South Africa is a country of wide-open spaces, abundant wildlife and warm-hearted people. There’s nothing like a few days on safari: seeing a lioness slink through the tall yellow grass or a baby elephant bumbling along with the herd; toasting the sunset over the plains or sharing stories over a gourmet meal served under a canopy of stars.
There are lodges across South Africa offering an unforgettable stay in remote wildness areas. And then there are a handful of lodges offer something more. Yes, you’ll still be treated to luxurious accommodation, fantastic activities and welcoming service - but you’ll also be given the chance to see the positive contributions these places are making to the lives of people and the surrounding environment.
Feel a deeper connection to the incredible areas that you visit: get involved, make a difference.
Londolozi: Digital Education in Rural Communities
Londolozi is involved in a number of high-impact projects, the most exciting of which is the “Good Work Foundation” (GWF). This NGO uses digital technology to deliver world-class education to people living in rural Africa. Visit one of the Open Learning Academies close to Londolozi, and see how every day hundreds of people come through the doors to make use of the digital facilities, powerful learning tools and shared information.
Lion Sands: HENNA Pre-School
While on safari at Lion Sands, spend a morning with the kids and teachers at HENNA pre-school. Lion Sands has been actively involved in building classrooms, providing running water and daily food at this remarkable school. Other projects include a day care facility, organic food gardens and home-based care for the elderly. Bring along some stationery, clothes or toys - they’re always welcome!
Grootbos: Meet the Change Makers
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve sits on a magnificent stretch of coastline with wild beaches and fynbos-covered hills. During your stay opt to visit their incredible community and conservation projects: the Green Futures Horticulture & Life Skills College, Growing The Future Organic Food Production Course for unemployed women and the Youth Development Programme down at the Sports Centre.
Ulusaba: Pride ‘n Purpose
Sir Richard Branson’s Ulusaba Private Game Reserve runs an NGO called Pride ‘n Purpose. Along with addressing basic needs in communities around the Sabi Sands - helping to build and run pre-schools, providing access to clean water and setting up permaculture gardens - Pride ‘n Purpose supports local entrepreneurial schemes which provide much-needed employment.
Shamwari: Born Free Big Cat Sanctuaries
Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape focuses on conservation and education. Here you can visit one of their two Born Free Foundation Animal Rescue and Education Centres. These centres rescue big cats from inhumane conditions in zoos and circuses around the world, as well as provide environmental education for school children from previously disadvantaged communities.
Travel Fact File
Take a look at these top itineraries:
- Experience South Africa: includes Lion Sands, Grootbos and Shamwari, as well as a stay in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands.
- Bush, Beach & City Lights: combine Ulusaba Rock Lodge with the beautiful city of Cape Town and a Mozambique island holiday.
- Cape Town, Garden Route & Safari: drive yourself along South Africa's Garden Route, ending with a big game safari at Shamwari.
If you have the time and would like to get more involved, then I'd highly recommend Volunteer4Africa. This non-profit organisation works with a wide variety of community and conservation projects across Africa.