(Right to Left, Craig Edwards, John Charter, Grant Fowlds, Andries Botha, Sbu Jiyane & Mark Pedrick)
December 2022 saw a number of the key stakeholders from across the project come together to meet at Loziba. The week started on a very rainy Monday, which spoiled any views across the Loziba landscape, however, this was a minor inconvenience in what was a very successful week. The main objective of the week was to get these key stakeholders from across the globe together to discuss the 2023 Loziba strategy and check in on a number of the projects and initiatives happening across the reserve.
The first stop for the week was at the Inhlanhla Game Ranch to view the stunning caves which included ancient khoi san artwork. The artwork included people and animals going back hundreds of years. Whilst on location, the team took the opportunity to get an interview with Christo who had been at Inhlanhla for 27 years to understand a bit more of the history and his views on the future of Loziba.
Next up for the team was a visit to Zoekmij, to view the progress of the adventure camp which is currently being built. The adventure camp is being built on the hillside overlooking the Thaka river, once complete this camp will give guests a breathtaking view across Loziba, plus the opportunity to view game coming to the water to drink. It was also great for everyone to meet some of the build team who were on-site during the visit. There is lots of work to be done to get the camp complete, but once done, it will be a must visit for anyone who loves the wilderness.
Once the team left the build site, they headed over to a couple of the ventures that are creating jobs for the local communities in and around the reserve, which is a crucial element of the Loziba mission. Firstly, they headed to the Tree Planting project to view the 1000-plus trees that have been planted to regenerate the land and support carbon offsets. The tree planting project is a fantastic venture and something that everyone at Loziba is keen to see continue into 2023 as there is simply so many benefits from the project. After the Tree Planting project, the team headed to the neighboring communities to view a couple of the many food garden programs. This is where the local community are employed to grow and manage their own food gardens. These gardens don’t only create employment for the rural communities around Loziba, but also promotes healthy eating and sustainable living.
Wednesday afternoon and it was time for the team to head up Mwana mountain. The trip up the mountain started by heading through community land, which is partially a cattle farm currently but is in the plan to become part of the Loziba wildlife reserve in the future. Once at the top and firmly within the wildlife reserve, the team admired the view across Loziba. A must see for another interested in being involved in the Loziba mission. On top of the mountain, the team took some time out from the stunning views to discuss the 2023 strategy. More to come on this over the coming months.
The final morning of the tour saw the team head into the skies for the helicopter trip around the reserve. The helicopter flight was multi-purposed, the stakeholders were keen to get a glimpse of the elephant herd that calls Loziba home and who inspired the whole initiative. Plus, everyone was also keen to identify further infrastructure opportunities for Loziba, including future lodge sites, education centers, roads, and rewilding zones. The last stop for the visit was to the iNkawu Vervet Project, a great opportunity to spend time with the researchers and the vervet monkeys they study throughout the year.
Overall, it was an incredible week at Loziba. Any chance there is to get a core group of stakeholders together is vitally important to continue to drive the Loziba vision. However, more importantly, the week proved that the projects and initiatives that are underway are working and adding real value to the community, the land, and the wildlife that calls Loziba home. Loziba as a concept is still at its early stages with more work, investment and initiatives required, but the landscape and potential are all there to make it a world-leading wildlife reserve. Keep an eye on our website and social media accounts to see the progress throughout 2023 and beyond.
If you are interested in getting involved, donating, or even visiting, check out Loziba.com, cwcafricaprojects.com, and humanelephant.org.za