It’s no secret the travel industry has been hit hard – and our lodge is no exception. After a 20 year journey collaborating with SANParks and the Community, Mdluli Safari Lodge had been open for just 6 weeks before closing for the lockdown.
It’s a devastating blow. One has to ask, how after a journey of this magnitude will we pull through? But if there is anything this journey has taught us, it’s the power of our resilience, tenacity and commitment.
The lodge opened to guests on 15 January 2020. A development like this is dependent on establishing a harmonious relationship between tourism, environment and community. Our lessons over the past twenty years have realized Mdluli Safari Lodge as a blueprint for best practice community development projects in South Africa.
After a long journey of land restitution, the Mdluli Community have freehold title of 850 hectares of land inside the borders of the iconic Kruger National Park. This luxurious private safari lodge was developed with the purpose of sustainable uplifting the lives and infrastructure of the 45,000 strong Mdluli Community. Mdluli Safari Lodge is a sustainable tourism initiative. It has been through a partnership between the Mdluli Royal Family and Community and Grovest Corporate Advisory – the pioneers of Section 12J.
The Community, who live in villages adjacent to the Park receive direct financial and indirect social and economic benefits from the lodge’s operations.
The construction of Mdluli Safari Lodge employed nearly 200 laborers, both men and women, from the Community. Many of these individuals had never worked before, and it gave them financial benefit, as well as skills development.
Alongside this skill-based job creation, whereby nearly 90% of the lodge’s current team comes from the Community, the lodge creates sustainable business opportunities as well as increased land value.
The lodge’s development is anchored in the belief that we have a responsibility to uplift and up-skill the members of the Community, as well as to upgrade basic infrastructure, sanitation and schools. We are committed to a lasting and productive partnership with the Mdluli Community who energy is infused into the lodge’s experience.