children so they can live free from stigma. They also established an income-generating project for the orphan school leavers, so they can stand financially on their own feet. Madi a Thavha and guests visit the school regularly and are involved in training at Vhutshilo: the lodges’ handyman Paul, and their Textile & Design studio team do sewing and carpentry training and our lodge’s staff trained the crèche’s cooks in healthy food preparation. They also buy recycled glass beads from the women at Vhutshilo and make necklaces that are sold in the CraftArt shop again.

Guests are invited to support this project by sponsoring an orphaned child to provide balanced meals, clothing, medical assistance, schooling and a stimulating environment to grow up in.

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